Jesus sits, stands and bends

Thoughts on John 8:1-11

I have always loved this incident in your life, Lord, it shows have compassionate, brave and wise you are.

You were minding your own business sitting among the people and teaching them. First of all you were not standing over or aloof from the people, but sitting with them; saying with your posture, I want to be your rabbi.

Then the religious crew stormed in with a plan to trap you, bringing into the crowd a woman, literally caught in the act of adultery. Oh my gosh, how awful, the poor woman! Did she stand there with only a sheet wrapped about her? Shamed and fearful? She was an object to the Pharisees, they cared not about her, only how she could be used to accomplish their goal – get Jesus into trouble. Standing you receive them.

This is where you shine, Jesus. You bent down. All eyes in the crowd watched you; bending and writing something in the dust drew the attention off of the poor woman and onto you. In bending you covered her shame.

Standing you offered wisdom. It was true, according to the law of Moses, such an act’s punishment was death; but in wisdom you said “Examine your own heart first, can you honestly say that you have done nothing that is deserving of death according to the law of Moses? If you can find no charge to bring against yourself, then go ahead, cast away.”

“And once more you bent down.” What a risk you took. One person throwing a stone would have generated a stone throwing frenzy. Mob mentality would have taken over the group and you and the woman would be dead. Yet you remained near her. You kept writing something in the dust, maybe words you wanted her to know. How brave you are; how strong your desire to communicate to the world how willing you are to suffer with us. Thank you Jesus.

The crowd melted away, beginning with the eldest, and left you and the woman alone. Perhaps, in her shame, she had kept her head lowered, eyes downcast. Remaining bent you looked up at her, and addressed her directly, “Where are your accusers?” How humble and compassionate you are Jesus. It is only from this position, with your body lowered beneath her that you could have contact with her downcast face and hold her gaze; she looking down and you looking up. With her eyes held by yours, you speak the words of freedom.

Thank you Jesus, you sit with me and teach me; you stand before me offering the chance to understand myself and act with wisdom; you bend before me, keeping near and eliminating my place of shame. I am not condemned. I can go and sin no more. Amen.

God, the bully











Ok, so there’s the true God we love and honor and then there’s the false god, the invisible, yet powerful god that lives in our gut and often dictates our lives.  There is quite a gap and a vast difference between these two G(g)ods. Our allegiance is given to either one or the other: the true God who has earned our love and given us the freedom to obey or the bullying gut god who demands our obedience, falsely promising that we can earn love and acceptance.

Identifying our gut god is essential; doing so illuminates the conflict we face as we pursue a life of discipleship. Maybe you’ve realized your gut god is cruel, or demanding, or unsatisfiable. If so you must ask yourself, “Why in the world would I want to be close to such a god? Why should I trust such an unpredictable god? Do I even like this god? And yet, I’m supposed to love and obey…” Naming our gut god, seeing it for the lie it is, explains the reasons we are not as close to God as our true self desires.

Family history, painful experiences, traumatic events and cultural dictates (even teaching we received in church) has formed this god of ours. We have fashioned a god based on what our history and our culture has taught us god “must be like.” The problem with this is our history is imperfect and our culture is tainted with evil, therefore, our ideas about God are imperfect and tainted. God’s image has been distorted.

We need to let God answer for God’s self about who God is….and he has, he sent Jesus, the fulfillment of the law and the prophets.

  • Is your god distant and aloof? Meet Jesus, who used his own saliva to heal the blind man.
  • Is your god ready to abandon you when you disappoint him? Meet the father Jesus describes who gives all he has to his prodigal son and eagerly awaits his return.
  • Is your god punishing? Meet Jesus, who stayed near the woman caught in adultery when the crowd threatened her with judgment and stoning.

Jesus said, if you want to know what God is like…look at me. We’ve exchanged the truth about God for a lie, we have worshipped the creature we created rather than the Creator. This, my friends, leads to a slow, agonizing death.

Next post we’ll talk about how to return to the truth.

With you on the journey,