Welcome to Becomning Closer! 

Communion Meditations (2020)

 

Adultery

John 8:1-11

Originally scheduled for April 5

If you have a Bible with extensive footnotes, you will probably see that this passage is noted as not being in the earliest manuscripts. The reason is rather simple. In the early days of the church it was felt that this story might tell people that Christianity approved of adultery. As strange as it sounds to modern ears, righteous people of that time, both Christian and non-Christian, knew that adultery was a sin. Even today there are those of us who think that it is a sin, and a most serious one. The early church fathers kept it out so that no one would be mistaken about this. However, the story is universally taken as one which displays Christ authentically.

To understand this story well we may ask some questions. First, just who is it that has the right to accuse someone else — in this case, of adultery? I submit there are three primary qualifications to being an accuser.

·         First, you must in some way be connected with the person who is offended. The Pharisees in this instance have at least a theoretical appeal by her husband.

·         Next, you must be someone with clean hands. That’s why in our criminal justice system we assign people named “district attorney” to do the accusing. They represent the public, but they were not involved in the actual crime itself in any way.

·         Finally, you must be someone whose facts are not clouded by a hidden motive. The Pharisees here want to trap Jesus much more than they want to punish adultery.

It should be fairly clear that Christ is quite well-qualified to be an accuser; often enough, we are not. The second question might be, how is it that we acquired the attitude that Christ had in this instance? He did not deny that adultery is a sin, but gave the sinner of the mercy of God. I do you get to be a person like that?

·         You might take a look at verse one and see where Christ spent the night before — in prayer, on the Mount of Olives. The closer you are to God, the more you will take his point of view as to what should be done.

·         See also his patience! He does not immediately denounce the Pharisees; whatever he was writing on the ground convicted them and they left one by one. Patience is not buffaloed by hurried agitation.

·         As always, the courage to do the right thing is obvious. Here Christ exemplifies for us the saying that courage is the foundation of all virtue.

The scene sets before us something which is similar to communion. If you will please note the sinner does not pay for the sin — just as Christ paid for our sins on the cross. There is no sense of mystical separation from the world here either. She is commanded to “go.” In other words, she is sent back to the community she lives in. She is sent back with a command, however. She is told to “sin no more.” That’s us at communion. It’s not an entryway to a monastery; after we partake, we go back to our normal lives. But we are sent back with the command, “sin no more.” I submit this involves these three things.

·         It obviously involves our repentance of our sins.

·         To the extent that it is possible, it also obligates us to reconcile with our fellow Christians.

·         It gives us the chance to renew our relationship with God. We go from one hiding from the light to one basking in it.

Remember that the elements of communion remind you of his body and his blood, that you might be saved. The lady in this little story is an example of how God wants to deal with you.

Previous     Home     Next