The Director (John 8)

The Setup

John 8 begins with the story of the woman caught in adultery.  To better understand the situation, one should note what had happened the day before.  It was the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Temple Guards had returned to the Pharisees.  Contrary to their orders, they did not have Jesus with them.

The Pharisees lashed out at the guards.  Then Nicodemus questioned their methods, saying that the Law requires them to hear Jesus’ side.  The Pharisees then lashed out at Nicodemus as well.

The Plot

Now come back to the next day.  The Pharisees have been brewing in their anger all night.  They’ve been plotting. 

Jesus is teaching again in the Temple courts… their temple, as far as they are concerned.  And when they come to Jesus, they bring a woman that they just happened to catch in adultery that day.  They didn’t bring the man, mind you.  Just the woman.

And they throw this woman before Him like a dog.  They make her stand there in front of all these people that Jesus was teaching.  They’re trying to prove something to Jesus’ audience, and trying to find a reason to accuse Him.  They want the people to stop following Jesus.  And they want Jesus dead.

They pose their question to Jesus.  What they wanted was for Jesus to say “Yes, the Law says to kill her so kill her.”  If He did then in their minds not only would it look like His message of mercy was tainted, but it would also give them Jesus’ own approval to kill in the name of the Law.  And they wanted to accuse Jesus of blasphemy, so they could kill Him.

Remember that the people were excitable.  It wasn’t exactly safe for the Pharisees to brave the crowds for the sake of killing Christ.  In the interest of self preservation, they needed the people on their side.

The Real Powerplay

It’s easy to look at this situation as just a convenient trap.  But this was a very deliberate and hate filled plot.  This was an attempt to catch Jesus in just the right place, at just the right time.

Proverbs 16:9 says:

 “A man’s mind plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. “

This confrontation was to be no exception.  These men planned and plotted death for Jesus, and were willing to kill this woman to do it.  But Jesus came to bring life.  With a wisdom far beyond their own, Jesus turns the tables.

He didn’t use a show of force.  He didn’t use a miracle.  He simply spoke.  And with His words, Christ spoke of the same message that they were trying to quiet.  A message of love, truth and mercy.

Not only did he speak His message of mercy, but He compelled the blood lusting Pharisees to follow it.  The Lord directed their steps. 

The Mistake

If only they knew the Law…

No stones? (John 2)

When you read the stories in the New Testament you don’t often get the picture that the Jews of Jesus’ time were people who sat by and took whatever was dealt to them.  Often times we see them trying to stone people to death, and once we saw them try to push Jesus off of a cliff!

I’m not posting this to say that the Jews were a violent people in general.  But when reading the second half of John 2, one should consider the tendencies that many of the people had when it came to deeds and services related to God.  In religious matters, one could not go about doing as he pleased if it was in opposition to the religious leaders.

One certainly couldn’t go around overturning the merchant tables at the temple, and threatening people with a whip.  But we see a unique event recorded in John 2.  Jesus turned the tables over, threatening violence.  And guess what…

They had nothing to say for themselves, and they did not threaten Christ.

There was something about Jesus, a presence, it seems, that people could not deny.  Here in this passage nobody attacks Jesus.  In fact, nobody even accuses Him of wrong doing.  Sure, they ask Him by what authority He did what He did.  But that’s all they did.  They never even defended their market.

We see Jesus’ presence come into play in other places too.  The main one that comes to my mind is when the soldiers first came to take Christ away to be crucified.  When they ask for Jesus He replies with “I am He”, and they all fall to the ground!  I don’t know what exactly happened, but it cannot be denied that Jesus had a special presence.

And I think that it may be good for us to remember that Christ has the right to be that way in the hearts of other Christians.  Sometimes we see a brother or sister struggling in sin, and we neglect our duty to tell them what Christ says.  Sure, we’re to do so in gentleness, but we are to approach them just the same.

So if you have let Christ be the Lord of your life, listen to Him and let others hear what He says.  Trust that Jesus is the only one who can truly help people.  And trust that if He be lifted up, He will draw all men unto Himself.

We destroyed His body, and He rose it up in three days.  We are God’s temple, and he can raise us up as well.  Nobody has grounds to deny His zeal. 

None have stones to throw when Jesus clears the temple.