Approximately 2000 years ago a Jewish man began walking the earth, speaking revolutionary words and performing healing miracles. He didn’t speak English. He wasn’t American or Christian. He wasn’t a democrat or a republican.
He was just a man.
A 33 year old man with a regular blue collar job. A carpenter who left it all to “back-pack” across the Middle East and spread his message.
He spoke of loving others. He spoke of using non-violence to solve conflicts. He spoke of treating others like you would want to be treated. He spoke of not judging others by trying to make humans realize that we are all one-all the same. We all fall short. We all do terrible things and yet we all can accept grace and begin again. He spoke of forgiving others. Equality. Justice. He preferred the company of women, lepers, and crooks. He spoke against the religious hypocrites and teachers of the law.
He spoke against greed.
He spoke of being a light of the world and invited others to be the same.
This man…was Jesus.
I have fallen in love with Jesus over and over. I have been transformed by getting to know Him by consuming His words. His message is truly living water that never runs dry.
One of my favorite passages in the Gospels is the story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery revealed in John Chapter 8.
Early in the morning Jesus came to the temple to speak to the people. The religious and political leaders of the day brought a woman to Jesus that had been caught in adultery. Adultery was a grave sin at that time and the consequence was death by stoning. The religious and political leaders of the day were hoping to catch Jesus breaking the law so they would have something to charge him with. He was expected by the law of Moses to condemn her and stone her. Instead he bent down and drew a line in the sand. They kept questioning Jesus about this woman but Jesus failed to give them what they wanted…a judgement or a disregard for the law. He straightened up, and said very simply:
“Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
And once again bent down and wrote on the ground.
When they heard it, one by one, beginning with the elders, they got up and walked away. Soon Jesus was standing alone with the woman and began speaking to her.
10 “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”
He drew a line in the sand protecting her. He called everyone of them out, making them look inside themselves to see their own shortcomings and sins. He didn’t demand an apology or a reason, he just extended grace and compassion to her. No questions asked.
I always think of this story when passing by or reading about an abortion protest. The judgemental and hateful signs waving loudly and proudly on Saturday mornings at Planned Parenthood remind me of what the scene may have looked like 2000 years ago. If Jesus were to be called there to judge these women walking into the clinic, I believe he would do the same thing that he did 2000 years ago with the adulterous woman. Except this time he would draw a line on the pavement. He’d look up at all the protesters and ask:
“Who here is without sin? May you cast the first stone.” And just like before, they would have to leave…one by one.
The Jesus I have come to know, love, and try my best to follow would not join in holding signs calling these women murderers. He would protect them. He would show them compassion and extend grace to them while shielding them from “stones.”
Jesus wasn’t here to judge the world. He was here to save and transform it.
There are many of us who feel the same fire in our spirits. Dreamers. World changers. Light workers. Right now, we are heart broken. Everyday there is more sad news. The results of the recent election have proven to be more disastrous than any of us thought. Every single issue we know in our hearts to progress toward seems lost now. Dead. Threatened beyond any of our imagination. To be honest, I’ve been struggling to find any hope whatsoever.
With Christmas approaching my hope is that we can celebrate the birth of Jesus with a renewed sense of meaning as it relates to these perilous times.
He showed us the way. He showed us grace, transformation, and healing. He showed us light and how to be light.
The very reason we exist is proof enough that we will pull through this.
We will change the world.
Darkness is the absence of light and cannot rule over us as long as we are here. Jesus was here and his message lives on. It transcends religion, race, language, or creed. His message is simple and it has survived centuries of political and religious leaders attempting to pervert it.
The message is love…and love will win. It always has. Always will. 4.9 billion years of evolutionary success proves that love and life will find a way. That fire in your hearts that burns for humanity will continue and just the mere fact that there is a fire at all gives hope to a dying world. Light overcomes darkness, not the other way around.
May you all celebrate Christmas this year with overwhelming hope and promise. Christmas is so much more than what religion and consumerism has made it into. It is the celebration of the existence of light. And that light lives in us.
We know we exist.
We know we are here to care for humanity.
We know we are here to save the planet.
We know we will.