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“Then those who heard it……went out one by one. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”  John 8:9

The forgiving of the woman caught in adultery; there are so many rich lessons to be learned by this act.  Of course there is Jesus’ love and mercy as well as his rebuke of the those who want to hastily judge others and not look to themselves.  Let us not forget the meekness that Jesus showed throughout the encounter.

And while it is wise to focus on Jesus in this encounter, I find that there might be some value in looking to the reaction of the crowd and even that of the woman when they are faced with the power of the Son of God.  For make no mistake, Jesus might have seemed meek, he might have quietly bent down and wrote in the sand; nonetheless His power was very much on display.  You see that woman, guilty or not was not going to die that day.  Some other day they might have surrounded her with her back against a wall and let loose their granite projectiles of ignorance and hate.  But if that was their plan, they made the mistake of bringing her to Jesus.  More probably they hoped to have two stonings.  First the woman and then, hopefully, Jesus himself due to some blasphemy or gross breach of the law.  But fortunately for the woman, they had no grasp of the Power of this Man from Galilee.

For the very moment they rounded the corner and thrust the woman into Jesus presence, she was safe, she was forgiven, she had met her salvation.  Regardless of the sheer number of the crowd, the vehemence of their anger or self-righteousness of their argument, Jesus was going to prevail.  God was in that courtyard and man had no chance of victory.

So how did Jesus show that great power?  Did He call a league of angels to come and kill all in the crowd?  Did He command lightning to come down and destroy all, except the woman, where they stood?  No, Jesus knew better than that.  He knew what button to push.  He knew that He could convict them in their own actions.  Since each had a conscience, Jesus spoke straight to it:  “Cast the stone in your hand if you’re free of sin.”  The stones dropped to the ground like rain.

Their reaction now is what get’s really interesting.  They were so certain of course.  The law was clear.  The law was on their side.  With the righteousness of justice, a woman would die and messiah pretender would be unmasked.  Power was on their side.  15 words, no long oratory, no long defense, no long reading or preaching from the Torah; 15 words and their faces contorted with confusion and their fingers relinquished their grip.  And now comes the truly sad part; they turn away.  They just had the most amazing experience of personally witnessing the power of the Son of God.  They just had a personal encounter with the only true Son of Man.  They could have stayed.  They could have bowed down.  They could have pleaded to hear more.  They could have fallen on their knees and worshiped.  Instead the slowly turned their back on their Savior, The One True Light, and purposely returned to utter darkness.

The self-righteous were lost.  What about the sinner?  What about the woman caught in the very act?  As soon as she saw the perplexed looks on their faces, as soon as the stones began to fall from their hands, she could have booked out of there.  Who would have blamed her?  “I’m not staying around to let them change their minds!”; she might have thought to herself.  However, she didn’t.  Why?  She was feeling the power of Jesus too.  She had never met this man before but she knew that He was different.  Even if she had run, she knew that there was nowhere she could flee that would He would not be able to find her.  She knew, Jesus had the power.  She knew Jesus could still condemn.  She stayed.  He loved.  He forgave.  She, the only acknowledged sinner, received the Light, received salvation.

Sisters and brothers in Christ, we may find ourselves standing in front of Jesus Christ.  Hopefully not, but we may be playing the role of the self-righteous judge declaring something unfair or someone due punishment.  Jesus may stop for moment just to let us think about what we are doing and then gently but firmly rebuke us.  He may push the button of our conscience revealing to us the sinfulness of our ways.  What then?  Are we to turn from Him?  Are we to walk away simply because we did not get our evil way?  Will we run back to the darkness from whence we came, fleeing the Light of Life?  I pray that we would not!

What if we are the sinner (and of course we are).  At the first sign of forgiveness, will we run away hardly thankful for our reprieve and all to ready to jump right back into our sinful ways?  Or will we stay.  Will we be awestruck by the mercy and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Will we filled compelled to drop to our knees in His presence and repent of our sins and praise His most Holy Name, giving thanks to God above.  I pray that we would.

Jesus Christ, has in the past, does now and will continue into the future to display the Power of His Love.  The question for us is; how do we respond?  Do we turn toward Him?  Or do we turn away?

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father we thank you for Your Perfect Plan of Salvation that brought Your Son Jesus Christ down to live among us on this earth.  Praise be to Jesus Christ that He displays His awesome Power by way of Love and Mercy versus the judgement and punishment we deserve.  Empower us through The Holy Spirit that when we experience the Power of Jesus Christ that we will not turn away from Him, but come to Him, humbly, lovingly singing praises to His and Your Holy Name.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

“But He said to them: ‘You give them something to eat”.  Luke 9:13

“Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you,  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk  Acts 3:6

It is possible that if you have clicked on a link, it is bringing you to this specific post.  If so, you see “Part 2” in the title and if you go back to the home page you can scroll down and read “Part 1”.  However, the themes are connected but you don’t have to read that post first.  Part 1 (like this one) uses the feeding of the 5000 to show how Jesus can use what the world would say is the most meager of resources to bring us to complete satisfaction.  Starting with five loaves and two small fish, Jesus fed 5000 with each eating enough to be completely satisfied.

