Posted

“When Jesus had stood up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord. Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.’” John 8:10-11 (Read John 8:1-11)

The Biblical account of the woman who was caught in the act of committing adultery is an amazing portion of God’s Word to consider. The scribes and Pharisees were attempting to find grounds to accuse Jesus. So, they brought this woman to Jesus as He was teaching in the temple, saying they had caught her in the very act of committing adultery and asking Jesus whether or not they should stone her to death as Moses commanded in the law (cf. Deut. 5:18; 22:22ff.; Lev. 20:10).

Now, the Law required that both the man who took another’s wife and the consenting woman be put to death. This raises the question of why only the woman was brought in this case, especially since she was caught “in the very act.” Of course, the purpose of the scribes and Pharisees was to test Jesus and find grounds to accuse Him.

Jesus wrote on the ground and said to the woman’s accusers, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (v. 7). Then He again stooped down and wrote in the dirt. Verse 9 tells us that the woman’s accusers went out of the temple one by one, starting with the oldest, being convicted by their own consciences, until, finally, Jesus was left alone with this woman.

What Jesus wrote in the dirt, whether it be the commandments, the sins of this woman’s accusers, or something else, we don’t know, but all were convicted of their own sins and could no longer condemn this woman without condemning themselves (cf. Rom. 2:1ff.).

What can we learn from this? First of all, as sinners, we cannot judge and condemn another without also condemning ourselves (cf. Matt. 7:1-5; 18:21ff.). Rather, we ought to “be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).

Not one of us is without sin. We all depend entirely upon God’s grace and mercy toward us for the sake of Jesus Christ and His blood shed for us on the cross. When we admonish sinners and preach against sin, our goal is not to condemn others but to urge sinners to join us in repentance so that they, too, might receive God’s mercy in Christ Jesus!

We remember that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17; 1 Tim. 1:15).

Secondly, you and I can find great comfort in the fact that Jesus told this woman caught in the very act of adultery: “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” If anyone could have condemned this woman, it was Jesus, the holy and sinless Son of God, but Jesus forgave her sin and told her to go and sin no more.

We can find comfort in this because, no matter how great our sin, in Jesus, we can obtain mercy and forgiveness, for He came into the world to fulfill the righteous demands of the law for us and to suffer on the cross the just punishment demanded by God’s law for our sins.

The Bible tells us there is no distinction between Jewish and non-Jewish believers, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith, in His blood” (Rom. 3:23-25). It is through faith in Jesus’ shed blood that sinners like you and me can find forgiveness from God and not be condemned (cf. John 5:24; Rom. 8:1).

Now, this does not mean that we can go on and sin freely since there is forgiveness in Christ, for Jesus says: “Go and sin no more” (cf. Rom. 6:1ff.). As those freely forgiven by Christ, we now want to serve Him and do His will. In this life, we will not be perfect — we will fail — but we continue to turn to Jesus for forgiveness and His help and strength to amend our sinful lives and live for Him (cf. 1 John 1:7—2:2).

O Dearest Jesus, we thank You for showing mercy to us sinners and pardoning our offenses for the sake of Your innocent sufferings and death on the cross. Grant that we not judge and condemn other sinners but share Your mercy and forgiveness with them so that we may join together in living our lives for You. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version, Copyright © 2024, 2017, 2014 by United Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House. All rights reserved.]

Author
Categories ,

Posted

“Then Mary took a pint of very costly ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.” John 12:3 (Read John 12:1-9)

Not much is told to us in the Bible about Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha. We know that she sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His Word on one occasion when Martha was busy serving (Luke 10:38-42), and we know that she was present when Lazarus died and when Jesus came and raised him from the dead (John 11).

Just before Jesus entered Jerusalem to suffer and die on the cross for the sins of all mankind, Jesus was the honored guest at a supper in Bethany. Martha served, and Mary came and anointed the head and feet of Jesus with a very costly ointment (cf. Matt. 26:6-13), worth around 300 denarii (approximately 300 days wages).

The disciples, and especially Judas who kept the money box and stole from it, were upset and indignant over this extravagant act, but Jesus told them to leave Mary alone. She was anointing His body for burial, and this deed of hers would be remembered and spoken of wherever the Gospel was preached.

Mary acted in love for her Lord and Savior. She understood what Jesus’ disciples had not yet grasped: that Jesus was going to the cross to suffer and die for her sins and the sins of all.

Do you know the love of Jesus? Do you realize the tremendous love He has for you — love which moved Him to willingly lay down His life for your sins so that you might have forgiveness and life everlasting rather than the condemnation and eternal punishment of God you deserve? Have you taken the time to sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His Word? Through His Word, God desires to graciously bless you with an understanding of His love and mercy toward you for Jesus’ sake!

