Day 21 (March 17), John 8:1-11

John 8:1-11

Context:  The encounter of Jesus with the woman caught in adultery is both fascinating and a bit perplexing.  It’s not in the earliest manuscripts of the gospel of John, and some of the later manuscripts put it in another place or even in the gospel of Luke.  Some have speculated that it is an actual, historical event but not necessarily part of the inspired Scriptures.  Many say it’s one of the most poignant encounters Jesus had with someone, which is hard to argue with.  Not only the woman was never the same, we suspect the scribes and Pharisees who dropped their stones and walked away were never the same either!!  I think it fits here because Jesus has spent the past 3 chapters exposing the arrogant, self-righteous and judgmental spirit of the religious leaders (as it related to His healing on the Sabbath) and in this encounter he sheds even greater light on their motives.  If you’d like a 90-second dramatic reflection on the scene you can find it in the movie ‘The Passion of the Christ’ here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3ykt6pyLJ4  

Observations:  What do you think of this passage?  What do you think Jesus was writing in the ground?  What was their motivation in bringing the woman to Jesus?  The passage states they went away one-by-one, starting with the oldest.  Was it because the oldest were more aware of their own sin upon Jesus’ statement? Perhaps they had heard of Jesus’ teaching that ‘if you lust after a woman you have already committed adultery in your heart.’ Or something else?  Note the poignant and powerful blend of truth and grace here:  ‘Woman, has no one condemned you? … Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.’

Application:  Consider a way that you’ve been prideful, arrogant, self-righteous or judgmental (it may be very different than the scribes and Pharisees, or not).  Throw down your stone and ask God to do a fresh work in your life!  Consider a way you have been impure or unholy (it may be very different than the adulterous woman, or not).  Ask Jesus for the strength and freedom to ‘go and sin no more’.

Prayer:  Jesus, do a transforming work in ALL our lives … those of us who have been self-righteous, prideful and judgmental as well as those who have been impure, immoral or just disobedient.  Might grace AND truth abide in our lives and in the entire Evergreen body so we can be lights in a dark place.  Amen.

Posted by Dave Blum with

Day 20 (March 16), John 7:37-52

John 7:37-52 

Context:  On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus stands up and makes a bold proclamation, ‘Believe in me and from your innermost being will flow rivers of living water!’  The audacity of His claim is magnified when we understand the context.  On this final day of this populated festival there is a grandiose procession of priests from the Temple mount down to the Pool of Siloam in the southeast corner of the city.  There the chief priest gathers water from the pool (see map below).  The procession returns to the temple amid trumpet blasts and the priest pours the water (along with wine) out at the base of the altar.  The priests and Levites lead the crowd in antiphonal recitation of the Hallel (Psalms 113-118) as the swelling and boisterous crowd waves their palm branches.  Right at this moment is when Jesus stood up and declared His messianic identity and the indwelling of the Spirit in the church age soon to come.  The Jewish leaders are incensed, but also rebuffed by both the officers they sent to arrest Jesus and Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin. 

Observations:  Why do you think Jesus waited until this moment to refer to ‘rivers of living water’ and the ‘Spirit’?  Why not when he arrived mid-festival?  Note the divided perspectives with respect to Jesus’ claim.  Why do you think it is implausible to be neutral about Jesus?  What do you think of the officers (soldiers) who wouldn’t arrest Jesus?  Nicodemus was NOT from Galilee, why then would the Pharisees ask such a rhetorical question?  Do you think Nicodemus (from Chapter 3) is now a believer in Christ or just closer to faith? 

Application:  Make a choice today to open the gates for the Spirit to flow in and through you (prayer, Scripture, obedience, setting your mind on godly things, speaking truth in love, etc.)  Be aware of thoughts, attitudes, words and actions that are grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit’s work … avoid them or, if you don’t, confess and turn from them.

Prayer:  Ask the Lord to see the Spirit bear greater fruit in your life!  Expect him to purify your motives and intentions as you do, but still boldly request this!  The same for our Evergreen body … that Jesus would get greater glory and more lives are transformed into His image.

Posted by Dave Blum with

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