So they were saying to him, “Where is your father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my father; if you knew me, you would know my father also.” John 8:19
When Jesus met the adulterous woman, he confronted those who wanted to stone her by asking only those without sin to cast the first stone. After her accusers left, Jesus asked, “Did no one condemn you?”
When she answered that no one had stayed to pass judgment, Jesus told her, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on, sin no more.”
It’s interesting. There were so many Jesus met who crossed the line of sin—people like tax-collectors, a woman at the well, and this woman, caught in adultery. Yet Jesus never seemed angered about their lives, their sin. Instead he refused to condemn these people, many times connecting with them on a deeper level and changing their lives.
But some people did anger Jesus. He said mean things to them. Called them snakes, vipers, hypocrites. Not the kind of things to be shared in polite company. As a result, Jesus probably didn’t get invited to the high-society parties.
One of these verbal rebukes comes just after Jesus’ encounter with the adulterous woman. Once she is gone, the Pharisees show up with questions, as they always did. They were the religious leaders of the day, the smart people who declared themselves purveyors of truth and righteousness.
Jesus claimed to be the light of the world, and the Pharisees were not interested. A debate ensued, leading to their question, “Where is your father?”
The answer could have been, “In Heaven, where He sits on His throne.” But Jesus’ answer wasn’t about where his father was. It was about who his father was. And his answer cut them to the quick.
“You know neither me nor my father; if you knew me, you would know my father also.”
Think about it. Jesus told the very people who thought they knew religion better than anyone that they didn’t know God at all. And oh, by the way, they didn’t know him, either. Quite a statement.
Jesus saved his anger for these people. But the adulterous woman? No condemnation for her, only love and a desire to see her whole again.
You know what? This is what we do. Our mission is not about calling out religious leaders, but it is to reach those who Jesus touched with kind words. Many come in our doors feeling condemned and worthless—even if they don’t admit it. Let’s love them. Build them up. Help them find a second chance.
And if someone comes along to condemn those we serve, maybe we need to call them out. After all, it’s what Jesus would do.
by Kirk Walden, Advancement SpecialistHeartbeat International
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