Tag Archives: Purity

Sunday with John — Purposeful

John 18:15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.  ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Peter and another disciple are literally following Jesus as he’s taken to yet another place of judgement about his identity.  Out of deference to the identity of the other disciple, who is apparently known as a follower of Jesus, the door has been opened to Peter.  He’s been brought into this place where his identity is unknown, and his response to a simple question, “ I am not,” reveals he doesn’t know himself yet either.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
There is power in everything that is implied in this verses.  Peter thinks he’s followed Jesus here, but he’s been led to this place.  He could have been left outside the door, but he’s been brought in.  The Lord has a purpose for the simple question from a curious girl; to begin to reveal Peter’s identity to himself through a misspoken answer.

What does it say about people?
The strength of those who “purpose” to follow Jesus is not their innocence.  It’s their willingness to face Jesus with their imperfection knowing He will forgive because He has given them their purpose…and His love is the perfection they need.

Is there truth here for me?
I actually felt a physical twinge in my chest as I read Peter’s response to that servant girl. My heart made some connection between the odd exchange in John 13 at that special dinner where Peter asked John to ask Jesus who was going to betray Him. It’s always seemed odd to me he needed to ask what they were all wondering.  Peter wasn’t the only one that needed reassurance of his innocence that night but now in this place he’s heard his own misspoken words of denial, “I am not.”  It may not have happened right then but surely those three words became his own twinge of guilt…as he remembered that night and realized he wasn’t innocent after all…he was a betrayer! 

Peter’s misspoken words, “I am not,” have pierced my heart. I felt those words because I’ve heard my own.  I’ve realized it’s easy to excuse misspoken words as something other than betrayal and then accept my misplaced relief as the standard of my innocence.  I would like to be innocent but innocence was lost thousands of years ago. Instead Jesus has agreed to the truth of my purpose to follow him and offered to take my misspoken words and misplaced relief as an act of repentance and make them into something more purposeful than innocence…purity.

Sunday with John – Purity

John 7:53 – 8:1-11
7:53 [[They went each to his own house,
1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5  Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]
[[The earliest manuscripts do not include 7:53–8:11.]

What is the general theme of the passage?
One guilty woman, a crowd of male accusers and Jesus — all facing the reality and consequence of sin!  Jesus must distill the broad brush of the situation into something personal for both the guilty woman and her accusers.  The woman caught in the act of adultery must see that disgrace and guilt are not what Jesus has in mind for her even though she is far from innocent.  Jesus with so few words and such an underwhelming physical display of His presence has reminded the accusers they are not innocent either.  Both the guilty woman and the guilty accusers must recognize the consequence of sin is lost innocence and once lost, innocence can never be recovered.  Whatever Jesus wrote on the ground, twice, has convinced the accusers of that. They go away with only their guilty memories never acknowledging what Jesus wants them to see. While the law cannot restore their innocence, the experience of the law through His grace offers something more lasting for those accused by their own sin…a pathway to purity, “go, and from now on sin no more.”

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground… once more he bent down and wrote… Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before Him.  

What does it say about people?
Here are a couple ideas to consider about what Jesus might have written before those men.  Maybe Jesus wrote the scripturesa that spoke about adultery and guilt. “If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel” and “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” Were there guilty men there? Or maybe it was the names of the two required eyewitnesses needed to bring this charge.  The standard for bringing such a rare charge was extremely detailed; the witnesses must see the actual sexual act with their own eyes.  Were those men there? Jesus clearly identified “something” the accusers recognized with their own eyes in those words or marks He made on the ground …and “they went away one by one.”
a Deuteronomy 22:22 and Leviticus 20:10 ESV

Is there truth here for me?
Jesus was left alone with the woman, not to reveal her obvious guilt, but to offer her His guiltless righteousness to replace the condemnation of her lost innocence.  “Therefore there is now no condemnation at all for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh…” Ro 8:1-3 NASB

Seed of Innocence

Matthew 13:3 Then he [Jesus] told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” NIV

I am a confirmed believer the Spirit of God uses repetition to direct my mind. Repetition of a recent word or thought gets my attention and that’s exactly what God desires. Remember my reference to the “mustard seed” in the last post? This truth about seeds just “happened” to pop up in this blog by raincitypastor, Richard Dahlstrom, Step by Step Journey.
“One of the most famous parables in the Bible is the story about the seed and the sower. “A farmer went out to sow his seed” is how it begins, and by the end of the tale we discover that not all the seeds reached their full potential. The seed, though, was never the problem; it was the soil. Too many rocks. Too many thorns. Not enough depth. It’s a powerful tale, because later in the Bible we’re told that “His seed abides in us.”

That thoughtful commentary recalled yet another recent repetition of thought for me – the book of Genesis and our future.  We all know the long-ago story of Adam and Eve and their “original sin” that became our heritage.  Thankfully that is not the end of the story at all.  1 John 3: 9 says “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.”

I think God’s  provision for Adam and Eve was more than clothing as they left that perfect Garden to begin a life of “painful toil.” He chose to leave a little seed of his “original innocence” within them insuring there would be a new heritage for all their descendants – the possibility of overcoming their own sin.  Innocence was no longer a given but there would be “good soil” that could produce a crop of purity — “a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

ב Beth – House, Tent

Psalm 119:9-16
The more-or-less ignored headings of the 22 sections of this Psalm really do count if you read the individual eight verses of each as if they are a key. Beth is the key God has given to a place of shelter for:

• Purity
9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.

• Focus
10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.

• Safety
11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

• Learning
12 Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees.

• Remembering
13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.

• Praising
14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.

• Thinking
15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.

• Commitment
16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.