Sunday, March 25, 2012

Boom Boom Clap

I mentioned the song, "We will rock you," (hence the title, boom boom clap) one day to my hubby.  He has a way of taking things in a ... well, in a "punny" way.  He immediately shot back, "Yeah, the Pharisees' theme song."  It took me a while to get it.  

What he meant was that the Pharisees were in the habit of stoning people to death (hence, "rock you" and not in a nice way...), people over whom they had set themselves up as judge, jury, ... and executioners.  Like that woman they thrust in front of Jesus one day, the one caught in adultery, "in the very act."  (John chapter 8, if you want to read the story - it's my favorite!) 

Now, two things come to mind when I stop reading right there.  

The first thing is, that if she was caught in the very act of adultery - guess what: she was naked!  and their move was strategically designed to publicly humiliate her and outrage the whole community against her. They wanted a stoning ... and at the same time, they wanted to make Jesus look bad.  If He went along with stoning her, His message of love and acceptance and forgiveness was discredited and they would win.  If He defended her, then He could be seen as condoning her own immorality, a crime punishable by death.  They could not lose.  Or so they thought.

The second thing is, that if they got HER in the act of adultery, where was the guy?  The religious law they claimed to obey said that both parties were to be punished. My take on it is that the only reason they'd NOT put the guy out there with her, was that it was one of them, and either it was a case of "we don't want the scandal to hurt his family" OR it was a clear case of entrapment by one of the Pharisees, premeditated.  She may indeed have been set up.  And if so, I'm sure that Mr. Pharisee was only too happy to play his part!  

So Jesus sat or squatted down and started writing in the dust.  When questioned, He simply said, "Whoever among you is without sin, let him cast the first stone." And He kept writing.

Source (via Google Images):
Let me share something that excites me about Jesus' statement, something that's not immediately obvious.  The original Greek rendering of this sentence is something like this: "Whoever among you doesn't (already and continually) sin in this way, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." John's gospel says that they started leaving - beginning with the older ones - until nobody was left except Jesus and the woman.  "Beginning with the older ones."  Huh. That lets me know that not only DID they sin in this way, they had done it for a very long time.  Eventually even the younger ones had to be honest with themselves, and they slunk away.  

Jesus didn't condone what she had done.  But He did point out one very (often forgotten) important fact: everybody messes up.  Everyone needs help.  Every person needs God.  And its sister thought: "There, but for the grace of God, go I."  

The Pharisees were out to "rock her world" - quite literally.  But instead, the Rock of Ages fell on them - softly, quietly, but heavily - and reminded them that they too, were in need of just as much grace... and perhaps more ... than she was.  

So perhaps it's time we Pharisees in the church, the ones who are so quick to judge and call down another - even another believer with whom we don't agree - sang a new song.  One that rings with truth, with hope, with victory over our common problem, even with compassion and love....

HE     will, HE will    ROCK YOU!! ROCK YOU!!
Boom Boom Clap, Boom Boom Clap, Boom Boom Clap, Boom Boom Clap...

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