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Scribbling on the Ground - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
June 11, 2023 6:00 am

Scribbling on the Ground - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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June 11, 2023 6:00 am

Can you imagine what a surviving copy of Jesus' autograph would be worth today? Or what about a letter to His disciples? The fact is, there is no existing document or copy of anything Jesus ever wrote. We only have this story of Him scribbling something in transient dust on the Temple stones. Though John doesn't tell what Jesus wrote that day, his account does reveal a lot about Jesus Himself and how He interacted with three different kinds of folks.

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You see, a true believer, after coming to Christ, would never think to presume upon the grace of God. A true believer would never say, well, I'm going to go ahead and go through with this. I know it's wrong, I know it's sinful, but I can always repent afterwards.

Excuse me? Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. In the world of the Hunger Games, children are regularly recruited to compete in a lethal competitive event. When her younger sister is chosen to compete in these games, Katniss Everdeen, despite knowing it would most likely mean her death, steps forward and volunteers to take her sister's place. That's something that doesn't just typically happen. Well, today in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, Skip Heitzig looks at another event that just wasn't typical. And like the Hunger Games, life and death hung in the balance.

We'll get to our study here in just a moment. But first, let's find out more about this month's Connect with Skip resource offer. Men in America need to step up and take responsibility for raising the children they father. Boys growing up without male influence get involved more easily in drugs, crime and socially destructive behavior.

And they are likely to repeat the cycle of abandoning their children. Dads make a difference. That's the title of a critical issues package that is a must for men of any age or stage of life. As a father and a pastor, I'm deeply concerned for the families in our nation. It's clear that so many destructive trends are related to the lack of a dad's influence in the lives of their children. We need to educate men on what biblical manhood truly means.

The dads make a difference package includes seven of Skip Heitzig's most important messages to men, along with the full hour video documentary, Where's Dad, hosted by Skip. I think it's safe to say that the family is under attack today. I know that's a phrase that you have heard me say. In fact, I'll tell you the truth. I've said that sentence for 40 years and every year it's been true. And today it's truer than ever before.

It is worse than ever before. Get this package and either digital download or on CD and DVD when you support Connect with Skip with your gift of fifty dollars or more. You'll be joining us as we take Skip's Bible teaching into more major cities.

Request the dads make a difference package online at Connect with Skip dot com or by calling 1-800-922-1888. We'll continue today in John Chapter eight. So if you open your Bibles there, we'll join Skip Heitzig for the rest of this study. It was typical if you faced a problem or you had an impossible situation, you bring that situation to the rabbi and you ask the rabbi.

What should be done? So here's the situation all made up. She may have indeed been caught in adultery, but it's all a trap. And they come to Jesus and ask the rabbi about what to do. Now, the problem is there is a woman, it says, verse four, caught in adultery. The seventh commandment is you shall not commit adultery.

It was considered one of the three biggies to the Jewish people two thousand years ago. Idolatry, murder and adultery were the three biggies. In fact, it was such a heinous sin in God's eyes because it destroys the very fabric of the family that it's one sin in the Old Testament that they command capital punishment for. Two places, Leviticus 20 and Deuteronomy 22, capital punishment. There's no exact wording as to how it should be carried out, although there is a little part of Deuteronomy where it says if there's a gal engaged to a guy and she goes out and has an affair with somebody else, she should be stoned. But the Mishnah, the Jewish commentary, they practice something called death by strangulation.

When any adulterer was caught, they even wrote about how it was to be done. They would place that person in three feet of manure. Then they would put a soft cloth around the neck followed by a harsh cloth. The reason they wanted a soft cloth at the neck is this was supposed to be divine punishment. They didn't want to leave any human evidence that it was done that way.

Soft cloth, harsh cloth, rope tied around the neck, two people at each end and they would pull as hard as they could until the person died. It's actually written about in detail in the Mishnah. So picture the scene. Sun is rising. Jesus comes to the temple. People notice this Jesus gather all around him.

I imagine he had quite a crowd. And then suddenly there's a commotion. Angry clergymen drag this woman and shove her into the crowd and call her an adulteress. Can you imagine how humiliating and degrading that would be for her?

