Rubbing Elbows with the Down and Out
As my class in Chicago
read the Gospels ... we noticed a striking pattern: the more unsavory the
characters, the more at ease they seemed to feel around Jesus. People like
these found Jesus appealing: a Samaritan social outcast, a military officer of
the tyrant Herod, a tax collector, a recent hostess to seven demons...
I search for a clue that might explain why Jesus made
[sinners] feel so comfortable... I find such a clue in one more scene from the
Gospels... The Pharisees have caught a woman in the very act of adultery, a
crime that calls for the death penalty. What would Jesus have them do? they
ask, hoping to trap him in a conflict between morality and mercy.
Jesus pauses, writes on the ground for a moment, then says
to the accusers, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first
to throw a stone at her." When all of them have filed away, Jesus turns to
the cringing woman. "Where are they? Has no one condemned you?" he
asks. "Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of
sin" [see John 8:2-11].
This tense scene reveals a clear principle in Jesus' life:
he brings to the surface repressed sin, yet forgives any freely acknowledged
sin... [Jesus' response] provides a glimpse into the heart of God. God is not
the unmoved Absolute, but rather the Loving One who draws near.
See Book: -The Jesus I Never Knew, by Philip Yancey