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"The Line in The Sand"

"And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground."


John 8:1


Have you ever heard the expression, "The line in the sand" to describe establishing a predetermined point that will not be crossed. Or how about using the same term to describe a point that if crossed the decision and it's resulting consequences are permanently decided and irreversible.


In John chapter 8 we read a story where Jesus stoops down and writes something in the sand. No one knows what He wrote in the early morning hours when a woman who was caught in the act of adultery was brought to Him to test Jesus in hope of condemning Him. Not knowing is the beauty of what Jesus did write in the sand that day.


Whatever Jesus wrote in the sand we do know that it had to do with forgiveness and casting judgments regarding other peoples sins. The Bible makes clear that sin should be dealt with in the same way Jesus dealt with it here. Two wrongs never make a right and though the religious Jews made the woman's sin a public matter Jesus quickly turned it back into a private one. 


Long before someones sin is to be dealt with in public, it is first to be a private matter between the accused and the accuser and for good reason. (See Matthew 18). God knows our problem with judging others sins is that each of us has a sin problem of our own that needs to be dealt with first in order to be able to see clearly. 


Before we ever seek to judge others of their sins Jesus exhorts us in Luke 6:42, "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother's eye."


Though these men are clearly in the wrong in their hearts as to why they brought this woman to Jesus in the first place, Jesus uses the opportunity to show them the correct way to deal with sin. First and foremost love seeks to conceal not reveal others sins. Think about the people you love. You don't share their sins and faults with others as love the Bible says, "covers a multitude of sins".


Jesus didn't come into the world to condemn the world but to save the world. Though the woman's accusers were in sin Jesus took them aside one by one and showed them the dignity that they were unwilling to grant her, in private out of view of those gathered around, Jesus wrote something in the sand. The commentary on John is as varied as each one commenting in that every person at their best is merely making an educated guess as to what Jesus did, showing the beauty of the correct way to deal with the sins of others.


Some believe Jesus stooped down and drew a line in the sand and communicated with the woman accusers that they were about to cross a line that once crossed would have tragic repercussions on their own lives for Matthew 7:1-2 paints a pretty clear picture, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." 


Others believe Jesus stooped down and wrote down days and times that these men had committed the same act with this woman or someone else as no sin is hidden from God. Matthew 5:27-28 reminds us, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

My personal favorite is picturing our loving Savior stooping down and writing in the sand the words of the prophet Isaiah who these religious Jews would have been familiar, "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18). Jesus was offering them the chance to have their own sins forgiven.


Jesus goal in exposing our sin is to forgive it, to set us free from it, and to remove its power over us. (See Romans 5-6). Try to imagine how the woman must have felt when her accusers walked away one by one until there was not one accuser left, leaving only her and Jesus. Being God, perfect and holy and just Jesus could have condemned her, He could have picked up a rock right then and there and began to stone her but Jesus showed her what He has shown to you and me who have come to Him as Savior. Jesus showed this woman who was guilty of sin, agape love, mercy and grace.


John 8:10-11 tells us once Jesus dealt with this woman's accusers He turned His attention to her. To say she was surprised by grace would be an understatement. "When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."


Jesus not only did not condemn her, Jesus sent her away free that day to live the life He had always wanted for her. A life free from guilt and shame, a life lived with gratitude remembering always the mercy and grace that was shown to her. Jesus hope for her is the same hope He has for you and me today too, loved one. Jesus desire is that all who have been forgiven would offer to others the same kind of love, mercy and grace that this woman received that day when Jesus drew a line in the sand that didn't exclude her but one that included her, a line that sought to draw her in not leave her out. 


Remember, not only does love cover a multitude of sin, but just as true are Jesus words, "those who love much have been forgiven much."


"The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you."


Jeremiah 31:3


I LOVE YOU!


"It's Gone!"
"The Joy of Suffering"
 

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Saturday, 18 August 2018