And then they pop the question. What do you say, Jesus? Moses commanded death.

What do you say? Now they have a problem. The problem they have is the Jews had not practiced capital punishment on adultery for a thousand years at this time. So sanctimonious. She ought to be killed.

Really? You haven't done it for a thousand years and now you want the death penalty? Moreover, the Romans occupy the land. They stripped the Jews of having the right to take anybody's life in capital punishment. Only the Romans could do it. One source even says that these Jewish rulers of the Sanhedrin were so involved in adultery that no one would dare bring this up. But they did. The other problem with this is they have a very one-sided misinterpretation of Leviticus chapter 20.

It says in Leviticus 20, if there is adultery, listen to the text, both the adulteress and the adulterer are to be put to death. So what's wrong with this picture? Where's the guy? We caught this woman in the very act.

You did? The very act? Well, it takes two to act. So where's the other guy? They just brought the woman.

That is so typical the case, unfortunately, in many parts of the world and even in history, the gal gets blamed and the guy goes scot-free. They brought the woman to Jesus. They believe that he is in an impossible situation on the horns of a dilemma. You might think, well, what's the big deal?

Just answer the question. Here's the big deal. If Jesus were to say, well, no, don't stone her, then the Pharisees would have said, aha, you're going against the law of Moses. You're going against the Bible.

You're giving adulteresses and adulterers a free ride. And that would have quickly turned the crowd against Jesus. If, on the other hand, Jesus were to say, yes, I agree with Moses and the Bible, stone her, that would have instantly ruined his reputation as being the friend of sinners, the compassionate Christ, the one who was merciful and forgave, the one who said, come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, I will give you rest. He might as well have said, come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I'll make sure you're stoned, if he would have said, stone her. Moreover, moreover, and here's really the crux of it, I believe those guys came and they had stones in their hands, and they're trying to fast-track this. They probably had stones in their hands, and they said, Moses commanded her to die.

What do you say? If he would have said, I agree, they would have pelted stones so fast, she would have died. The Romans would have come in and said, who did this? And they would have said, the rabbi told us to. So Jesus would be in trouble with the Roman government.

That's why they thought Jesus was on the horns of a dilemma. And notice in verse six what happens. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with his finger as though he did not hear. Question, what was he writing?

Answer, I don't know. Doesn't say, right? Doesn't say what he's writing.

But he's writing on the ground something as if he's not even listening to them. There may be a little hint as to what he wrote. I can't be sure, but I do know the word katagraphen is used for writing, katagraphen. It's two words combined.

Graphen or grafo is I write. Katagraphen is to write something against someone. And could be translated to write a record or an accusation against.

One manuscript even translates it that way. He wrote the sins of each one of them. So I don't know if he like knew who they were and just started writing their names. Like Shlomo, March 17th, and then wrote a girl's name afterwards and he would have thought I'd forgotten all about that, how did he know? Or Ehud, greed, or just sort of naming the people and something about them.

Can't be sure. I found though an interesting prophecy in Jeremiah chapter 17 verse 13, I'll read it to you. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord the fountain of living water. Okay so now why didn't Jesus just answer the question?

Jesus what do you say? And he goes hmm, didn't even answer the question, what's that all about? It's called a strategic pause. It's called making the moment your moment.

Waiting for the right time. They're chomping at the bit. In fact look at verse seven because he didn't answer them, he just ignored them. So when they continued asking him, it wasn't just a one time deal. They asked him, he didn't say anything, he just wrote on the ground and they said again so what is it? He just wrote on the ground. So what do you say?

So what's the verdict? And all of these incessant pleas to have her killed simply showed the crowd how hateful they were. Jesus just let that happen, let that mount, let that swell until the right moment. Now Jesus speaks and this is the heart of the story and this is what I want you to see. One single sentence and it decimated their argument, it devastated them. Now this shouldn't surprise us because when you're talking about Jesus Christ, you're talking about one powerful mouth, right? With one command, he can create the world. With one command, he will dissolve the world. So for him to argue a little thing with scribes and Pharisees, it's like whatever.

