40 Days of Purpose
Thursday, Day 20
In John chapter 8 we read,
“The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?’”
The whole scene was a plot to trick Jesus. Once again, Jesus perplexes me. He simply squats down and starts playing in the dirt.
Then I read Numbers 5:11-31 and I think Jesus was having a silent conversation with the Pharisees.
Go ahead and read the passage. See if you catch it.
To my North American eyes, the passage is outrageous. What does barley flour, holy water and dust from the tabernacle floor have to do with sexual sin?
During a trial for sexual sin, the priest mixed water and dust from the tabernacle floor. If the accused could drink it and not get sick, the person was innocent. If the accused got sick, a curse would be on them.
In John 8, the woman brought before Jesus had already been caught in the act. Her guilt was sure: she knew it, the Pharisees knew it.
After reading Numbers 5, it appears that Jesus touching the dirt was a nod to the law and its demands for guilt. Yet Jesus put the leaders on trial, expecting them to take inventory of their hearts.
Like the adulteress and the Pharisees, our guilt before God is sure. If we were required to drink the cup of bitter water that God’s justice requires, we would surely die.
In the coming days, Jesus would pay for their guilt and mine, drinking the cup we all deserved, carrying our curse.
On days like today it is good for me to see a glimpse of what my sin cost Jesus by remembering the law. It was, after all, initiated by God so that I might experience God’s holiness and see more fully my need.
It increases my gratitude for Him.
It fills in my understanding of His unrelenting love for me.
It causes my heart to soften toward Him in worship.
How does a deeper understanding of the law affect you today?