Consider God’s great love for us sinners: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8); “In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10); “Jesus Christ … loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5).

O dearest Jesus, thank You for loving me so much that You came into this world and willingly went to the cross to bear the punishment for my sins. Forgive me for all that I have done wrong and for my failure to love You and appreciate Your great gift of salvation. Give me the desire to sit at Your feet and read and study Your Word, and open up my heart and mind so that I might understand what You have done for me, trust in You, and follow You unto life everlasting. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version, Copyright © 2024, 2017, 2014 by United Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House. All rights reserved.]

Author
Categories ,

Posted

“On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ By this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believe in Him would receive. For the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39

We think little of the importance and need for water. We just turn on the faucet, and water flows. It wasn’t so in Bible times, especially in the arid regions of the Middle East. Water was a precious commodity, and obtaining all the water needed was a continual task and concern.

Think of the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 17). They had no water to drink and were thirsty. They complained against Moses, accusing him of bringing them out into the wilderness to die of thirst. God commanded Moses to strike the rock with his rod and water gushed forth, meeting the needs of God’s people. And the Bible tells us that God provided water for the people from the rock on more than one occasion (cf. Num. 20:8ff.; Deut. 8:15).

Now, it was the Feast of Tabernacles, the last day of that great feast in which the people dwelt in tabernacles to remind them of their living in tents in the wilderness for 40 years. On each day of the feast, the priests drew out a vessel of water from the Pool of Siloam, and the people sang psalms as they returned to the temple to pour out the water into a basin there on the side of the altar — a reminder that God had given them water from the rock in the wilderness.

Then, on the last day of the feast, Jesus cried out in the temple, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38).

That rock in the wilderness pointed to Jesus Christ. As God satisfied the thirst of His people in the wilderness with water from the rock, so Christ offers to meet the spiritual thirst of God’s people with living water, water which continues to flow and meet all our needs and to quench the thirst of those around us as we point them to Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world by means of his sacrifice upon the cross (John 1:29).

As Jesus offered living water to the woman at the well in Samaria (John 4:10,13-14), so here He offers it to all who had come to the temple in search of God’s mercy and blessing. And He offers it to you and to me, as well!

How does Jesus quench our thirst? He offers and gives us pardon and forgiveness for all our sins when we come to Him in faith, trusting that He indeed is God’s Son and our Savior and that He has satisfied the demands of God’s law for us and has suffered the full and just punishment for all our sins and is risen again (cf. Eph. 1:6-9; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Rom. 3:21-26).

And, as John explained, when we trust in Jesus, He gives to us His Holy Spirit, who continually works through God’s Word and the comfort of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper to keep us in the true and saving faith and assure us of our salvation through faith in Jesus and His cross. He convicts us of our sinfulness with God’s Law and comforts us with God’s pardon and forgiveness through the message of the Gospel, the good news of His mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus (cf. Isa. 55:1ff.; 12:1ff.; Matt. 11:28ff.; Acts 2:36-39; Phil. 1:6).

We are living in a spiritual wilderness. True spiritual water is scarce — we can’t find it on our own. But God has provided it for us in His Son — the Rock which follows us in this wilderness of sin and death (cf. 1 Cor. 10:4; Psalm 36:9). And in Jesus, our thirst is quenched. Our greatest need — forgiveness of sins and fellowship with God our Maker — is met. And when we come to Jesus in faith, which is in itself of the gracious working of God (cf. Eph. 2:8-9; Col. 1:12ff.; 2:12; John 6:44,63), the Holy Spirit is given to us and our spiritual thirst is continually quenched as He sanctifies and keeps us in the true faith in Christ Jesus, our Savior (Rev. 22:17)!

We come to You, O Jesus, to quench our thirsty souls. Forgive our sins and keep us within Your flock and fold. And grant to us Your Spirit, and may the rivers flow, that others, too, may hear us, their Savior come to know. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version, Copyright © 2024, 2017, 2014 by United Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House. All rights reserved.]

Author
Categories ,

Posted

“And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ And he who was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus says to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’” John 11:43-44

In John 5, Jesus told the Jews at Jerusalem: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in him who sent me has everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and is now, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God. And those who hear shall live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has given to the Son to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this. For the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth — those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:24-29).

Here we see just how truthful Jesus’ words are, for Jesus came to the grave of Lazarus, who had been dead four days and whose body would by then have been giving off the offensive odor of death and decay. Jesus asked that the stone that closed the tomb be removed, and He offered up a prayer that those who stood by would believe the Father had sent Jesus into the world and had given to Him power over death.

And then Jesus “cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth.’” And, as we read, “He who was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth.”