One sentence, I don't even need a paragraph and this is what he says. He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first. That is a devastating answer to their argument. It suddenly raises the issue from a legal issue to a spiritual issue.

He's not arguing about the Mosaic law, he's not arguing about the seventh commandment, he's not arguing about Roman versus Jewish justice. He is saying you lack the qualifications to be her judge and her executioner. There is one qualification that you need. If you want to do this, you have to be without sin. Anamartetos is the Greek word, without sin. And it means one who has not sinned, one who cannot sin. In fact, one scholar says it means one who has no desire to sin. As I see it, there's only one person qualified in that group to do that and to be that and who's that? Jesus.

All of them are disqualified. He who is anamartetos, throw the first stone at her. You don't even have the desire. Now, it could be, whatever he was writing, brought things to mind, maybe they had certain desires he knew about. Because that's where it all begins, does it not? Didn't Jesus say in the Sermon on the Mount, maybe they even remember it. You've heard that it was said by those of old, you shall not commit adultery.

But I say unto you, if you look at another woman and you lust after her in your heart, you have already committed adultery in your heart. It starts with a desire. Verse 8, Guinea stooped on the ground, stooped down and wrote, I just love this. He said what he said, then he just went back to writing, was scribbling, said one sentence, went back to scribbling. Why did he do that? He wanted what he just said to settle in and then he's gonna watch the reaction.

And here's the reaction. It's a deep conviction. Those who heard it being convicted, it's not embarrassment, it's true conviction, convicted by their conscience, went out one by one beginning with the oldest even to the last. Why the oldest first?

They had the most to remember. And Jesus was left alone and the woman standing in her midst. Jesus meek with people, masterful with hypocrites.

The best part of the story, the last two verses. He's merciful with sinners. When Jesus raised himself up and saw no one but the woman, he said to her, woman, where are those accusers of yours?

Has no one condemned you? She said, no one, Lord. And Jesus said to her, neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more. First notice that Jesus didn't talk to her until they were alone. He always deals one-on-one with people. It's not like you're in a big line and he would ever call your sin out and embarrass you.

Remember on that day when you did that? They're alone. He deals one-on-one. That's why we talk about a personal relationship with him.

This is a personal issue. Second notice what he calls her, woman. That's a term of respect. He called his mother woman at the marriage supper of Canaan. Now by calling her woman, it put a little bit of dignity back in her life. He didn't say, hey, harlot or adulterous. He said with respect, woman.

What a story. The only one qualified to throw stones had none in his hands and didn't throw any. He was without sin. Now you might be thinking, well, boy, Jesus is sure easy on sin. By the way, that's why some people think it was left out of some manuscripts. Some scribe, legalistic scribe might have thought, we better not put that in there.

People are going to read that and think, I can just do whatever I want. He was not at all easy on sin. He wasn't condoning her lifestyle. He didn't say, I don't condemn you, go. He did two things. He called it sin, first of all, right? He didn't call it a hang up or a disease or an alternate lifestyle or a mistake. He called it sin. It's an offense against God.

And he also gave her a command. He said, go and sin no more. Not go and sin as little as possible.

Go and stop the lifestyle that is marking you and that is this sin of adultery. Sin no more. Why would he say that? Because any encounter with Jesus Christ will involve transformation. You see, a true believer after coming to Christ would never think to presume upon the grace of God. A true believer would never say, well, I'm going to go ahead and go through with this. I know it's wrong. I know it's sinful. I can always repent afterwards.

Excuse me? Paul wrote in Romans 6, what shall we say then? Shall we sin that grace may abound? God forbid.

How shall we who die to sin live any longer in it? Now who hasn't wanted what this lady got? A second chance. A do-over. A new start. A clean slate. That's what Jesus gives.

In closing, there's just three little things I want you to take away. Number one, will you notice how sinners treat sinners? They treat them brutally. That's how sinners treat sinners brutally.

One group of sinners, Pharisees, religious sinners, are going to kill this woman. They treat them brutally, especially when we can smell or see our sin on somebody else. It looks so bad on them.

