John 8:1-11

Read: John 8:1-11

This is a classic story from the Scriptures, and often used as a proof text that Christians shouldn’t judge. The woman that the Pharisees brought to Jesus was caught in adultery. The law specified that a woman caught in adultery was to be stoned (Leviticus 20:10, Deuteronomy 22:22). They brought the woman to her to see if they could trick Jesus into saying something so they could arrest him. They brought the woman, but it raises the question as to where the man that was caught with her was. The text does not indicate this, but they may have fabricated the story just to frame Jesus. Jesus was teaching at the time. He was writing on the ground, but the text does not say about what. He looked at the Pharisees, and says that the one without sin should case the first stone and went back to writing. The Pharisees each go away because they knew that they were with sin – perhaps even so because they had no real proof that the woman was actually guilty. Jesus looks up at her and sees that the Pharisees are gone. He tells her to go, and not sin anymore.

Some might interpret this as judging others. Judgment, on the other hand requires a conviction of sin and an execution of the penalty of sin. For one to judge, one would have to have both the authority to convict sin and the authority to carry that conviction out. Jesus certainly had the authority to do this, as he is God and God is the one who judges the world (1 Chronicles 16:14). Eventually, Jesus will judge the world (Revelation 20:11-15), but that was not his mission when he came to earth (John 3:17). What Jesus did was simply speak truth into the lives of Pharisees about being with sin and it convicts them of their sin. The conviction was self-conviction. John in his first epistle says that the one who claims to have no sin deceives himself and the truth is not in that person (1 John 1:8). If one says he is without sin, he makes a liar out of Jesus (1 John 1:10). Paul asserts that all have sin (Romans 3:23).  The truth that one is with sin should be enough for one to feel self-convicted and realize that the one is also under judgment.

Galatians 6:1-4 outlines how Christians should behave in reference to sin:

  • Those who are spiritual should restore in gentleness those who are in error. This implies that they should speak truth into the one in error’s life.
  • Those who do the restoring should not be tempted in the same manner.
  • Bear the burden together – that is help one another out in times of weakness. This is one way to fulfill the law of Christ which is to love one another he loved them. (John 15:12)
  • Do not be deceived into thinking one is something when he is not. All are sinners, so one should not deceive oneself into thinking he or she is not and become judgmental in doing so.
  • Each should examine himself and not compare himself to others. One should boast will in himself alone rather than comparing himself to others.

While is is true that Christians are in no place to judge as Jesus has the authority to do, Christians should not be afraid to correct another, but they should also be mindful of one’s their own state. This way, it benefits everyone such that they realize that they all realize they need Jesus’ grace.

Lord, help me to speak truth and let truth be spoken to me!

John 2:13-25: Cleansing the Temple

Read: John 2:13-25

Jesus’ cleansing of the temple is one of the few stories that is recorded by all four of the gospels (Mark 11:15-18, Matthew 21:12-16, Luke 19:45-46). The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) record the even occurring during the week before Jesus went to the cross, but, John records it early in his gospel. Some think that Jesus may have cleared the temple twice: once early in his ministry and once late in his ministry. The order of events in the synoptic gospels is known, but John does not give any indication as to when the event occurred. One would have to assume that John is writing about the events in chronological order in his gospel to affirm that it happened between the wedding fest and before his conversation with Nicodemus. At the same time, because it does not say, it is also possible that John was not written in chronological order, and this event is indeed the same one in the synoptic gospels, which is probably the case. In either case, there is no reason to think that John got the facts about the event wrong because he recorded them early in the gospel.

Apparently, there was a bazaar-like atmosphere at the temple in which vendors were profiteering off of temple worship by setting up booths to sell sacrificial animals for temple worship. Jesus, who was obedient to the law, went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover as many religious men would do. While he was going to the temple, he drove out the money changers and vendors. Jesus alludes to Jeremiah 7:11 (John 2:16), which is centered in the middle of a chapter about God’s wrath. Jesus calls the temple a house of prayer for all nations in Mark 11:15. It is probably the case that they had set up shop in the court of the Gentiles. Gentiles were allowed to worship here, but were not allowed to enter the temple as a Jewish man would be able to do. The disciples recall a verse from the Psalm 69:9 that talk about “zeal for your house” that had overcome the psalmist. The psalmist is overcome with grief because of sin and apparently has zealously gone to the temple to seek repentance. Jesus never sinned, but it is likely that he felt the weight of the sins of the worshippers calling out to God, and sought to restore this sanctity of the temple.

The Jews came to Jesus looking for a sign of authority to vindicate Jesus’ actions. Jesus answers them with a reference to his own temple – his body – but clearly the Jews did not understand this. Jesus was saying the sign would be manifested in his death, burial, and resurrection. The construction of the temple of Jesus day had taken some decades to complete, and was not completely finished until 64 A.D. and was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. The disciples remembered what Jesus said here, and it became clear to them after the resurrection. Jesus had opened their minds to the Scripture in (Luke 24:27) so that they could understand this.

Some people did believe in Jesus as a result of the signs that he was performing. What’s interesting here is that Jesus did not go with them, but instead withdrew. While the people believe, Jesus in his omniscience knew the content of their hearts and didn’t need anyone to tell him about man, probably because these believers were fickle.

People here believed in Jesus – and this is a good thing – but what happens after belief can be detrimental. The Bible calls one’s body a temple (1 Corinthians 6:18-20) and commands us to flee immorality. Jesus is just as zealous, if not more so, for the sanctity of the temple of the Holy Spirit as he was for the temple in Jerusalem, and he too cleanses the filth therein. We can be lured into things that seemingly promote the worship of God but actually inhibit it. As Christians, we should come humbly to him in faith that is not fickle, asking for repentance so that he can cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Lord, I believe, but help me to not be fickle in my faith.

Cleanse my temple and make me strong so I can be an instrument to lead others to you.

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