3 The legal experts and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery. Placing her in the center of the group, 4 they said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. 5 In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone women like this. What do you say?” 6 They said this to test him, because they wanted a reason to bring an accusation against him. Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger.
7 They continued to question him, so he stood up and replied, “Whoever hasn’t sinned should throw the first stone.” 8 Bending down again, he wrote on the ground. 9 Those who heard him went away, one by one, beginning with the elders. Finally, only Jesus and the woman were left in the middle of the crowd.
10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Is there no one to condemn you?”
11 She said, “No one, sir.”
Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on, don’t sin anymore.”
If you watched the livestream of last Sunday’s service or were at the 9:30AM Contemporary service, you may have seen the Children’s Time about Courage. Often when tackling this concept with kids, the first thing that comes to mind is having the courage to stand up to someone who is being mean. It’s the first real, tangible confrontation with bravery we have in life and it’s something we tend to lose along the way from being burned too many times. From childhood, we were often taught to stand up to bullies or tell someone to stop being mean to our friends, yet that lesson doesn’t tend to last long in our cells. It’s scary. It opens up many unknown possibilities. It can be embarrassing if no-one joins in. So, we then learn the message of, “yeah it would be nice to stand up to mean people, but it’s better to keep your mouth shut”. Then that’s what we end up doing.
In today’s text, Jesus stands up to a bully. When I preached about this a few months back, I talked about what we can learn from Jesus disengaging to catch His breath before responding. He does respond though, after the moment to think, and He alone calls out the bullies for their own shortcomings and how that makes them ineligible to judge another. His courage pays off.
We can learn from Jesus’ example and build back the courage we learned to lose.
By Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
Think back to your childhood. Can you pinpoint a time when you tried to have courage, maybe to stand up for someone else, and it didn’t pay off or you didn’t get the support you were hoping for? How did that feel? How did it affect you? What would it look like to offer grace to yourself so that you’re able to build back courage again?
Prayer: Dear Lord, may your example of bravery remind us to be brave. Help us to be the courageous kids we were once taught to be. Amen.