A Satellite Perspective

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Interestingly, when I started my study in John chapter eight I was not intending to start at the top of the chapter and work my way through. I decided I wanted to study John 8:32. Jesus said,

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (NKJV)

But because I endeavor to keep passages I’ve selected in context, I kept backing up verses. I wanted to be careful to not pull verse thirtytwo out of its literary context, because then I’d risk misunderstanding the verse. So as it turned out I backed up all the way to the top of the chapter, which actually must include the last verse of John chapter seven. Ok, so now I’m getting farther away from the verse I intended to study, but I’m not frustrated because I’m discovering some wonderful things. I finally realized that to truly keep the verse I wanted to study in context, I would need to be familiar with chapters one through seven, and probably at least a portion of the next chapter, chapter nine.

Imagine looking at your house from a satellite 1,240 miles up (known as low earth orbit)! You certainly would not be looking at your house. You’d be seeing the oceans and whole continents. You could identify the continent your house is situated on, and zoom in. With each new zoomed in perspective you would begin to see the country, state, city, community, block, group of houses, and finally your house. The experience would reveal to you how your house relates to the rest of the world, which would help you keep your house in perspective as it relates to the rest of the planet.

In thinking about this analogy, I would say that a verse is like a particular room in your house, and the satellite view of the whole earth is the entire Bible. Just like a room in your house contains lots of things to observe and interact with, each verse is packed full of things just waiting to be discovered. So even though it may take me a long time, I plan to continue working my way methodically through chapter eight.

Let’s look at John 8:10-11,

10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (NKJV)

By the time we get to verse ten the woman’s accusers were convicted by their conscience and went out. I get the sense from the passage that the scribes and Pharisees came right up to where Jesus had been teaching. So the “midst” or middle (verse 3) is where we find Jesus, the woman, and the scribes and Pharisees.

I would suggest that where the text says they went out, that what it is telling us, is that they left the middle. They sort of melted back into the rest of Jesus’ temple audience. I suspect this because the encounter between Jesus and these accusers was not yet over. The remainder of chapter eight reveals the rest of the encounter.

It’s interesting to note the chronological progression of verses ten and eleven. Jesus raised Himself up (again), notices that the accusers have withdrawn, then asks the woman two questions back to back. The woman likely decided that the first question was rhetorical. Jesus had looked around, He knew where the accusers were standing. The question was likely Jesus’ way of graciously and lovingly helping this woman to process what was going on.

Her accusers were no longer demanding her death. He asks her a follow up question. I think His question could be rendered this way without affecting the meaning, “Has not even one person condemned you?” So not only was there no consensus calling for her stoning, there wasn’t a single person willing to condemn her.

She knows that Jesus knows the answer to both of His own questions. She knows that Jesus knows that no one was willing to condemn her, and yet she felt compelled to answer Him, “no one Lord.” Then Jesus made a most remarkable statement, well two statements really. He says, “neither do I condemn you” and “go and sin no more”.

So let me ask you a question. Was this a record of the woman’s conversion? Did she become a believer here? We simply do not know, the passage does not inform us. She just had a face to face encounter with the God of the universe incarnate. He could have condemned her, but instead Jesus commanded her to go and sin no more. But that is all we know about this woman. We are not told how she responded. Did she return to her adulterous ways, or did she place her faith and trust in Christ Jesus? Did she allow relationship with Jesus to transform her life or did she remain in bondage to sin?

Being presented an opportunity is not the same as partaking in that opportunity. Just hearing the good news that Jesus saves, is not the same thing as being saved by Jesus. Jesus requires a response from us. Our only part in the salvation process is receiving by faith what Christ died to provide. Just like He was with the woman, Jesus is ready to forgive your sins. But in order to be forgiven, you must place your faith and trust in Him, only then is the transaction completed.

 Have you placed your faith in Jesus the Messiah, the God of the Bible?

John 3:16-17 tells us,

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

I’d love to hear If you’ve accepted the gift of God leading to eternal life. Please leave a comment if you have.

But because I endeavor to keep passages I’ve selected in context, I kept backing up verses. I wanted to be careful to not pull verse thirtytwo out of its literary context, because then I’d risk misunderstanding the verse. So as it turned out I backed up all the way to the top of the chapter, which actually must include the last verse of John chapter seven. Ok, so now I’m getting farther away from the verse I intended to study, but I’m not frustrated because I’m discovering some wonderful things. I finally realized that to truly keep the verse I wanted to study in context, I would need to be familiar with chapters one through seven, and probably at least a portion of the next chapter, chapter nine.

