Have you ever watched a movie or show that caught you off guard, or gave you a surprise ending? Have you ever been around a friend who did something you didn’t expect?
When we look at Jesus’ life, we read about Him a long time after He lived His earthly existence so maybe His life can sometimes seem distant. Nevertheless, we can learn about Him based on how He interacted with regular people in His day, along with the conflicts that He had with the religious establishment that was so massively powerful and controlling during His life.
The religious establishment had a very pinched and regimented script that they wanted Jesus to follow, but routinely, He flipped the script on them. A great example of this flipping happened in the beginning of John 8. In this situation, we read about Jesus being in the temple, teaching, early in the morning. As He was teaching, the religious leaders interrupted Him by throwing a woman at His feet and making a very awkward commotion.
“Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” These are the words that we read in John 8:4-5 and it’s really clear that the religious leaders were confronting Jesus and had a script that they wanted Him to follow. But Jesus flips the script.
“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” This was Jesus’ reply to the men who were confronting and challenging Him, using this defenseless woman as their weapon, never mind that the man who had done the adultery with her was missing in action.
In this confrontation, I can’t help but remember what Jesus said about the whole judging thing in Matthew 7:1-5. In these verses, Jesus talks about seeing the speck in someone else’s eye but entirely ignoring the log in one’s own eye. I think that Jesus’ words to the Jewish leaders in John 8 give a real-life example to His sermon in Matthew 7.
When I take some time to reflect on Jesus’ words, His attitude, values, purpose, and interactions, I’m challenged to think about my own interactions and outlook. Would Jesus flip the script on my outlook and interactions, or would I be in lockstep with His life?
Perhaps it’s all the more powerful to watch Jesus’ actions and conversation after the Jewish leaders did their throw down conversation with Him. In response, Jesus pauses, kneels to write in the dirt, waits for the Jewish leaders to respond. After all of these accusatory leaders had left, Jesus asks the women in John 8:10, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” When Jesus asks these questions, the script has been flipped on her accusers, the Jewish leaders who initiated the confrontation. In reply, the woman says, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus answers, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on, sin no more.” In thinking about this and letting it be relevant to our modern living, let’s actively choose to model Jesus’ values and actions, such that we promote generous forgiveness and reflective grace. Let’s choose to live a life that let’s Jesus flip the script.