Bible Study series No.14 from the Gospel of John "The Reason Why Christ Was Born"
December 25th was Christmas, the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. How did you spend your time?
The story I am going to talk about today is well known. It is not difficult to understand, so you can easily imagine the scene.
The scribes and Pharisees caught a woman in the act of adultery and went to great lengths to bring her to Jesus to make him look bad.
First of all, it is important to note that the consequence of sin was different from what we know today.
According to Jewish law, the sin of adultery was equivalent to that of murder and idolatry. Leviticus 20 and Deuteronomy 22 in the Old Testament stipulate the death penalty for the sin of adultery. The death penalty was by stoning.
In comparison today, the tendency is to think of adultery as simply the unfaithfulness of a married person. Many scandals, especially in the entertainment industry, are subjects of gossip rather than an abomination.
This difference makes it difficult for many to understand why committing adultery is treated severely in the Bible.
First of all, let us clarify that there are two forms of sin - outward and inward. Outward sin is called crime, which has legal consequences. On the other hand, inward sin is non-provoking and found in our thoughts in the form of anger, envy, and greed. Crimes are manifestations of inward sins. In the Bible, they are called the original sins. In Jesus' time, violating the Law of Moses meant crime.
Next, let us remind ourselves of the people with whom Jesus interacted. They were the sick, tax collectors, people with disabilities, the poor, and people with sexual ethics like the Samaritan woman. Jesus was a true friend to those considered at the bottom of society.
On the other hand, the scribes and Pharisees of that time were people who proudly said, "I have kept the Law perfectly. I am right!" I think we also find ourselves in such a mindset.
We may not say it out loud, but it is certainly a thought that has gone through our minds. It is not healthy for our minds.
In verse 11, Jesus said, "Neither will I punish you. You are free to go. From now on, do not sin anymore," he told the woman. The Jewish scribes and Pharisees who were accusing her were not there. Jesus said in verse 7, "He who is without sin among you, let him first throw a stone at her," and they left without being able to throw a stone.
The scribes and Pharisees were forcing Jesus to choose between following the Law of Moses and letting them kill this woman, or disobeying the law and saving her. Either choice was a set-up that would put Jesus in a bind.
If Jesus took the law-abiding stance, he would deny the way he had lived his life and be executed as a traitor to the people. If he violated the law and forgave her, as he had done when he broke the Sabbath, he would be at their mercy, and they could execute him immediately in court. But their plan had failed.
The point is not to describe Jesus' wise way of dealing with the situation. What I want to focus on is the reason why Jesus came into the world.
After receiving Jesus' words of forgiveness, the woman was saved. She must have been very grateful. However, she probably did not understand the true meaning of forgiveness at that time. She probably had no idea that Jesus would be crucified as a sinner.
The wage of sin is death. Therefore, I believe that it was only after Christ's death that she realized that he had died on behalf of her sins.
What about us? Do you accept that we also need forgiveness from God?
Furthermore, do you also accept that forgiveness of our sins was planned long before the birth of Christ, who was born in a manger, shed His blood on the cross, resurrected, and lives and works with us today, loving us and never abandoning us forever?
Christmas is not just Happy Birthday to Jesus.
Let us be thankful for the Lord who was born for us. Look forward to the coming new year, and no matter what challenges we face, let us trust in His guidance, and go forward!