A Woman in Danger Meets Jesus- John 8

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

It may seem odd to begin a study of John 8 with a quote from Genesis about God creating mankind. However, something important to note is that God created mankind in his image- male and female. Women are equally image bearers of God with men.

In John there are three salient accounts Jesus interacting with women in ways that ran counter to the culture of the time. In all three accounts we find Jesus caring for them as the Creator/Savior reaching out with grace for them. We saw the first account several weeks ago in A Troubled Woman Meets Her Savior.

Today we look at a woman in danger meets Jesus. In John 8 we find the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, religious leaders, brought a woman who was caught in the act of adultery in front of Jesus and the people around him. Interesting that the woman was brought before Jesus but the man was not perhaps underscoring that women were second class citizens compared to men at that time.

Trying to trap Jesus they stated the law said she should be stoned to death and asked what he had to say.

Jesus’ response was to ignore them and bend down and write in the dirt. It is quite possible the woman was on the ground and could see what Jesus was writing.

They persisted, so Jesus stood up and said:

Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

He bent down and wrote in the dirt again. The accusers and the people around left one by one.

Jesus stood up and asked he where her accusers were. He asked her:

Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

When she replied no one, Jesus told her:

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

The woman was literally in danger of being stoned to death. She could have been only moments away from death when they brought her before Jesus. Instead she experienced the grace of Jesus.

Jesus did not tell her it is okay. He told her he did not condemn her and also to leave her life of sin. When we come to Jesus, we are no longer under condemnation, but he does work to change us and our lives.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:1

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- How Can It Be by Lauren Daigle

We are all guilty before God but because of Jesus dying on the cross and taking the judgement upon himself that we deserve, we can be freed from sin and judgement. Because of Jesus, we can receive the gift of relationship with God and eternal life.

That is what this week is all about as we remember Jesus being tortured and crucified and then defeating death for us. Because of Jesus, we can be forgiven by God.

I love this song by Lauren Daigle. It expresses so well the experience of being amazed by what Jesus did for us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus the Bread of Heaven- John 6

In the first verses of John 6, John makes note of the fact that the Passover was near. During the Passover observance, Jews partake of elements to remind them of aspects of the first Passover. The first Passover, God told the Israelites to smear the blood of a lamb on their window frames and doorposts so the angel of death would pass over their homes and not enter during the last plague God sent to force Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free.

Photo by Marta Dzedyshko on Pexels.com

Two aspects of the Passover celebration are the unleavened bread and four cups of wine. The unleavened bread is symbolic of the bread the Israelites took with them as the left Egypt. The four cups of wine represents deliverance, the blood of the lamb, that forced Pharaoh to let them go free.

When Jesus shared what we call the last supper with the disciples, he broke the bread saying this is my body and shared the wine saying this is my blood. His disciples would have understood there was symbolism connected to the Passover but not fully yet at that time.

Jesus taught them how it is that one can have eternal life in verse 40.

“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

Jesus is the source of eternal life, He is the source of forgiveness from God. He is the source of deliverance.

When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming, he said:

“behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

When Jesus held up the cup of wine representing deliverance during the ‘last supper’, he said this is my blood shed for you. That cup of wine was symbolic of the blood of the lambs smeared on the doorways and window of the homes of the Israelites. When Jesus died for us, his blood was poured out for our deliverance from sin and judgement. so when Jesus said of the cup during the last supper, “this is my blood”, he was referring to the symbolism the wine had for his blood being shed for us.

When Jesus told the crowds that whoever eats of his flesh and drinks of his blood abides in him, the crowds left finding it offensive. The disciples stayed saying to Jesus, “you have the words of eternal life.”

The pivotal difference between “Protestants” and Catholics is the view of communion. Do the bread and wine, grape juice in some churches, spiritually become the body and blood of Jesus or are they symbols in a ceremony of rememberance.

The fact that John makes note of the Passover being near in the same chapter sheds light on context. In John’s mind there is a connection from the beginning of the chapter mentioning the Passover is near, the feeding of thousands with a few fish and a few loaves of bread, and Jesus saying he is the bread of heaven. The physical bread Jesus fed them with was a symbol of the spiritual bread Jesus spoke of when he said, I am the bread of heaven.

The question is whether we have looked to Jesus?

Have we trusted in Jesus?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Alabaster Box by CeCe Winans

In honor of Black History Month, I want to share a beautiful song by Ce Ce Winans. Our black brothers and sisters in Christ have contributed so much to our Christian faith over the years. I think of preachers like Tony Evans one of my favorites.

Musically Andrea Crouch paved the way for many contemporary Christian musicians. He was one of the pioneers in Christian music that today’s artists owe a debt of gratitude to.

Ce Ce Winans has such a beautiful voice and her song Alabaster Box poignantly shares the experience every Christian must go through which is to experience the forgiveness and love of our Savior Jesus. The song focuses on the Mary who poured out her expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus and wiped them with her hair out of appreciation for his forgiveness and love.

I hope this song blesses you as much or more than it did me.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- O Come to The Altar- Performed by Alisa Turner

I love the song O Come to the Altar and how it starts out- Are you hurting and broken within. Jesus is calling.

Jesus is calling all to come to him for healing, restoration, forgiveness, and relationship.

When our lives are a mess- Jesus is calling.

When we are filled with doubt and confusion- Jesus is calling.

When we are overwhelmed in life- Jesus is calling.

