Where is Jesus in your picture?

Can you see the face? 


Kieran was playing a game on the computer this morning where he had to collect the pieces to help make a playground.  He said to me that he had done it all and wanted to know what happened next.  I knew from looking at the screen that he hadn’t found all the pieces – he thought he had looked everywhere.  So I helped him scroll through the screen until he found the pieces he had missed.  Then again he thought he had done it, but the last piece blended in too well.

And it made me wonder about how we live our lives especially when it comes to difficult situations.  This made me think about the passage where the woman is caught in adultery.  (John 8:1-11)  The immediate picture is about a woman who slept with someone who was not her husband, and therefore by law she should be stoned to death.  However the more you look at the picture you realise there is something more going on.  The men drag the woman to stand before Jesus who was teaching people at the Temple.  And they seek his opinion.  They knew they were putting Jesus in a difficult situation – he was subject to the law but they also knew he was ‘nice’ to people.

Suddenly the picture gets a little darker and the men hope to trick Jesus.  Jesus though pauses, bends down and writes in the sand.  No-one knows what he wrote in the sand but plenty have guessed.  Some believe he simply drew a line in the sand.  Jesus is gifted at being able to see the bigger picture.  He knew exactly what the men were trying to do. 

He comes out with the saying we all know ‘He who is without sin cast the first stone.’  Slowly but surely the men leave – interestingly enough the older men leave first – perhaps recognising that they have been outsmarted whilst the younger ones are still debating. 

Now we looking at this picture in today’s world automatically feel for the woman because although we know that adultery is wrong, we believe that stoning is a step too far.  Yet in one sentence Jesus appeared to undermine the law and can we allow that?  Notice though that Jesus who is perfect also doesn’t judge her guilty.  Therefore she is acquitted and Jesus manages to get the men to think about the law whilst not destroying the law. 

And what of the poor woman – publicly shamed for all this took place at the temple where people were gathered.  Rebuked by Jesus, however gently as she is told to sin no more.  She would know exactly what he is talking about. 

Imagine the story in your mind as a picture – sitting in a Temple courtyard, Jesus sitting on a step with men gathered around him listening.  There is a space in front of Jesus with a collection of well dressed men and a distressed woman a pace in front of them in front of Jesus but half turned so the people can see her and her tear streaked face.  The colours in the picture are murky and swirling and you can feel the agitation in the brush strokes.  Around Jesus though the brush strokes are calmer, the colours lighter and he appears at peace. 

Each of us has our own agitated picture – it might be a specific situation or worry about a loved one.  Have you looked for Jesus in your picture?  Is he blending in too well?  Or perhaps you enjoy the attention you get by focussing on the difficulties – like the men dragging the woman in?  Or maybe you are the woman caught and you are wondering how to get out of the situation with your life?  Or maybe you are watching helplessly from the crowd debating what to do?  Jesus defuses the whole situation peacefully and without loss of life. 

Take time to pray about your agitated situation –perhaps in your mind paint your situation as a picture – ask Jesus to help you look at the bigger picture.  He can help you smooth out the brushstrokes and in time the picture will soften or perhaps even be erased altogether.  Regardless of the situation he always looks to the heart of the matter and can see everything. 

God bless you,

Love Sarah

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