Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Caught Needing Mercy

Only Jesus can satisfy God's demand for justice and our need for mercy.

John 8:2-12  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."  12  Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."

What's going on here? The crowds must have wondered, they have never seen anybody stoned for adultery by themselves, did the man get away? How could he get away, the sun is out, there isn't any way that he could be nameless.

Maybe the guy was a Pharisee, they wouldn't haul one of their own to the temple and throw him down at Jesus feet and risk having him stoned. But it didn't matter to the Pharisees, they weren't looking for justice, the only thing on their mind was setting a trap that Jesus wouldn't be able to get out of. They were happy to have a question to ask him that didn't seem to have a safe answer.

The scribes and Pharisees came armed with the law as a weapon, that shouldn't surprise you, we have all seen it before in Christian circles. Our churches are full of people that use the Bible for their own selfish agenda, they judge others and they put down their enemies but they never apply the same rule to themselves.
Matthew 7:1-3  Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  2  For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.  And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own?
The Pharisees and Jesus are standing here in front of the woman at opposite ends of the spectrum. The Pharisees are all charged up and poised to act immediately but Jesus is calm and cool. By stooping down and doodling in the dirt he allows them to show their hatred and their animosity toward him while he just remained calm.

They came to condemn the woman but instead they were condemned. They wanted her condemned and stoned with Jesus approval so that Jesus would be in trouble with the Romans for carrying out a job that was only for them to do.

Jesus said that they could throw the rocks at her but they needed to meet the qualification for administering Godly justice. He told them that the only requirement is that they be sinless. That should disqualify all of us from throwing rocks at each other but it doesn't slow us down very much.

Instead of falling down at Jesus feet and asking for mercy and forgiveness, the Pharisees turn and run away, they could see that a just God was demanding that they change.

The one that was sinless and therefore qualified to throw rocks asks the woman "Where are your accusers? The sinless Son of God wasn't going to accuse her even though he had the right to do so.

Does that sound odd? God demands justice but the Son of God let her go without punishment. God's demand for justice is the polar opposite of mercy. How can mercy be accomplished in the face of justice?
Justice and Mercy
Isaiah 53:5-6  But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the sins of us all.
The cross is the place where justice and mercy meet. The greatest mystery of all time is why our creator loves us so much that he would provide a way for us to be righteous when we stand before him. My sin was dealt with 100% and the full payment for it was made at the cross and since the sacrifice was made I can receive mercy 100%. When God gave me mercy he didn't have to overlook my sin and let me off the hook and ignore the need for justice.
Micah 6:8  He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
This verse has new meaning to me as a result of this study. It occurred to me that God requires from me the same thing that he did. My God did justice, he expects me to do justice, my God did mercy and he expects me to do mercy. If I follow his example then I will be able to walk humbly with him. I will have to be humble. The act of giving mercy out to those that have done me wrong helps me to understand the cost of the mercy that was given to me.

Like the adulterous woman, I was guilty and condemned before Him, and like the adulterous woman I have experienced mercy through God's sovereign grace He loved me enough to die in my place and offer me a full pardon. Like the adulterous woman I have met God and I am forgiven!

Thank you Lord for loving me so much that you satisfied your need for justice with my need for mercy!

When Justice And Mercy Meet (relevantmagazine.com)