Summary: We can learn from Jesus' actions how to respond when we are confronted with the sins of others.
God of the Second Chance
Scripture Text: John 7:53 – 8:11
Introduction: How many of you would be honest enough to say that you gave blown it in the past? Sure, we all have because we are all sinners? Now, when you blow it, how great does it feel to get a second chance? Whether it’s a relationship, a project at work, or an assignment at school, it’s an amazing thing to have a second chance to make it right.
Last year I had an awesome opportunity for a second chance. I’m now in my last year of seminary and have almost completed my MDiv. As one of my requirements I had to take some counseling classes. About halfway through my first counseling class I got behind and was not able to finish the final project. Even with an extension from my prof. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off so I emailed him and told him I would just take the F for then and retake the class in the fall. He agreed with my plan and told me to ask the school for an Academic Replacement when I finished the class the second time. When it was granted the school removed the F and replaced with the A I received on the second attempt.
That is huge, and it is exactly what God did for me through Jesus. The Bible says that I came to God dead and in bondage because my sin, yet through the cross He offered me a second chance. In the same way that my school allowed me to replace a bad grade with an A, God allowed me to replace death with life, captivity with freedom, bleakness with hope, and separation from Him with a promise that He will never leave or forsake me.
That same second chance is offered to all who will receive it, and that is the focus of our passage. We will see how freely He offers Himself to those who have blown it, and we will also be challenged to imitate Christ’s response to a broken world. Because those who have been forgiven much should be the most willing to extend grace and mercy to those who are in need of it.
I. Setting the Stage – 7:53-8:2
The Feast of Tabernacles was the most popular of the three major Jewish feasts. The feast lasted for seven days and during that time people would have lived in booths outside of their homes. Many were loosely constructed and placed in courtyards or on the roofs of their houses. The festival was a time to celebrate the harvest and God’s provision for His people while they fled from Egypt. The description of the festival can be found in Leviticus 23:33-43. This very well could have led to a vacation, or Spring Break, type of atmosphere making it relatively easy for the Pharisees and Scribes to find the bait for their trap. Along with the contribution of the atmosphere, the booths would have made catching a couple in the act of adultery a little more likely, although the whole incident was probably a set-up.
Chapter seven ends with the conclusion of a teaching session by Jesus after which we are told that everyone went home. Jesus, however, went to the Mount of Olives. Very early the next morning Jesus was found once again in the Temple courts teaching a crowd that had assembled.