Summary: I received the outline for this message from a local Nazarene colleague. It draws a comparison between the grace Christ extended to the lady caught in adultery and the grace shown by the elements of the communion table.
THIS THING CALLED GRACE
When I was in Grade 1, I was almost caught throwing rocks. It was during the lunchtime recess when my cousin and I decided the most productive thing to do was to throw rocks. We were not throwing rocks at the school. We were not trying to smash out windows. We were just throwing rocks into the open courtyard to see who could throw rocks the farthest. That’s when disaster struck.
I had just picked a rock that more than filled my first-grade sized hand. I heaved it for all I was worth and watched helplessly as the stone flew through the air and nailed a little girl square in the stomach. I froze as I saw her bend over in pain, crying her little eyes out. My cousin told me to hide, which I did. From our hiding spot, I could see the teacher comforting the girl, while scanning the playground for the guilty party. I stayed hidden until I saw the teacher walk the girl into the school.
I learned a couple of things that day. The first, and most obvious, was to NEVER throw rocks aimlessly at school. I also learned something else. Rocks can carry a lot of weight, and when used without discretion, bad things can happen.
I would have never picked up that rock if I knew it was going to hurt someone. I feel the same way when I think about the price that Jesus paid for my sins. There are times I wish I could take back some of the deceitful, sinful, hurtful that I have done in my life when compared to the grace Christ had shown to me by His death of the cross.
Each one of you are holding stones today. Each one of those stones are a symbol of your life. The rock it self may not be very big, but under certain circumstances, it can be a very destructive force. There may be issues in your life today that are as destructive as the stone you hold. What will you do with it?
John 8:2-11 NIV:
“At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
Jesus faces a religious “NO-WIN” situation. The Pharisees have come with an adulterous woman, and they planned to trap Jesus. The Law of Moses clearly stated that a woman caught in adultery had to be stoned to death. On the other hand, Roman law stated that only Roman authorities had the power to enforce capital punishment. Thus the trap was set.
If Jesus sided with the Law of Moses, then the Pharisees and scribes could appeal to Roman rulers (i.e. Pilate) and state that Jesus was a part of some political upheaval that undermined the laws of Rome. On the hand, if Jesus were to side with Rome, then how could this man even consider Himself to be a man of God and teacher?
At the point Jesus is confronted with two expressions of sin:
*outward sin of visible lifestyle - the lady was clearly caught in the act of adultery
*inward sin of concealed attitude - the sinful motives of the mob
The question that remains to be asked is which sin is greater, the adultery or deception? Take a look at the stone you hold in your hand. Does that stone represent attitudes that you harbour against someone else? Perhaps it is unconfessed sin or sins in your life?
In the midst of the conflict around Him, Jesus began writing in the sand. Perhaps He was weighing the outcomes of either decision? Maybe He was just running His finger through the sand? Some have even suggested that He may have even writing the Ten Commandments. What He wrote is not the key thing here. Today, the greatest thing about this encounter was not what He said or wrote, but what He did.