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Made Her Stand Before the Group

by David Johnson

Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program

     It is good to be together again as we look into the Word of God. The title for the lesson is: “Made Her Stand Before the Group.” The text is taken, the primary text is taken from the New Testament, the gospel of John chapter 8 verses 3 through 11 which we will visit during the body of our message.

     Our study is about the exaltation of Jesus Christ as uniquely the greatest person who ever lives as God-man. We’re investigating some of the evidence of His, of Christ’s tremendous impact on the entire human race. Let’s learn more as to how Jesus Christ and Christianity have made a huge difference in history.

     At the cross Jesus Christ was most merciful toward all sinners, the entire human race. He paid the penalty of justice, and then granted sinners mercy. This effectual to those who receive Him through faith. In so doing, Jesus forever changed the world by paving a way to be merciful without being unjust.

     This mercy that believers enjoy from Jesus compels us to extend mercy to others particularly in deeds of kindness. Churches and mercy-based organizations strive to help others in need. For example, the homeless, single mothers, widows, orphans, the hungry, the poor, sick, elderly, abused and prisoners. Jesus stated: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Gospel of Matthew chapter 5 verse 7.

     On another occasion Jesus stated: “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’” Meaning God desires moral behavior above ceremonial practices and ritual. Jesus in this context, rebuked the harsh, judgmental ones who were self-righteously scornful of others, the heresy, and the like. Jesus desired those who are merciful toward others. May we be merciful to all.

     Many of the world’s languages were first set to writing by missionaries seeking to translate the Bible into the native language of a people group. God loves people from every nation, tribe, and language on earth.

     In the so-called ‘Dark Ages’ (this time period was between the 5th and 14th centuries AD lasting about 900 years. This timeline falls between the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the Renaissance movement in Europe). ‘Dark Ages’ suggest that this period experienced little educational and cultural advancement.

     Yet during the ‘Dark Ages,’ many of the classics of Western literature were preserved by priests and monks who hand-copied them and started the first European universities in cities like Paris France and Bologna in Italy.

     The printing press was invented by Christian Johannes Gutenberg in 1440 and perfected by 1450. Bibles and other Christian literature were chiefly in his mind when he created this revolutionary device. Soon thereafter, Christianity became the leading force in literacy and education in the Western world.

     By the turn of the 20th century, AD 1900, largely non-Christian countries such as China and India had a literacy rate ranging from 0 to 20%. However, in largely Protestant Christian nations they had a literacy rate ranging from a fantastic 94 to 99%.

     Consider the gospel of Mark chapter 1 verses 21 through 22 “They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the Synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.”

     The teachers of the law, or scribes, were experts in the Old Testament scriptures, however, they based their authority in teaching largely on that of other rabbis (or teachers). However, Jesus’ teaching was direct, personal, and comprehensive like no other. Someone said as recorded in the King James Bible or King James Version John chapter 7 verse 46 of Jesus “Never man spake like this man.” Of course, Bible-believing Christians accept Jesus’ authoritative teaching, as literally the spoken word of God.

     This was transformed by Jesus Christ. The gospel of Luke was written by a Christian doctor as revealed in Colossians chapter 4 verse 14 of the New Testament, of course. Whereby Luke recorded many miraculous healings that Jesus performed on the bodies and minds of those who were sick and dying.

     As a result of Jesus, Christian ministry included concern for the human body as a gift from God. In the year of our Lord AD 325 at the Christian Council of Nicaea, it was decreed that hospitals were to be established wherever there was a church. This tradition continues in our day, as many hospitals have Christian origins, Christian roots. Internationally, for example, the ‘Red Cross’ continues its medical ministry, thanks to the founding of that organization by Christian Henri Dunant, a Swiss businessman. In 1901 he received the first Nobel Peace Prize.

     Contrary to what some believe and teach, Jesus Christ affirmed the need of doctors even in His primitive time regarding medical practice. Consider Luke chapter 5 verse 31 “Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.””

