Friday, January 18, 2019

2019.01.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 8:1-11

Questions for Littles: Who went to the Mount of Olives (v1)? When did He leave there (v2)? Into where did He come again? Who came to Him? What did He do for them? Who brought someone to Him in v3? Whom did they bring? What did they call Jesus (v4)? What did they say had happened? What did they claim that the law says should be done (v5)? What were they doing to Jesus (v6)? What did they want to do to Him? What does Jesus proceed stoop down and do? By Jesus’s answer in v7, what does it seem they had wanted Him to be the one to do? Whom does He say should throw the first stone? What does He do again in v8? What do those who had heard Him do (v9)? How many accusers were left? What does Jesus ask her (v10)? What does He command her to do from now on (v11)?
In the Gospel reading this week, we had a passage that is bracketed by the critical-text (used for ESV, etc.) but well attested by both the received-text (KJV/NKJV) and the majority text. The critical text is assembled, in large part, by compiling bits and pieces, recovered relatively recently, from ruins of desert sects and secluded monasteries. Then committees of critical scholars guessed, in each instance, at what might have been changed into something else and why. One of the complaints that the psychologizers have against this passage is that it doesn’t “fit” in its spot in John’s gospel. What a mistake!

There’s a wonderful thing that happens in this passage that occurs the day after the feast has ended. Jesus has gone up to the mountain, and everyone has returned to their homes (tents!). Jesus comes back from the mountain to the people. Remind you of anyone? Why are the people still here? Which people are still here? It’s those thirsty people whom He had called to Himself on the last day of the feast! vv1-2 set this up. The people came to Him.

What does He do to slake their thirst? He teaches them. He’s surrounded by a crowd of the thirsty, and soon arrives a crowd of the hostile. Scribes and Pharisees, trying to get Jesus to condemn a woman without the two or three witnesses that the law requires. Trying to get Jesus to cast the first stone. Trying to get Jesus to violate both Jewish and Roman authority structure by authorizing and participating in an execution.

Now Jesus, who has been on the mountain, writes with His finger on the ground. Who else in the Bible writes with His own finger? At the very least, Jesus is identifying Himself not as Moses who came down from the mountain, but as God who met him on the mountain.

Almost certainly, He is writing the ten commandments on the ground. It has its desired effects, and the scribes and Pharisees can’t stand His demonstration that they have broken the exact same law that she has broken—that there is something worse than by stoning that each of us deserves.

Now, here is a problem for each of us, and a problem that the woman still has at the end of the passage. She has not been condemned by a stoning tribunal, but there is another judgment coming. And she will not be any more successful at not sinning after this event than she had been before. Now what?

This presses upon me and upon you how badly we ought to thirst for Jesus’s righteousness to be our righteousness. He has the right to cast the stone. Worse, He has the right to cast body and soul into Hell. And He will be wrong if He doesn’t. This is the very reason that He came to suffer it in our place! When we come to Him to teach us, He teaches us the law that sends us to cling to Him alone for life. Are you thirsty?
What is your hope for when you stand before Him who wrote the ten commandments with His finger?
Suggested songs: ARP32A “What Blessedness” or TPH459 “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”

No comments:

Post a Comment