"He Protected the Rejected"

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“More Than Conquerors” Episode 5, “He Protected the Rejected”

 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict?

Have you ever been on trial for committing a crime? What if you found out the prosecutor who charged you knew they did not have sufficient (or enough) evidence to convict you of the alleged crime. Even worse, you find out they charged you just to promote their agenda. That's what happened to the woman in our presentation today, she was facing death, but she was represented by one of the best attorneys who ever lived. Stay with us and find out more about this woman and her lawyer. This is Stephanie Wright. Let's get started.

Hello, and thank you for joining us today for Episode 6, “He Protected the Rejected” in the series, "More Than Conquerors." I hope you will find time to listen to the previous episode, Episode 5, "Overcoming the Fear of Rejection" because we go into detail defining what rejection is, where it started (in heaven), and how to overcome it (through forgiveness, love, and praise).

But, before we get started on today's presentation, I would like to share a true personal account related to today’s episode. A young man who was accused but not yet charged with a minor offense came to me with his concern. As he explained his case to me, because I was an attorney, I realized that the prosecutor was missing one element of the alleged offense necessary to find him guilty.

I told him he should not be charged with this crime.[1] We were at church when he brought this concern to me and we prayed about it. Sometime later, he came to me and told me that indeed, the county attorney had dropped the charges. Well, today's presentation is along similar lines except, in this case, a woman is charged with a capital offense, which means she could be put to death. This woman is the woman caught in the act of adultery and Jesus comes to her defense. She is "the rejected" and Jesus is the one who will protect her.

Today, we are talking about protection from rejection. We are going to focus on The One who is the protector and who protects the rejected. As previously stated, we are speaking of Jesus. Now, we are not saying we won't experience rejection, but Jesus helps us prevail over the effects of rejection. Last week, we detailed many of the times Jesus himself experienced rejection. Beginning at his birth (he slept in a stable because there was no room in the inn), to his death on the cross (he was rejected by his disciples and his own people and left to die like a common criminal). Therefore, Jesus has all the credentials, all the qualifications to combat rejection and its effects, especially the fear of being rejected.

In today's presentation, we see Jesus' compassion and how he used wisdom to protect this woman who was facing death because she is alleged to have broken society's religious and moral codes. These events take place during the Jewish celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. The people were to live in tents for seven days in remembrance of the journey out of Egypt and through the Sinai desert.[2] So, there were thousands of people in Jerusalem at this time.

We start this episode at Chapter 8, verse 1 of the Gospel of John.

1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.

Jesus went from Jerusalem to the mount of Olives and it is not said whether he went to stay with a friend or prayed all night or what. But he did not stay in Jerusalem either because he had no friend he trusted or because he did not want to expose himself to danger during the Feast of Tabernacles. But he did not return to Jerusalem until the next day early in the morning (verse 2). Matthew Henry Commentary.

 

2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
So, clearly it was common practice for Jesus to go to the temple early in the morning to teach during the Feast of Tabernacles because it says “early in the morning he came again.” By this time Jesus had a reputation for teaching many because verse two says, “ . . . all the people came unto him.” I guess this means many of the people were not going to listen to other teachers.  So, those who wanted to find Jesus knew to look in the temple for him.

 

3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
The scribes had knowledge of the law and could draft legal documents and the Pharisees claimed to have Mosaic authority to interpret Jewish law. On this day, they knew where to find Jesus. They knew he would be there when they brought a woman taken in adultery into the temple. They also knew there would be a crowd around being taught because it was the Feast of Tabernacle. What better opportunity to openly shame this woman and at the same time embarrass Jesus because surely based on his teachings-to which they had listened-he would not condemn her. Then he would not be the great teacher his followers thought he was.

 

4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
Why are they coming to Jesus if they know the law which is indicative of their titles? Her death sentence should be undisputed and could be carried out without Jesus’ approval. The scribes and Pharisees appear to be respectful by calling Jesus “master,” but they are really setting a trap for him. They tell Jesus this woman was caught committing adultery (meaning she is married) and they give Jesus only one additional fact to work from, “she was caught in the very act.” The day before they tried to trick him but he “perceived their craftiness.” Luke 20:20-26.

They purposely do not give Jesus any other facts of her case to justify her death sentence by stoning because they cannot.

