In our series on "Balance" and "Imbalance" (an
item straight out of Ripley's Book of Believe it or not?) Of God, one
remarkable feature, which characterized our Savior's ministry on Earth,
was that of balance.
He hated sin but loved sinners. He was all for paying taxes to Caesar, without in anyway ignoring our financial obligations to the Giver of all gifts. He lauded his disciples when they earned it, and duly reprimanded them when they were going off track.
Today, let's look at the two of the three incidents in our Master's life when He walked the fine line…
Remember the account of Jewish religious leaders bringing a woman caught in adultery before him (John 8:1-11) for judgment, and most importantly His resulting judgment on the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 20:10), which demanded her stoning.
Of course Jesus' envious enemies (surprisingly not robbers or murderers, but fellow servants in God's vineyard…the Teachers of the Law, Pharisees et al), outraged by His growing popularity amongst the masses, desperately wanted to tarnish his image publicly by labelling Him a "breaker of the Law". How our good Lord handled that dicey situation is the very definition of being balanced in a crisis, and later His demeanour with the guilty one reflected his attitude towards sin and a sinner.
With His critics waiting with bated breath for the slightest slip, which would send His public popularity ratings on a nose-dive, our Lord handled the tricky situation with His typical equilibrium. Without in any way, diminishing the significance of the Mosaic Law, He appealed to the universal, higher Law of conscience in every individual ready to stone the hapless adulteress.
"He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." (John 8:7)
While on the subject, doesn't this question ring a bell in the minds of every overtly critical Christian nursing a holier than attitude towards others?
Then the Gospel writer John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, takes the scene to a stirring climax…
"At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there" (John 8:9).
What does this verse actually mean?
If anybody had the right to cast a stone on this sinful woman, it was the spotless, Holy Son of God. What did He do?
Let the Scripture (John 8:10-11) take over: "Jesus straightened up and asked her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' 'No one, sir,' she said. 'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'" (John 8:11)
Did Jesus declare, "Go now and continue your life of sin?" NO!!! Rather leave your life of sin. Jesus hated sin but loved sinners. Need any further proof? Amazing balance isn't it?
Now Jesus' enemies wouldn't give-up so easily in their efforts to publicly disgrace him. Later on in Jerusalem, they thought He would be lax in His verdict on paying tax to Caesar (Jews' avowed enemy and their despised ruler at that time). They thought they had Him when they publicly fired this tricky question at Him: "Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?" (Matt 22:15), only to be outwitted by a "smart one" from the good Lord "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's" (Matt 22:21 KJV).
Christians are commanded to pay their taxes to the Government, without putting on the backburner the need to pay the tithes to their Local Church and support those who preach the Gospel to them. One without the other would displease the KING OF ALL KINGS, who has put every Government in its place (Malachi 3:6-12/Romans 13:1-7/I Cor 9:14), and commissioned His every servant to serve Him, without taking-up any secular livelihood.
Please join us next Thursday for OF BALANCE
AND IMBALANCE, Part 3.
Prayer: Father enable us to love sinners, even whilst hating sin, pay our taxes whilst uncompromisingly supporting Your Ministry with our finances. In Jesus Name. Amen