Recently I have been captivated by this one particular moment in the life of Jesus.
This moment didn’t involve a mass crowd, nor did it involve a physical miracle or a supernatural manifestation—at least to the naked eye. What it did involve was some healing in the soul that led to the total transformation of one woman’s life.
This moment took place in the midst of a small group of city officials and religious leaders that had gathered around the city square. It was the boiling point of a culture war that just happened to fall on the head of a person that the Bible refers to only as “a certain woman.”
This particular culture war involved cyclical adultery, and sexual indiscretion in hiding. This certain woman had been caught in the act, and now this war was finding a face—her face, and the front line had been defined right in the midst of the city square with her at the epicenter. Can you even imagine how she felt in that moment?
As the judgements were being stacked up against her, the unexpected happened: here came Jesus.
As the story goes, Jesus walked into the midst of these leaders as they prepared to punish her by stoning. Being known as a holy man, I imagine they all assumed He was there to ensure that this woman’s lifestyle of sin be openly condemned, and brought to an end. They were only half right. Jesus began to maneuver the front line of this culture war to something He saw that was of more importance.
As He stooped down to the ground, He began to write in the sand, and the Bible says that one by one, the talking heads dropped their stones, and walked away.
When there was no one left, Jesus stood up and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers?”… “does no one condemn you?”… “neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11)
Jesus had come to respond to a sound, and it wasn’t the sound of a culture war; it was the deeper sound of a culture cry.
Her cry. A cry of brokenness, addiction, longing, and lack of worth.
While some were there motivated by a passion to right wrongs, Jesus saw what was more valuable than legislating punishment. He saw the chance to meet a woman at her need, and to heal a broken heart.
He knew that wholeness in her would create a path to righteousness through her.
Today, as our nation wages its own culture wars of the day, I am reminded of the posture and position that Jesus took. I am also compelled to keep my ear tuned for the cries of a culture that is broken, and doesn’t know they have been redeemed. As believers, let’s listen to heaven for words of restoration, and see God heal what’s been broken in people’s lives.
After all, it is actually the wholeness, love, and morality from those of us that have already been redeemed that speaks louder than any protest ever will.