The first story that's been on my mind in this Jesus obsession is from John 8. It's the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. I know...weird place to start...but I can't shake it. It's just so disturbing yet powerfully beautiful. I guess that kind of describes most of Jesus' interactions...
Disturbing: All these pharisees drag a woman into the temple with the purposes of further humiliating her and causing trouble with the Christ...intent on ultimately killing her and also discrediting Jesus (with the goal of eliminating him as a threat at some point). They stand her up in front of the crowd and call Jesus out.
I put myself in her place and I'm overcome...dragged through the streets, maybe barely clothed, being cursed at and spit on, and then paraded in front of the supposed "holy" in full mockery... Oh, the fear, the shame, the loneliness. I'd want to die right there.
Beautiful: Jesus pauses to "write on the ground with His finger". Can I just say...over all the years I've heard so much speculation on what He was writing. Some think the sign of the cross or of the Christian "fish". Others think He started scribbling the specific sins of the accusers to expose their hypocrisy. You know what I think? I seriously believe we watched him pause to turn His heart toward the Father's...to listen for what His view, His will, His love was calling for. Amazing.
And then...oh then...He rises and defends her worth publicly. He assumes her worth in a culture that barely valued women, to religious legalists who'd rather spit on her value because of her sin...and to the woman herself who clearly didn't or couldn't live in such a way that owned her own preciousness. He defended true human worth when no one else would. Beyond listening to the Father's heart, His first action was honor, and all inhumane motives paled in the light He cast...
And just when you'd think He is done, He takes it further. Yep...the verse that the church has often utilized as a formulaic starting point rather than a capstone to honor. "Go and sin no more." What He's not saying is, "Ok, we're done here. Move along and stop doing what you've been doing.". He's not saying, "Get behind me, satan!". No, a little research into Greek shows that He is saying something along the lines of...brace yourself, people..."Now, pursue this journey you've just entered into!" with an affirmation of "because I know you can do it!". Seriously!!! That's what that means!!! It was a launching pad from a foundation of assumed and ascribed worth.
And it's no different for us...
When He looks at you...and when we listen to the beat of His heart for others...He blesses worth and invites us into the ownership of the weight of who He's made us to be. He asks us to pursue the journey we've now entered knowing that with Him we can do it! And...He asks us to get in the game, get dirty and cheer that journey for others.
It doesn't mean it won't be hard. It doesn't mean that it won't take time. What it means is that HE'S EXACTLY THAT GOOD!
The Hero of Worth. The Kingdom of Honor. The Calling into Healing, Hope...MORE.
I want to love the world like that!!!! And...I'd love to see the church known for such honor.