I love getting all dressed up – hair done, make-up perfect, high-heel shoes, favorite pair of earrings and the perfect lip color to top it all off. I call this getting “fancy” to head out to a special event with appetizers served on trays called things I have never heard of before. Everyone is walking around mingling and talking. It’s off to a great start until you run into that one person. That one person, who always seems to point out the obvious or share the latest gossip from the who’s who at the party; is it just me or have we all been around someone like that? Someone, who always brings up the “elephant” in the room making it uncomfortable and awkward; I call them, Captain Obvious!
In John 8:1-11 it tells the story of a group of “Captain Obvious” people. The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who was literally caught in the act of adultery. We read in verse 3, “The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act’.” Did, you catch that… CAUGHT IN THE ACT! This gives me the impression they were watching and waiting for this woman to mess up. Hiding around the corner and on the prowl just ready to pounce and catch her in the act.
They were waiting for her to mess up. And why? Just so they could point their finger at her and condemn her. Well, I got news for you “Captain Obvious”, I am pretty sure she was aware of what she was doing. She was aware of her sin. She was aware she was having an affair. She was probably all too aware. You didn’t uncover some covert operation. She didn’t need Captain Obvious on the scene. She didn’t need stones thrown. What she needed was Jesus! She needed someone to show her love, compassion, grace, and mercy. Stating the obvious doesn’t change people BUT love, mercy, compassion, and grace does!
Jesus knew exactly how to respond to her, in a way which would teach us something wonderful. Instead of responding with disappointment, shame or even righteous anger, we read in verse 6, “… Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground”. Later in verse 7 when the Pharisees persisted he answered and said: “He who is without sin among you let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he continued to write on the ground. Sin begs us to respond in shock and awe; however, Christ’s response ended up being more shocking than any stone thrown could have been. His response is always greater than the sin. His response is LOVE! Christ gets up and says to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first”. Not one was able to pick up a stone. Not one was able to continue pointing their finger, because they all became too aware of their own sins and shortcomings.
I have heard many speakers share and teach their thoughts about what Jesus was writing on the ground during this time. Could he had been trying his hardest to ignore the Pharisees and started doodling to annoy them? A simple game of hang-man, anyone? Maybe, it was a way for him to calm down and catch His composure before responding to them. Could he have been writing out the sins of those in the circle condemning the woman? And then when he continued to write, adding each name next to the sin? I wish I could have been a fly on the wall or in this case – a fly on the sand - just to see what Christ was writing and their responses. To see the responses when the tables turned and went from “look at what she did!” to “look at what I have done”. Grace and mercy always show up when we need it the most.
Isn’t it time we stop being Captain Obvious and start doing the unexpected – love them. Isn’t it time we stop judging people and holding grudges, instead start forgiving; start extending grace and mercy.
Can you imagine how shocked the adulterous woman was in John 8 when Jesus told her to “Go and sin no more”? Now imagine how shocked people in your life will be when you do the same’ when you turn from pointing fingers and throwing stones to extending a helping hand with grace and love.
Jesus told her to “GO” – to move on. Leave the past here and GO! It’s also time to forgive ourselves and to “go” and sin no more. The same grace and mercy which was extended to the adulterous woman is available to you and me. Let’s walk in grace and mercy today and watch lives be forever changed.
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