     In architecture, cathedrals are widely appreciated to God’s glory as some of the most inspiring places on earth. In music, the works of Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi, along with many great hymns of faith, all flowed out of the fount of inspiration from Jesus Christ.

     In art: Christians such as Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci remain the standard by which others are measured.

     In literature: Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Bunyan, Milton, Dickens, Lewis, Tolkien, and Solzhenitsyn all wrote out of their faith and were greatly influenced by Jesus Christ and by Christianity.

     Jesus Christ never Himself wrote a book, however, innumerable books, pamphlets, and essays, etc. have and continue to be written about Him. As are architecture, music, art, etc. continuing to be inspired by this incomparable God-man Jesus of Nazareth.

     Yet the Bible teaches that God made us male and female, and that men and women, though different physically, are equal because both bear the image of God.

     Furthermore, while never sinning, Jesus did often violate social taboos regarding women and in so doing honored women. Examples include, when he spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well (John chapter 4 verses 7 and following). Jesus often healed and cast demons out of women. (According to Mark chapter 16 verse 9) He used women as examples of exemplary faith in his teachings. (Luke chapter 4 verse 26). In what was likely quite controversial because women were generally omitted from theological instruction; nevertheless, Jesus did teach women theology. (Consider Luke chapter 10 verses 38 and following). Jesus allowed Himself to be anointed by a sinful woman. (Luke chapter 7 verse 36 and following). The funding of Jesus’ ministry included generous support from godly women. (According to Luke chapter 8 verses 1 through 3). Godly women were the first, as eyewitnesses, to testify that Jesus had risen from the dead. (Matthew chapter 28 verses 1 and following).

     Therefore, Jesus indeed loved, honored, taught, and included women in vital positions in His public ministry. This in stark contrast to the prevailing Roman, and Jewish society of His day in which women were regarded as inherently inferior to men and often overlooked. Husbands could divorce their wives, but wives could not divorce their husbands. In Jewish rabbinic circles, only males were allowed to study the Torah (The Jewish Bible, the Old Testament). Jesus challenged all these arrangements. Although Jesus called only men to be apostles, He still readily accepted women into his circle of His closest followers.

     Christianity’s appeal for women was a major reason that Christianity grew so rapidly in competition with other religions of the Roman Empire. Then, as today, most Christians are women. Christianity offered women not only greater status and influence within the church but also more protection as babies, as young girls, as wives, and mothers, as women.

     Regarding women, believers and unbelievers can highly appreciate Jesus’ mercy (in which we began this lesson). Consider John chapter 8 verses 3 and following “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.”

     What was the trap? If Jesus rejected the Law of Moses, His credibility would be gone. Yet, if He held to Mosaic Law and agreed she needed to be stoned to death, His reputation for compassion, mercy, and forgiveness would have been questioned.

     Verse 7 “Jesus said to them, ‘“If any one of you is without sin let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

     Jesus’ answer directly refers to Deuteronomy chapter 17 and verse 7, of course in the Old Testament that says “The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting him (in this case her) to death…” It likely means here only those who were not guilty of the same sin (adultery) could participate in the stoning.

     Verse 9 “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.”

     It’s very likely that these teachers of the law, and Pharisees set this woman up, used her as a pawn just to entrap her and Jesus their real target. They didn’t see any value in this woman’s life; she was just expendable. They humiliated her publicly “made her stand before the group.”

     In verse 10 “Jesus asked her ‘woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’

Verse 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you!” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” The fact is Jesus was the only one who could have legitimately stoned her had he been an eyewitness. All the witness had been adulterers. Jesus did not condemn her that day, nor did He condone her sin. She had another chance to leave her life of sin. To repent and turn from her sin to the Savior. Jesus was indeed merciful to her and gave her another chance to turn her life around. Her life had value. He loved her. He did not see her as expendable, as a pawn.

That’s the Jesus Christ that Christians love, obey, and indeed worship.

David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ in Sellersburg, IN.

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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8