Jesus Came… and Forever Changed the World
As I walk and work in our world these days, I am overwhelmed by the depth of hurting I see. Deep, real, hurt. Sin has cast its ugly shadow not only over our souls but also, over our world and it groans for relief. Hurricanes, tragic freak accidents, and injustices galore are wreaking havoc on lives taking what was beautiful and lovely turning it to ashes mixed with tears.
Over 2000 years ago, the world was in a similar state. The Romans were conquers and did so through immense brutality. The Jewish people lived in a world where beatings and crucifixion were the norms. Making matters worse, their religious leaders heaped greater suffering on them by lording the law over them with rigidity and heartlessness. It was a time in history where the sick were tossed away; the weak were abandoned; women were diminished and the powerful glorified themselves.
Jesus Came… and forever changed the world. But how did he do it?
Jesus Came… and Understood Mercy and Compassion for One Another is Far More Powerful than the Man’s Law
8 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8:1-11
According to the law, this woman should have been stoned. The Jewish leaders had the law behind them but Jesus had a different way; a point leading to a life of truth, filled with grace, mercy, and love. In 2017, in America, we certainly don’t condone stoning women for adultery. However, under the umbrella of illegal immigration, men and women are regularly dehumanized just like the woman who was caught in adultery. We stand over them in judgment ready to figuratively stone them. Why? Because, our laws give us a sense of empowerment – entitlement – permission – that we can. If we look back at Jesus and how he responded, however, we see another way. Jesus slowed things down. He allowed time for thinking and consideration. He wasn’t drawn in by the crowd’s frenzy but instead, defused it through his quiet wisdom and strength.
It’s not as simple as asking what would Jesus do. We must ask, what is Jesus asking us to do? What is our responsibility in this human crisis? Are we being asked to extend His hand of grace to people who have broken the law? Or, because they have broken the law, can we treat them with the same disdain the Pharisees treated the woman caught in adultery? I certainly don’t have all the answers. I do know that I can’t throw a stone towards anyone. The fact that the Lord Jesus saved me, must turn me towards humility and mercy.
Jesus Came… and Touched the Untouchable
8 Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. 2 Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
3 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.
Back in the times when Jesus walked the earth, those with leprosy were the most rejected in society. They were the castaways. Yet, Jesus reached out and touched the man.
We need to reach out and touch people both physically and emotionally…and we need to reach out and touch people who are not always like ourselves. A hug. A mutually shed tear. A held hand. A handwritten note. We need to become intentional listeners and enter into other’s pain – not always try to fix it.
We certainly can’t stop the groaning of the world as it reacts to the fall but, we can rush to those who are impacted by the storms, earthquakes and all the other various disasters. We can respond in love when those around us stumble and struggle and passionately petition the Lord on their behalf. We must love one another whether we agree or disagree on the issues of our times. The bottom line is we must become active, vessels of authentic agape love who walk life with the broken, frail, hurting, repulsive, hopeless, pious, haughty, arrogant and rejected. We must be willing to step into the midst of the rage-filled accusers and speak the Lord’s quiet wisdom. We must reach out and touch the hurting — no matter the mask they wear — and let them know they are worthy of Christ’s love.
The truth is my friends, Jesus did these things very things for you and for me. Why would he not ask us to do these very things for others?
Jesus came… and forever changed the fallen world through his truth, and love. We have the choice to join him in his transformative ministry for this continuing fallen, groaning and broken world…
I’m in, how about you?