I love this video with Alisa Turner singing O Come to the Altar. I hope it blesses you today.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Troubled Woman Meets Her Savior Jesus- John Chapter 4

John chapter 3 ends with proclaiming Jesus is the Son of God and has all authority. The first three chapters of John show us that Jesus is the creator, is God the Son, is eternal, and that he came for us.

In chapter 4 we see the first account by John of Jesus interacting with someone desperately in need of God- a Samaritan woman.

Samaria was an area that no self respecting Jew would walk through. Jews thought of Samaritans as being unclean half breeds and Samaria as being a place one would be defiled just walking through. Serious Jews would walk around Samaria to avoid it.

The closest we come to it in the USA would be the days of whites only and colored sections in restaurants. The division between Jews and Samaritans ran so deep.

Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Pexels.com

So what did Jesus do? He went into Samaria one day and sat down next to a well waiting for the person he knew was coming, a Samaritan woman with a dismal track record with men and relationships.

She came to the well and Jesus spoke to her:

“Will you give me a drink?” 

This simple request sent shock waves through the woman. She knew Jesus was a Jewish man and she knew her “place” in life. She knew Jews did not interact with Samaritans and she knew women were not valued. She replied:

“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”

Jesus steered the conversation to the reason he was waiting for her- to offer her forgiveness and relationship with God. He used the physical water to begin to speak of spiritual matters:

“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Living water, the Holy Spirit living within us because of knowing Jesus is what he is beginning to offer her, but she did not understand yet was trying to grasp it:

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?

Jesus shared with her that he was speaking of spiritual water and eternal life:

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

She asked Jesus for the water he was speaking of but first Jesus let her know that he knew about her life saying:

“Go, call your husband and come back.”

After she replied that she did not have a husband, Jesus let her know:

“You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

Jesus knew this fallen woman had a series of broken relationships with men. We do not know if some died or if they left her. We do not know if she left them. We only know she had a string of husbands and was then living with a man not married. And yet Jesus spoke with her offering her eternal life.

She tried to change to subject by talking about where to worship. Jesus corrected her thinking about worship by saying:

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

The woman began to understand something about Jesus saying:

“I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

She wondered if he was the long awaited promised one from God- The Messiah.

Jesus confirmed it for her:

“I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

The woman became the first Samaritan to share with others about Jesus when she ran back to the village saying:

“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 

No matter how far we have fallen in life, no matter what others think of us, Jesus loves us and will come to us just as he did the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus will give us relationship with him and eternal life if we will believe in him. We cannot earn it just as the Samaritan woman could not.

Not only that, Jesus will do his work through us just as he did with the Samaritan woman.

Jesus Cleans Up A Mess- John Chapter 2

Years ago a friend of mine called me to ask for help. His wife had been out of town for a conference for several days and was going to return home the next day. The problem was that his house was a disaster partly because he had been sick for some of the time she was gone. He did not want his wife to be disappointed when she came home. He had done so many things to help me at times, so I gladly went over to help him out. After a few hours the place looked much better.

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

One day Jesus came to the Temple. He saw how the Temple had been turned into a market place with people selling things and exchanging money. Out of righteous indignation, he made a whip of cords and chased the people out of the Temple saying in John 2:16:

To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”

When we come together to worship, we should be mindful of our motives. Later in John, which we will see in a few weeks, Jesus said that those who worship God must do so in spirit and in truth.

The religious leaders asked what sign Jesus would do to show he had authority to do what he did. Jesus replied:

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

They thought he was talking about the Temple building, but Jesus was talking about his earthly body, his death by crucifixion, and his resurrection. His disciples understood this after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Jesus stayed a while and performed some miracles. It was during the time of the Passover Feast one of the most important religious observances for the Jews. People believed in him because of the miracles he performed, but Jesus did not entrust himself to them. In John 2:24-25 we see:

But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.

What happened at the Temple, while an actual event, is also symbolic of us and how we mess up our lives. We need to be cleaned up. Jesus knows what is in us, but the good news is that because he loves us, he died for us for our forgiveness, and when we trust in him, he will help us clean up the mess of our lives.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Power to Redeem by Lauren Daigle

You take what is
And you make it beautiful
When love floods in,
We’re restored forever more

Jesus takes us as we are. He loves us no matter who we are or what things we have done, or how we have messed up.

He takes our broken lives and makes them beautiful. Because of his love, we are restored to God forever when we receive Jesus.

If you feel broken, in a mess, give it to Jesus. Step by step he will take it all and make something beautiful of you and your life.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Oh My- Mr Rogers Movie- A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

When I was a child, we watched Mr. Rogers in school every day. For me it was a special time of the school day when I was in Kindergarten to 3rd Grade. When we did not have school, we watched his show at home.

Last night at the end of a day dealing with a chronic illness flare up, and not having energy for much else, I watched the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood on Hulu. Before I started watching, I thought it would be nice to zone out on a sappy movie.

What I did not expect was a major part of the movie to involve a man and his estranged father with the father on his death bed.

Why is that significant?

I grew up with an alcoholic father. Jesus gave me the opportunity to express forgiveness to my father 14 months before he died and to share Jesus with him and pray with him as he accept Jesus as his Savior.

The months that followed, I was his pastor. Each time I would visit, he would point to the bible in my hand as a gesture to ask me the read it to him. Then he would put his hand up for me to hold and pray with him.

So memory lane while watching the movie was not just about my childhood watching the show, it was also about remembering my father coming to know Jesus.

I do suggest the movie by the way.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.