John 8 opens with the powerful story of a woman brought to Jesus in the temple accused of unfaithfulness. A few truths stick out in the John’s telling of this story: 1. Jesus wrote on the dirty floor of the temple, a physical demonstration of a practical truth, church work can get dirty sometimes. 2. Jesus established who gets to throw stones at church, anybody who is sinless. 3. Jesus established the norm, there was no condemnation in His House.
As we consider the beautiful truth of redemption, I’d remind us we all need the Redeemer!
Isaiah said it this way “this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:” Isaiah 29:13
Israel’s history in the Old Testament repeats this circle – Following God, Rebellion, Captivity/Bondage, Crying Out, and Deliverance. Over and over, they experienced Jesus, the Redeemer!
This pattern continues in the first century apostolic church as indicated by John’s writing in Revelation 2 & 3. These same characteristics of the beginning of the Church Age still exist today:
- At Ephesus, they had forgotten their first love (2:4);
- In Smyrna, the crowd of hypocrites who claimed to be believers but were actually of the synagogue of satan (2:9);
- Pergamos, there were those who held to the false doctrine of Balaam, a belief in the acceptability of compromised purity (2:14);
- The church of Thyatira, tolerated the false prophetess Jezebel, who led innocent followers, servants of God to compromised purity (2:20);
- Sardis had a name that declared life but they were dead (3:1);
- Philadelphia had little strength, and was also plagued with people who claimed to be believers but were liars (3:8,9);
- The lukewarm at Laodicea were warned that they would be spewed out of the mouth of God (3:16).
We must recognize our immediate, personal need of a Redeemer. The truth reveals we are all sinners in need of a Savior, slaves bound in a dead man’s body, our only hope of escape is through Christ. We need Jesus, the Redeemer!!
Ruth in scripture tells the beautiful story of a Redeemer. Here was a lady who was disadvantaged by birth; born into a despised minority’s that had descended from Lot and the illegitimate child with his daughter. Then married into a family that tragically saw her father-in-law and brother-in-law pass away and leave three ladies without a provider. Naomi, her mother-in-law, decided she should return to her native land and encouraged both daughters-in-law to remain in their home country. Ruth returned with her mother-in-law to Bethlehem and humbled herself to gather remnants with the poor in the fields of the wealthy. No doubt in the pecking order of the poor who gathered what they could, Ruth heard whispers and comments that ridiculed her or reminded her of these facts of her life. She refused to be caught up in that and continued to serve with joy. You may well know the rest of the story; how Boaz, one of those wealthy landowners, honored the law and custom and redeemed Ruth to be his wife. Through this custom of becoming a Kinsman Redeemer, we see the beauty of Jesus, our Redeemer!
It is possible that some would consider redeeming a slave from slavery as only a historical fact found on the darkest pages of human history. However, the horrific tragedy of human trafficking and slavery continues in 2019 to be a dark stain on the history being now written of the world. Just as Oscar Schindler saved 100’s of Jews from the Nazi attempt to eliminate them from the earth, there are dozens of men and women leading organizations all over the world that are redeeming children, youth, men and women who have been told they didn’t matter and bound in horrible, degrading slavery. These men and women are modern day examples of Jesus, our Redeemer! The Church joins in this fight to redeem these captured in this tragedy of slavery. In fact many of these organizations leading in this fight are Christians that have been awakened to such a great need and cause. No doubt eternity will reveal many heroes who set 1,000’s free!
The Church also stands as a Body of believers who have been redeemed from a horrible slavery. We are married to setting others free from the gratitude toward those God used to set us free! The slavery to sin ends in destroyed lives on earth and for eternity. We are forever grateful that our lives were transformed when we God used His Body to lead us to an encounter with Jesus, our Redeemer! We were trapped in sin, imprisoned by sin, caught in the very act as this woman was! Just as it was completely irrelevant on that day that she wasn’t the only one caught in the act, neither does it matter that someone else was a sinner – the dooming fact was that we were one. There is no way you could have avoided the snare of sin. Before birth, in the genetics of Adam that you inherited you were born dead spiritually. In the face of that fact, today’s beautiful, liberating truth is that Jesus is Our Redeemer!! The One Who is perfect, the only One Who could cast stones – His whole purpose and destiny is to never cast a stone at one sinner! Instead He is the Rock we can run to and their find healing, salvation, and hope!
My prayer is that He would transform your life today! Jesus, Our Redeemer!