On Throwing Stones

John 8:7-11 WEB

But when they continued asking him, he looked up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her.” [8] Again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground. [9] They, when they heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning from the oldest, even to the last. Jesus was left alone with the woman where she was, in the middle. [10] Jesus, standing up, saw her and said, “Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?” [11] She said, “No one, Lord.” Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more.”

Jesus explained the Old Testament and the New Testament in one act. He found a way of escape for this woman who was about to be stoned. He said those with no sin should throw their stones. Yet, in the entire crowd, not one stood up and claimed to be qualified to throw stones.

Jesus could have thrown a stone. He did not. In fact, he didn’t even look at her for most of the exchange. Instead, he was stooped down with his head to the ground drawing in the sand. He deliberately took a posture of humility when he stooped to the ground. Likewise, when he stood, he made the woman equal to himself. She was not abased further by Jesus. She was given mercy and grace and then told not to sin.

Jesus gives this ravished soul what it needs, validation. Jesus stood up and made himself equal to the woman. Now, she could hold her head up, for Jesus was talking to her.  He was not talking about her or down to her. No, he was talking to her with respect and courtesy. He validated her worth by treating her decently.

And at the very end. Not the beginning, not the middle, the end, Jesus tells her to stop sinning. I feel quite certain that is what she did. Jesus develops a relationship with her and then boldly tells her to stop sinning.

Lord Jesus, please help me grow in courtesy and kindness so that I may win some for you. Help me grow in courtesy so that my relationships will be blessed. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Cost of Worship

John 2:13-15 WEB

The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. [14] He found in the temple those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting. [15] He made a whip of cords, and threw all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew their tables.

What is the cost of worship in the House of God? Is it the tithes and offerings? No, those are ordinances. Is it subjection to human authority? Is it having merchandise regularly presented by guest speakers? For Jesus, the cost of worship included going to Jerusalem at the appointed times. The text scripture above says Jesus went to Jerusalem because it was an appointed time. He honored the ordinances of Judaism. However, he did not honor the human authority over the temple. And He clearly did not like merchandising in the temple. So, I ask again, what is the cost of worshipping in the House of God? If that cost includes dishonoring God, then the price is too high. If that cost includes constant bombardment of merchandise, again I would say, the price is too high. It makes sense to offer God’s people material to advance their faith. But it does not make sense to sell merchandise in the House of the Lord. This behavior comes with a scourging by the Lord. The Lord is zealous for the temple according to scripture. It seems many churches would do well to keep that fixed in their minds.

Lord Jesus, please forgive me for participating in merchandising in your house. Heal my compromise and set my feet more completely on the narrow path of obedience to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.


John 1:26-28 WEB

John answered them, “I baptize in water, but among you stands one whom you don’t know. [27] He is the one who comes after me, who is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I’m not worthy to loosen.” [28] These things were done in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

If Jesus walked into your church would you recognize Him? We all miss numerous opportunities to encounter the Lord especially through the poor and needy. The Word says, “The King will answer them, ‘Most certainly I tell you because you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Mt 25:40 WEB)

My husband was needy for several years. He is a severe alcoholic and for 10 years he was in the habit of drinking daily. He was homeless due to his alcoholism. Worse, by the end, he was drinking a gallon and a half of vodka a day. He finally stopped after he nearly died. When my husband woke up in the hospital, he cried out to the Lord.

My husband drank to forget. He drank to numb the pain of severe childhood trauma. Because he was raped by family members through his childhood, he struggled with his bowels. So for about 3 years, you could find him running about filthy or passed out drunk. He frequently smelled like vomit and feces. He wasn’t very popular with the residents that had to deal with him in their neighborhood.

He wasn’t very popular with the churches either. In fact, one church caused him to lose everything he owned. My husband went to church seeking help to move from an apartment he had at the time. It was a Sunday and the ministers told him if he would attend church they would help him. So he stayed for the service. Then, after the service, they offered him a referral to another agency. He left hungry and angry. It was too late to get help from another church, so now He was out of options. He was hurt. He could not believe they told him to stay with the promise of help and then referred him to an agency that wasn’t even open.

He was Jesus to that church at that moment. And like so many, they missed their visitation.

Lord Jesus, help me see you in the people around me. Your Word teaches me to care for the poor. Lord, please help me love the poor and all people equally. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.