Daily Devotion for March 2, 2011
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
John 8:1-11 (ESV)
Let He Who is Without Sin Cast the First Stone
The others went to their homes, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.
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?" This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.
But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."
Notes on the Scripture
By now, the Pharisees had begun the process of amassing evidence against Jesus. Knowing that his popularity was growing, they wanted a powerful case to bring, so that they might condemn him to die for heresy. Therefore they try to be clever and present him with a conundrum. They expect him to hang himself with his own words.
But Jesus is much too clever. Instead of giving his accusers the direct contradiction of Mosaic Law they expect, or else retracting his message of mercy, he takes the opportunity to teach one of his greatest and best-known lessons.
We are not to judge other people. We do not have the authority, because each and every one of us has sinned in the eyes of God. Most of us pray daily to God, to forgive us our trespasses as we have forgiven those who trespass against us. Yet, typically, we then proceed to judge others every day, time and time again.
The second, and equally important, part of the teaching is that Christ -- who is the one, and the only one, given authority to judge us -- will forgive us for our sins. And although his forgiveness of the adulteress in this passage saves her earthly life, it is only an analogy to his great and primary mission: to shrive us of our sins, so that we may appear spotless before God after our death, and find eternal life and joy with him.