We don't see it on us, but on them, oh, it's horrible. It's like the guy driving through the woods. He ran over a skunk, but he didn't know it, and he goes, man, there must be a skunk in these woods.

What a horrible place to live. He drives 20 miles down the road. He still smells skunks, and he goes, there must be skunks everywhere in this state. There's one on your car, dude.

You're taking the smell with you wherever you go. And when a person realizes, I have been forgiven by Christ, he has forgiven my sin. I'm no better than this harlot. He forgave me. That takes you out of the stone throwing business really quick. Number two, notice how the law treats sinners. The law says, the soul that sins shall surely die. That's the standard, God's holy, righteous, perfect standard. That's the law, the law of Moses, the 10 commandments. The law sets the standard, but it can't cleanse the soul. But third, notice how Jesus treats sinners. Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more. I think of Romans chapter eight, verse one, there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Do you know why? Do you know how that can be?

In fact, let me just crystallize the question better. How is it possible that you can uphold the righteous holy standard of God and at the same time have sinners who have broken that law be forgiven? How can you have mercy and righteousness at the same time? Because righteousness and mercy meet in Christ on the cross. He was perfect.

He lived the perfect life. He died the substitutionary death. God put all of our muck and junk and sin on Christ and he took it away so that he can extend forgiveness. 2 Corinthians 5, 21, God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might be the righteousness of God in him. That in a nutshell is substitutionary atonement. That's how Christ treats sinners. She was caught.

She was brought. Jesus came to blot out her sins and everyone else's. I was reading this week about writing and signatures and I discovered that the most expensive piece of writing in existence today is the writing of William Shakespeare. In fact, if you maybe in your closet have an autograph of William Shakespeare, it's worth $5 million.

And I read about things that Lincoln had written and letters of different people and how valuable they were and I thought I would argue with them. I think the most valuable thing ever written was when Jesus wrote something in the dust of the temple stones that gave this woman a second chance. You know, it's nice that the gospel is one of second chances because if we're honest, we all know that's something all of us need. Well, you can have a second chance and you can have it because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And if you'd like to learn more about that and how you can enjoy a second chance in your life, just call us at 1-800-922-1888. That's just about all the time we have for today. But before we go, Skip and Lenya have a final thought about today's study. Today you touched on a really interesting, maybe even a controversial kind of topic when you spoke about hypocrites. And I think all of us have probably at one time or another played the hypocrite, or we've met people who say they don't go to church because that's where all the hypocrites are. And so what kind of response can we give as believers to these people? Well, when somebody says there's so many hypocrites in church, I would say, well, then you ought to come.

There's always room for one more. Because the fact is, we're all sinners. We've all blown it. We all fall short of the glory of God, to use a biblical term. But I think it's hypocritical to expect perfection in everybody else and not see that you have problems with yourself. So for somebody to say that, I won't go to a church because that's where the hypocrites are, infers that they themselves are beyond hypocrisy and they have attained perfection. That kind of is like the ultimate hypocrisy. I mean, how many people I know say they're vegetarians and wear leather belts and shoes? You could find hypocrites in all walks.

In all walks of life. In fact, remember when the bank scandal happened many, many years ago? Is that the reason to take all your money out of banks and put it under your bed? Because a few banking institutions have blown it and given the whole institution a bad name?

No. I think we overlook that as a society. And I think a thinking person, a reasonable person, would understand that we're on a spiritual journey. We've been forgiven. And the characteristicer says, Christians aren't perfect. They're just forgiven. Though I do see them on cars that like to speed a lot. I don't know why. So those are the hypocrite cars.

Those are the hypocrite cars. Well, thanks, Skip and Laniya. And if you want to keep up with Pastor Skip, there are a lot of ways for you to do so. But you'll find the central hub is at connectwithskip.com.

From there, you can connect to Skip's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. Next time, we'll continue in John, Chapter 8, as Jesus makes a very important proclamation. We'll be right here in Connect with Skip, Weekend Edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross. Cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection, a connection, a connection. Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-11 04:29:41 / 2023-06-11 04:39:12 / 10

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