Take a look at John 8:1-11 (The Message Version) with me:
Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.
The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.
Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”
“No one, Master.”
“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”
This is a very common passage of scripture in the church. Most Christians want to call the attention to the pride of the religious leaders or the shame that the woman felt, but all are missing the point. Yes, the Religious scholars and Pharisees took the accuser’s stance in all of their prideful law abiding arrogance and puffed-up self-image. Yes, the woman, I am sure, felt shame for being caught “in the act”, she probably felt guilty for her sins and even remorseful, and she probably even in her spirit begged for mercy knowing what was about to happen. This is all true, but it isn’t the focus of the story.
If that isn’t the focus, what is? Well, Jesus is. Grace is the point of the story. Mercy is the point of the story. Unsurpassing God-given forgiveness is the point of this story.
As Christians, we are to be a reflection of Christ…a mirror image of His actions…when He moves we should too. The church is the body of Christ. We are the hands and feet that go and reach a dying world. Right? Right. Then why is it that more often than not we take the same position as the Religious leaders and forget what it is that Jesus did when facing people like this woman? Why? Pride.
In this passage, we see that Jesus bent down in the dirt and wrote in the sand with His finger. JESUS CHRIST…BENT DOWN…IN THE DIRT. This tells me that Jesus didn’t care about keeping His squeaky-clean image; he didn’t even care that His knees might hurt when He got up. Here, Jesus takes the perfect opportunity to teach us by example that we have to be willing to get in the midst of people to be able to connect with them; forego the holier than thou attitude and minister to them not to their sin. People don’t need us to call out their sin. What they need is an extension of the hand of Grace that cares about them…in spite of their mess.
This revelation, of course, set my wheels spinning. How many other times do we see God or Jesus change His physical/spiritual posture for someone? There are more than I have time to list but here are a few:
-Jesus heals the blind ( Mark 8, John 9) – He kneels/bends
-Jesus teaches (John 8, Matthew 5, and Mark 6 ) – He sits
-God creates man (Genesis 2) – He kneels/bends
Is there importance in our posture? Yes! Yes, there is a great deal of importance in our physical posture because it tells us a lot about our spiritual posture. How? What is in the Spirit leaks out in your actions! This is why so many people won’t enter a church…the church people’s spiritual posture is leaking into the physical. If you want to know if you are prideful take a look at yourself when you talk about your ministry…do you stand taller than when you talk about the miracle of life God placed within us all? Do you sing louder with more vocal acrobatics when there are important church officials present than when you cry out to God in your prayer closet?
Take a look at Genesis again… When God created the earth everything that was created was just spoken into being…say for one thing. God stepped down to the earth, knelt down and created man. God created him in His image and saw that he was good. God himself KNELT DOWN in the dirt and GOT DIRTY to create mankind. He scooped up the dirt He had already spoken into existence and began to shape it into something completely different. Why did He bend down in the dirt? Why did He bend down for dirt? Why the change in the posture?
God bent down in the dirt for a reason. He wanted us to learn by example. He wanted us to see first hand what His heart was about; the unlovable, the undeserving, the hurting. God wanted us a Christians to see that we are not above anyone; that we are no different than the “worst sinner” we can think of.
God bent down for the dirt for a reason, too. I think He wanted us to know that we are worth it. Worth…the effort…the time…the patience…the forgiveness…the grace..the sacrifice. I think that He wanted us to realize that He cared about us. I think he wanted us to know beyond a shadow of doubt that He valued us.
Why the change in posture? He changed his posture because posture is important. No matter if it is spiritual or physical your posture affects you and those around you.
So, I challenge you to let this really sink into the depths of your heart. God wants us to be like Him and get in the dirt with people. He wants us to forgo the pompous attitudes of the religious snobs and get in the dirt with the hurting and unlovable people. Bend down in the dirt today, be like Christ and bend down in the dirt for someone today.