Grace For Me Part 1

It was a very turbulent time in the ministry of Jesus. Controversy filled the air as to who this Rabbi from Galilee might be. Many were being drawn to Christ and starting to believe that He might be the long awaited for Messiah, while the Scribes and the Pharisees insisted that He was a demon-possessed deceiver.  The chief priests and the Pharisees even tried to have Jesus arrested. When the officers that they sent to arrest Him didn’t come back with Him bound they told them, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” The religious leaders just didn’t know what to do with Jesus. Many times they tried to trap Him in something He said and every time they failed. They were frustrated with trying to stop Jesus!

In order to get away from the noise and controversy and be alone in prayer with His Father, Jesus leaves the temple and goes to the Mount of Olives. This had become His favorite spot to be alone with His Father. And friends, I just want to say that sometimes you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and go somewhere to be alone with Jesus. You and I need quality alone time with Jesus to recharge our souls. Jesus modeled it in His life and if Jesus needed it, then surely you and I need it too. So Jesus spends alone time with His Father and then early in the morning He comes back to the temple, sits down and begins to teach. Unlike me, right now, Jesus actually sits down to teach the people as a more people began to crowd around to listen to the Rabbi. Just imagine that you are at a worship service where Jesus is the Guest Speaker. You listen with rapt attention as each word of grace falls from Jesus’ lips. Then all of a sudden you hear a commotion in the back of the church. Jesus is cut off in mid sentence as angry church leaders interrupt His sermon. And then you see her, a half naked woman who was just caught having illicit sex with another church member (who happens to conveniently be missing) is throw down to the cold floor by the alter, at the feet of Jesus. She can feel the looks of disgust and condemnation coming from the crowd. An elder steps forward and says hypocritically, 

“Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”
— John 8:4-5 NKJV

As you sit there and watch this scene unfold, you say to your self, “What does Jesus say in a situation like this?” She is guilt isn’t she? Caught in the very act! How does Jesus treat sinners? 

Thinking that they were securing her demise and the condemnation of Jesus, they didn’t realize that they brought this woman to the very place that she needed to be… at the feet of Jesus! Friends when you sin, God is not the one you should be running from, but He is the One you should be running to!

When you’ve sinned the best place to be is at the feet of Jesus

It is there that you will find pardon! It is there that you’ll find forgiveness! It is there that you’ll find grace! Speaking of grace, I have discovered that the Lord has given me a very gracious wife.  Especially when I am driving. You see I tend to have a very heavy foot when I drive. For some reason, I’ll start speeding and not even realize it. Well, I’m not going to say that she is a better driver. We just drive differently. Let’s just say she is a safer driver. In the beginning of our relationship, if messed up while driving, she’d give me a mouth full. Lately, she just sits quietly. She already knows I’m feeling bad. Trust me, that’s grace. There was another time in Atlanta; an officer pulled me over for speeding. I didn’t try to argue with him. I knew I was speeding. I began to reach for the glove compartment anticipating that he would give me a ticket. All he did was warn me to slow down. Friends, that is grace! You should have seen me driving 35 mph in a 45 mph zone after that. 

    Yet this doesn’t compare to what the woman caught in the act of adultery felt like. Can you see her there trembling, awaiting her punishment? Normally I would read this passage and be disgusted at the hypocritical Pharisees. You can easily see that they set this woman up to trap Jesus. Ellen says, in Desire of Ages, 

“With all their professions of reverence for the law, these rabbis, in bringing the charge against the woman, were disregarding its provisions. It was the husband's duty to take action against her, and the guilty parties were to be punished equally. The action of the accusers was wholly unauthorized.”

Where was the man she slept with? How did the religious leaders know where to find her when the act occurred? Then as I studied this chapter, I began to see this part of the story in a whole new way. The Pharisees just brought a sinner to Jesus! You remember the story of the Paralytic in Mark 2:1-12 whose four friends brought him to Jesus. His sins were forgiven and he was healed. This is what happens to sinners at Jesus’ feet. In Luke 15:1-2, the best accusation the Pharisees and Scribes could give Him was, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” The very mission of Christ is to seek and to save that which is lost! 

Now I am not saying that you have to. But the likelihood that some of you may sin again before Jesus comes is pretty high. In those moments, when you feel lost, ashamed, dirty, self condemned; remember how Jesus treats sinners. Don’t run from Him…run to Him! Remember, “This Man receives sinners!”