Now on to Part 2.  In this world we will see need.  And, in this world, we will, sometimes, on our own want to meet the need, as well as sometimes, we will be asked by others to meet the need.  The disciples saw a need.  They saw five thousand people.  These are people who had followed Jesus a significant way into the wilderness.  They had spent most of the day listening to Jesus.  The disciples were concerned that if Jesus did not send them away soon, back to the local villages to get something to eat, some would pass out along the way from hunger.  Being compassionate men, they did not want to see that happen.

But what to do?  The next sequence of events runs the gamete of human solutions.  First, leave it up to them to solve.  That is, the people got themselves into their fix, it’s up to them to get out of it.  They need to get up and go find food.  It is the disciples responsibility to point out the need and get them on their way (strike one).  Jesus also understands that there is a need.  However, Jesus will not allow the people to be sent away hungry.  Jesus looks to His disciples and states matter of factly:  “You feed them”.

But what to do? Okay, Jesus will not allow us to send them away hungry; the disciples ponder.  So they do the next humanly natural thing, they start to take stock of their resources.  What is the first resource we humans tend to turn to when it comes to meeting needs?  Money.  One of disciples makes a quick calculation of the cost and he asks incredulously about buying 200 denarii  worth of bread.  And oh by the way, that would have been equivalent of $14,500 dollars.  There is no indication that the disciples had that sum of money available even if there would have been some place to make that sizable purchase. So money was not going to work (strike two).

But what to do?  Okay, we can’t send them away and we don’t have enough money to buy the bread we need.  Finally, we tend to look at what are the resources that we can bring to bear.  It doesn’t appear that the disciples had any food with them to share.  But looking around, they find a young boy who has some food.  Let’s see five loaves of bread and two small fish.  One can imagine the scowls on the faces of the disciples at this meager amount.  There is no possible way that their resources on hand can meet the need identified.  And possibly if they tried, they might end up with a riot on their hands as the paltry amount runs out with the first few people. (strike three).  The disciples have run through all their earthly options and have struck out.  There is no way to come close to meeting the need let alone satisfying the need.  They have run out of options.  They can’t see where to turn.

We might be tempted to shake our heads a little and say: tisk tisk you poor disciples, do you not know who you are sitting with?  I know for me, if I become tempted to look down upon them, I better be ready to see my own face in that crowd.  Thus, we have to ask ourselves, how often do we meet challenges by first and sometimes only looking at what we can do within the realm of worldly resources?   How often have we felt a spiritual leading to do something only to be stymied or stopped by our own calculations of inadequacy or failure?  Not only have I experienced this in my personal life but have also experienced in churches I have been a part of.  I have heard reasons for inaction including:  “We don’t have enough people.  We don’t have enough money.  We can’t afford……People won’t understand…..People will leave the church”, just to mention a few.  So in my personal life; I don’t.  The churches I’ve seen; don’t try.  The need remains.

Enter Jesus Christ.  With His disciples, He knew what was going to happen, what the solution was going to be.  He could have just started out that way but He had a better plan.  Let the disciples grapple with and experience the utter futility in trying to meet the crowd’s need with their own devices, their own wisdom.  Then and truly only then, could they truly experience the power, the true capability of Jesus Christ.  When later, Jesus would tell them, greater things than these will you do because you are in me; they would have confidence.  And that confidence would not be in themselves alone, but in themselves through Jesus Christ.  The confidence that Peter would use to heal a paralytic beggar at a gate of Jerusalem.

So today, we see needs.  Today we find ourselves, sometimes desperately trying to meet needs.  Today we may find ourselves being asked by others to meet some need.  We must fight the temptation (and I use that word purposely) to turn to our own resources, devices, wisdom to satisfy those needs.  Even if we think we’re successful on our own (which is probably not the case) we will be tempted to give ourselves the credit.  Our ability to truly satisfy others’ needs requires us to first turn to Jesus Christ.  It is only by turning to Christ that we can truly be confident that there is no need too great, no resource provided to me too small,  that He can’t use them and me to meet those needs.  May it be that my first words are: “Jesus I need you……..”

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, the sin is not that we have needs but how often we use only the world to try and meet them.  We find ourselves tempted to be frustrated or prideful depending on the earthly outcome.  Pour out Your Spirit on us that we would always turn first to You, knowing that You already have the solution in hand.  Give to us also the strength to withstand the temptation to take credit for the successes instead of praising Your Most Holy Name.  That we might do the great things You have intended for us.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

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