I have read the story of the woman caught in adultery many times. However, it was not until preparing for my message on Sunday that it struck me…this is more than just a story about the forgiveness of Christ. This is not just the story of a woman whose back was against the wall and found forgiveness and freedom in Christ. This is also a story about the centerpiece of our lives.
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, “Let any one of you who is without sin 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.” (John 8:3-11)
It is interesting to me that Scripture tells us that the Pharisees made the woman “stand in front of the crowd”. It is as if they are placing her front and center. As if they are saying…”Everyone look at her. Look at this horrible person! Look at her sin! Now, the question is…what do we do about her?” It is interesting to me because sitting right there is Jesus! The Christ…the One who can actually do something about this situation is just left on the sidelines. The Pharisees placed the sin on center stage and asked Jesus what they should do with her sin. Do you see the problem?
When we place our sins as the focal point…we lose. Every time….we lose. But, we tend to do this. Time and time again we place our sins and shortcomings front and center…and we place Christ on the sideline. I don’t think we do this intentionally. We have simply watched it done in churches, in our homes, and in the lives of those around us. I guess it has become the status quo. But what if the status quo was different? What if we turned things around? What if we placed Christ at the center rather than our sins?
With Christ at the center, we would be focused on His forgiveness, His grace, and His mercy. Those all sound much better than our sins. When we place Christ at the center, there is no sin that can withstand what Christ offers. Maybe the Pharisees would have acted differently that day if they really knew who Christ was. Maybe, if they knew who Christ was…they would have focused on His ability to forgive rather than her ability to sin. What if our churches took this approach?
At The Grove…it does not matter what baggage, pain, past, or present reality you bring with you. We don’t focus on that. We focus on Christ and His ability to radically change your life.