Jesus had said He was “the resurrection and the life,” and the fact that He called Lazarus to life after he had been dead four days proves He is God the Son, sent into this world by God the Father, and that He has the power to raise the dead to life – both those spiritually dead and those physically dead! In fact, had He not specified that it was Lazarus who should come forth from the grave, all the dead would have come out from their graves.

As He said, “Do not marvel at this. For the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth — those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation.” And, even now, “The hour is coming, and is now, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God. And those who hear shall live.”

We, of course, cannot raise the dead from the grave. Nor can we raise the spiritually dead to spiritual life. Our words will do nothing. But, if we proclaim Jesus’ words, He will raise up those who hear His voice to spiritual and eternal life. And on the Last Day, He will call upon all the dead to come forth from their graves. Those who trusted in Him as the Son of God and their Savior will be raised up to eternal life. Those who did not hear Him calling with His Word will be raised up to bear the eternal consequences of their sins.

Jesus, through His Word, has the power to raise the dead from their graves, no matter how long they have been dead or how offensive their bodies have become! And Jesus has the power to raise up the spiritually dead to spiritual life through the hearing of His Word — again no matter how long they have been spiritually dead or how offensive their lives have been.

Jesus desires that each of us hears His voice and believes His words so that we repent of our sinful ways and place our faith in Him and His perfect sacrifice, offered up on the cross for the sins of the world. He desires to raise us up from spiritual death to spiritual life through faith in Him so that, on the last day, He may call us forth from our graves to the eternal joys of heaven, where we will dwell with Him forever!

Grant that we hear Your voice, O Lord, and place our faith in You as God’s Son and our Savior from sin and death. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the Revised Common Version of the Bible.]

Author
Categories ,

Posted

“Then the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council and said, ‘What do we do? For this man performs many miracles. If we leave him alone like this, all men will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.’ And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.’ And he did not speak this of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation, and not for that nation only, but that also he should assemble in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. Then from that day forth, they took counsel together to put him to death.” John 11:47-53

How little things have changed! After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and the Pharisees were told of the mighty miracle, they were more concerned about preserving their earthly status and position under Roman rule than their eternal future. Instead of coming to Jesus and recognizing Him as the Son of God and their Savior from sin, they considered it expedient for the earthly wellbeing of their place and nation to reject and put to death their Messiah.

And it happens today! Pastors and church leaders compromise the clear and plain teaching of the Bible, which is God’s Word, to preserve their positions in the church. Sad to say, for many, it is viewed as expedient that the true Jesus of the Bible be silenced and those who teach His Word be removed from their pulpits so that their own positions and erring church doctrines remain unchallenged.

After all, what would happen if the sin and false doctrine in their church bodies were to be exposed? What would happen if those who teach the truth revealed in the Bible were allowed to keep pointing out the sins of church members and calling upon all to repent of their evil ways and look in faith in Christ Jesus and His cross for mercy, pardon, and forgiveness, and then seek to walk according to God’s Word? Members might become upset and leave. Church traditions and teachings might be exposed as doctrines of men. Churches might become divided and split. Church leaders might lose their positions of authority and leadership.

Notice that even though the Pharisees and religious rulers of the Jews rejected Jesus and plotted to kill Him, the words of Caiaphas, the high priest, were a prophecy of God’s plan for Jesus to be offered up on the cross as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people that God might gather together His chosen from among the nation of Israel and from among the peoples of the world. And God is doing that yet today when He calls people to faith in Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross through the hearing of His Word. Those who, by the grace and mercy of God, hear the voice of Jesus calling through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word and look to Him in faith are gathered together to Him and are a part of His eternal kingdom. They are pardoned, forgiven, and have eternal life!

In 1 Corinthians 11:19, St. Paul writes: “For there must also be sects among you so that those who are approved may be made manifest among you.” In other words, God allows those with differing religious views and opinions to rise up in the church in order to test believers and see if they will hold fast to the truth of the Bible or elevate their own reason and opinions and reject the truth of His Word. Sadly, the Christian church is very splintered and divided today, which puts the burden on believers to examine what pastors and churches teach, using the Bible as the source and judge of truth.

Isaiah wrote: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). The sects and divisions in the church today force Christians who seek to be faithful to Christ to dig deeply into the Holy Scriptures so that they might know and believe the truth rather than being misled by those who err. In this way, through the errors of false teachers and churches, God strengthens and purifies His elect through the study of His Word.

O gracious Father, grant that we hold to the truth of Your Word and place our faith in Jesus and His cross for our salvation, and keep us from being misled by those who would turn us away from the truth and from the way of salvation You have provided for us through the death of Your Son for the sins of the people. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the Revised Common Version of the Bible.]

Author
Categories ,