In this lesson, we will cover 3 chapters in John … chapters 8, 9, and 10.  They are full of teaching and dialogue.  You may want to spend more than one day in each chapter.  There is so much!  The only reason I will be covering so much territory in what seems like a short time is because I am tracking our study to accompany the Tuesday Bible Study group at my church.  I hope you are keeping a journal or notebook of some kind as you study.  In Lesson 4, when you read a chapter … have a pen in hand and make notes to yourself about what stands out to you.  That will be your most effective application tool. 

Today … read John 8.  What does the passage say to you?  Make your own notes, and then come back.

Consider with me verses 7:53 – 8:11.  Several lessons emerge for me.  It is extreme cruelty to use people as objects to prove points – as do the Pharisees in this encounter.  It robs the person of all humanity.  It is extreme cruelty to use people for one’s own personal lust and pleasure – as we see in this narrative.  Perhaps the man (who does not get dragged into the scene … even though the Old Law is clear about his guilt and death sentence as well!) seduced the woman.  Perhaps it was the other way around.  We don’t know.  But it is sin … it is violation of the precious gift of sexuality.  The lesson I glean for myself?  Watch out that you don’t use people for your own purposes – regardless of what those purposes may be.

I am intrigued with the detail that Jesus stooped down and began to write something in the dirt.  Why?  Was it time for an ”arrow prayer” to His Father?  Was it to not look at the lustful, leering eyes of the men in the crowd or the shame of the woman?  Was she ashamed or was she defiant?  Again, we don’t know.  The most interesting reason I found  was in William Barclay’s Daily Bible Study Series.  He uses the Armenian translation which says, “He himself, bowing his head, was writing with his finger on the earth to declare their sins; and they were seeing their several sins on the stones.”  Maybe. 

What we know is that the people began to leave … the older ones first.  I like to think that I have grown wiser with age.  Have you?  I wonder - if Jesus had been listing their personal sins in the dirt – interesting that the older people had the wisdom to recognize that … and the courage to walk away.  Lessons for us?  Leave judgement to God.  He knows all the details … we do not.  I need to deal with my own sin.  Let God deal with other people’s.  The problem is … when we have been hurt badly … we want some kind of revenge or vindication.  I think Jesus would perhaps stoop down and begin to write my own personal struggles with sin to allow me to let it go!  I think He would say to me … Gail, deal with your own stuff!  Let me deal with his/hers. 

I love the fact that Jesus gave her the freedom and the opportunity to go … now she has a choice.  She can go back to her life of sin … or she can choose to “follow” the Rabbi!  I like to think that she left her life of sin and became of believer.  But then, I like happy endings!  We don’t know the rest of her story.  God does. 

Verses 12 – 59 continue the confrontation that Jesus has with the Pharisees.  The questions about His identity and His authority.  The tension is building.  The hour is coming …

Jesus makes one of the “I AM” statements in this chapter.  Did you find it?  Verse 12: “I Am the light of the world.”  He goes on to say that following Him keeps one out of darkness.  I want that!  I want to walk in light.  In the dark, you stumble, you crash into things, you fall.  Things are distorted. 

Once again … we see this primary message of Jesus … follow me. 

I am sitting in Colorado as I write this post.  It is February … snow is deep … everything is covered.  Once in this kind of snow my husband and I went out for a snow shoe.  We hiked up a deeply covered trail that had had no foot traffic on it at all.  The snow was knee deep.  It was so hard to pick my legs up for the next step.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that if I would just fall in step behind him … I could step into his tracks … and my way was so much easier.  I could go further … I could breathe better.  And I hear Jesus repeat … over and over again … “follow me”. 

Yes, Lord … You have already walked ahead  … I will follow.