 

5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
First of all, they are stating the law incorrectly. According to the commentator Matthew Henry, “Moses commanded that they should be put to death, not be stoned, unless the adulteress was espoused (similar to being engaged but more like being almost married), not married, or was a priest’s daughter. Read Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:21-22. (Think of the Virgin Mary who could have been stoned but Joseph did not expose her pregnancy, instead he married her (but he had no intimate relations with her until after Jesus was born.)) So, right there, the prosecution fails to make its case. They knew the law, yet intentionally misstated it, to trick Jesus and possibly sentence this woman to a horrible death in the process. Jesus called them hypocrites in Matthew 23:27 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whited sepulcres which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” So, while they were eager to condemn this woman to a horrible death for committing adultery, they were not willing to expose their own sins which may have included adultery. The question always asked about this scripture is, “Who and where is the man with whom she was alleged to have committed the act of adultery?

 

6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

It is said this is the only time mentioned in the gospels that Jesus wrote. Matthew Henry. What he wrote, we do not know, but we know he ignored them and kept writing. He is the God-man, so he not only knew the obvious, they had misstated the law, but he also knew their wicked hearts! The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9. In this case Jesus knew it. And because he knew it all, he is about to file a counter-suit against them. They are now the ones on trial.

 

7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
It is as if Jesus was saying to them, “Are you still here?” Okay, keep standing there and I am going to keep writing but before I do, whichever one of you is without sin, cast the first stone.

 

8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
So, apparently, they didn’t move, so Jesus continues to write the indictment against them.

 

9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
At last, finally, whatever Jesus is writing in the ground is enough to convict them “by their own conscience.” Each man’s conscience was seared with the hot iron of Jesus’ words written in the earth. Had he spoken instead of written the words might have caused their hearts to melt or turn to stone and they would have died. They are the ones who are convicted, and the most guilty leave first followed by the younger yet no less guilty.

 

10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
So, the jury was not only out, the jury left the building. The executioner was out of a job this day. This woman was acquitted of adultery and walks away with only one admonition.

 

11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
There is a saying that Jesus is a lawyer in the courtroom and a doctor in the sick room. This day Jesus was the best defense attorney ever! Hallelujah! As they say in the sport of basketball, “He slam dunked it!” And he was the best doctor in the sick room because he healed this woman’s soul and delivered her from death. Yes, she should walk away, just as her accusers had walked away, not with Jesus’ spoken word, but with His words written in the dust.

 

Not guilty! Jesus protected the rejected woman by defending her against charges that failed to meet the standard for conviction by stoning. Jesus exposed the true intent of the scribes and Pharisees, to trap him and show he did not know the Mosaic law. They failed on all counts.

We do not need to know what Jesus wrote on the ground. All we need to know is, it was enough for the woman’s accusers to walk away. Yes, just walk away because they knew they failed to make their case and they were deserving of being stoned to death. Who knows, maybe all of them were adulterers too. What Jesus wrote in the ground should be a personal message to each of us. Simply, “forgive that you may be forgiven.” Matthew 6:14-15. Stop and think about it. How many times have we forgotten from where we came. My husband and I have friends who, before they were saved, described themselves as “happy heathens.” We were all “happy heathens” before we were convicted of our sin against God. Yes, we loved to sin. Okay, maybe you didn’t, but I’m pretty sure I did because I didn’t change until I got convicted. Yes, if we are not careful, we can be judgmental and unforgiving. That is what we should carry away from Jesus’ exposing the woman’s accusers and then forgiving her. We should not be accusers, we should be forgivers. We should be like Jesus, the One who protected the rejected. The One who loved everybody even the ones who nailed Him to a cross and watched him die. Remember some of his last words before he died, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. He even protected his executioners from the Father’s wrath by asking that they be forgiven. Now, that’s love!

We are called to be the protectors of the rejected in the earth. We are God’s hands and feet. I have said it before and I will say it again. Jesus is not coming back to earth - at least not until the appointed time - to do what he gave us the power to do. He is seated at the right hand of God. He is our intercessor and the Holy Spirit is here, living in us, to do the work. Jesus has passed the baton to us to be the protectors of the rejected. God expects us to protect the fatherless, the afflicted, the poor, the oppressed, the widow, the homeless, the children, the hungry, the naked, and more. Read the supporting scriptures, Psalm 82:34, Proverbs 31:8-9, Isaiah 1:17, Isaiah 58:67.

 

If you have overcome and conquered rejection and the fear of rejection, you should use that experience to help others. Your experience can be a blessing to someone. It may even save a life.

 

Let us be the ones of whom it is said, “We Protected the Rejected” because we are “More Than Conquerors.”

Thank you for joining us today. Before we close, I want to encourage you again to listen to Episode 5, of this series “Overcoming the Fear of Rejection” and always remember, we are “More Than Conquerors.” This is Stephanie Wright. Until next time may God’s love, peace and protection be with you.

 

[1] I also informed him to seek legal advice as I could not represent him.

 

[2] (Resource: Matthew Henry; Premier Christianity, “3 things every Christian should know about the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles”)..

 

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