Today’s Reading: John 7 & 8
FORGIVENESS. FREEDOM. MERCY.
Let us consider the freedom we experience when we choose forgiveness and mercy. What would our life look like if we consistently let forgiveness flow and mercy show? What would it sound like to truly LET FREEDOM RING?
The Jewish leaders were so caught up on where Jesus had come from and from whom he had been born that they were missing who Jesus was and from whom he had been sent. They tried to use this information to prove that he was not the Messiah. They knew where Joseph and Mary were from and they knew that Jesus had grown up in Galilee so they assumed he was also born in Galilee. They actually used the argument that, if Jesus truly was the Messiah, he would have been born in Bethlehem as the Scriptures clearly state (John 7:42). They were making accusations without having all the information, something I am afraid I have been guilty of at times.
While Jesus was in the Temple, he called out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I’m not here on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know Him. But I know him because I come from him, and he sent me to you.” – John 7:28-29
Let’s keep in mind that the Pharisees and Jewish leaders knew who Jesus’ mother was when we consider what they did next. They probably knew she was found to be with child before she was married to Joseph. John tells us that these teachers of the law were trying to trap Jesus when they brought to him a woman who had been caught in adultery. They were waiting to see if Jesus would be faithful to the law of Moses, which demanded she be stoned.
…but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 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!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
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. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
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.” – John 8:6-12
We continue today to judge one another by where we came from, who our parents are and by the sins of our past. The enemy wants to define us by these things so that he can convince us that we belong to the sinful world and not to our Heavenly Father. If he can convince us of this, it is easier for him to convince us that sinning is simply a part of who we are and where we came from.
But Jesus says – I know who you are and what you have done. Go and sin no more. You don’t have to continue to walk in darkness if you follow me for I am the light of the world. If you will walk in my light, you will truly experience life. Jesus went on to explain you will also experience true freedom if you follow his teachings instead of remaining a slave to sin.
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” – John 8:31-32,34-36
FREEDOM – freedom from whom the world wants us to be, freedom from whom others define us to be, and freedom from our past mistakes and sins.
In anger, the people asked Jesus, “Who do you think you are?” They also asked him where his father was and then made the statement, “We are not illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father” (8:53,19,41). Oh yes, they knew what they were doing when they brought to Jesus a woman caught in adultery. What they didn’t know is who Jesus truly was and to whom he belonged.
When others try to define you by where you came from or try to condemn you with what is in your past, remember who you truly are – You are a child of God, forgiven and set free from sin. When the enemy tries to pull you back into a life of sin, remember who you truly are – you are no longer a slave to sin but a part of God’s family forever. You have been set free from the past, free from sin and you are a faithful follower of Jesus.