Imagine looking at your house from a satellite 1,240 miles up (known as low earth orbit)! You certainly would not be looking at your house. You’d be seeing the oceans and whole continents. You could identify the continent your house is situated on, and zoom in. With each new zoomed in perspective you would begin to see the country, state, city, community, block, group of houses, and finally your house. The experience would reveal to you how your house relates to the rest of the world, which would help you keep your house in perspective as it relates to the rest of the planet.

In thinking about this analogy, I would say that a verse is like a particular room in your house, and the satellite view of the whole earth is the entire Bible. Just like a room in your house contains lots of things to observe and interact with, each verse is packed full of things just waiting to be discovered. So even though it may take me a long time, I plan to continue working my way methodically through chapter eight.

Let’s look at John 8:10-11,

10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (NKJV)

By the time we get to verse ten the woman’s accusers were convicted by their conscience and went out. I get the sense from the passage that the scribes and Pharisees came right up to where Jesus had been teaching. So the “midst” or middle (verse 3) is where we find Jesus, the woman, and the scribes and Pharisees.

I would suggest that where the text says they went out, that what it is telling us, is that they left the middle. They sort of melted back into the rest of Jesus’ temple audience. I suspect this because the encounter between Jesus and these accusers was not yet over. The remainder of chapter eight reveals the rest of the encounter.

It’s interesting to note the chronological progression of verses ten and eleven. Jesus raised Himself up (again), notices that the accusers have withdrawn, then asks the woman two questions back to back. The woman likely decided that the first question was rhetorical. Jesus had looked around, He knew where the accusers were standing. The question was likely Jesus’ way of graciously and lovingly helping this woman to process what was going on.

Her accusers were no longer demanding her death. He asks her a follow up question. I think His question could be rendered this way without affecting the meaning, “Has not even one person condemned you?” So not only was there no consensus calling for her stoning, there wasn’t a single person willing to condemn her.

She knows that Jesus knows the answer to both of His own questions. She knows that Jesus knows that no one was willing to condemn her, and yet she felt compelled to answer Him, “no one Lord.” Then Jesus made a most remarkable statement, well two statements really. He says, “neither do I condemn you” and “go and sin no more”.

So let me ask you a question. Was this a record of the woman’s conversion? Did she become a believer here? We simply do not know, the passage does not inform us. She just had a face to face encounter with the God of the universe incarnate. He could have condemned her, but instead Jesus commanded her to go and sin no more. But that is all we know about this woman. We are not told how she responded. Did she return to her adulterous ways, or did she place her faith and trust in Christ Jesus? Did she allow relationship with Jesus to transform her life or did she remain in bondage to sin?

Being presented an opportunity is not the same as partaking in that opportunity. Just hearing the good news that Jesus saves, is not the same thing as being saved by Jesus. Jesus requires a response from us. Our only part in the salvation process is receiving by faith what Christ died to provide. Just like He was with the woman, Jesus is ready to forgive your sins. But in order to be forgiven, you must place your faith and trust in Him, only then is the transaction completed.

Have you placed your faith in Jesus the Messiah, the God of the Bible?

John 3:16-17 tells us,

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

I’d love to hear If you’ve accepted the gift of God leading to eternal life. Please leave a comment if you have.


2 Replies to "A Satellite Perspective"

  • Roger Streifel
    June 22, 2016 (1:29 pm)
    Reply

    Yes. I have accepted God’s gift of salvation!

  • Marge
    June 24, 2016 (8:26 am)
    Reply

    Well done Mark. God has gifted you to teach His word. I find your commitment to handling the treasure of God’s word with honor and respect by looking at the whole context –not plucking a verse out, re-purposing it to get a personal point/view across–a very needed and timely gift as things get darker in our world. I especially appreciated your analogy of satellite perspective and will keep that in mind as I read the Word. As I study this very familiar passage with you (the woman caught in adultry), I’m drawn to Jesus in love and awed by his compassion in a new way..I never thought about the setting that much before (in the temple-a place for sacrifices/payments for sin) and not judgement. And the fact that sacrifices could be made, but some sin was handled by killing (stoning) the person. And Jesus response……how that must have astounded those who were there. Resulting in many Jewish hearers believe in Him. What an awesome God we have. What a precious Savior. And to think the day is soon coming when we too will see Him face to face and sit at His feet and hear Him teach. Maranatha!!!


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