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Week Six | Woman at the Southern Steps

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Week Six | Jesus & Women Online Book Study
Reading Assignment – Session Six
Scripture Passage: John 8:3-11
Listen to the Audio version | Read time 7-minutes

“Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong.  Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  The Bible tells me so.”

As a little girl, this amazing truth was taught to me. I knew the words and I could sing this sweet song written by Anna Bartlett Warner as soon as I could talk. 

Now, as an adult, the remarkable depth of meaning these lyrics carry has started to unfold even more as I’m seeing connections throughout the Bible. And friends, it truly is amazing, because Jesus is amazing.

This week in our Jesus and Women study, Kristi asked us to think of the worst thing we’ve ever done. My heart ached as my thoughts went to those horrible spiritually-weak moments in my life, when I knew what I was doing was wrong but for some reason, or many reasons, I did it anyway.

I’m sure you also have moments and choices in your story you regret and wish you could delete and make it disappear. We all do. 

In John 7:53-8:11, we learn about a woman who has been caught in the act of adultery, probably one of the worst mistakes she ever made in her life. I am fairly confident she regretted her choices and desperately wished she could have made that mistake disappear. 

Pharisees took her to the Southern Steps at the Temple for her punishment according to the law in Leviticus 20:10, which clearly says she should have been killed for what she’d done.

Jesus & the Woman at the Southern Steps

Jesus had been sitting on these Temple steps, teaching a crowd of people since Jerusalem was still very crowded after a large celebration when this woman was being led to certain death. 

Can you imagine what she must have been thinking while being publicly humiliated and waiting for her fatal punishment?

We don’t get to hear her side of the story. We don’t know how her husband treated her, or how this other man might have persuaded her. We don’t know if she was a mother, or what she did for a living. We don’t even know if she consented to her situation. 

None of those details seem to be of importance to the Pharisees who were ready to stone her to death.

When Jesus was asked what should be done to this woman, He didn’t even ask her to share any defense. He suggested that anyone without sin could throw a stone at her, but there was only one there without sin. 

The only One without sin, Jesus, was qualified to cast the first stone, yet He intentionally remained there with the woman, in what was probably the most terrifying moment of her life. After everyone else had walked away Jesus reassured her and told her she was free to leave.

Kristi brings up a wonderful question in the 6th video session of the Jesus and Women study,

“Does Jesus really just let her go? What happens to her sin?… God can’t just overlook it. But He has done something about it… Jesus could send her away because the payment for that sin was coming. It wouldn’t be her paying for it; it would be him paying for it on a cross.”

Kristi McLelland, Jesus and Women study

In the first century, people wrote all documents by hand using reeds or quill pens and black ink made of soot, gum, and water. Mistakes could not simply be erased or deleted.  Instead, they would be blotted out with ink and then the author would continue with the correction. (Source – https://www.gotquestions.org/blot-out-our-transgressions.html)

The mistake had to be covered before they could continue.

In Revelation 20:12, there is an account of those who have died being judged according to what they had done which was written and recorded in books. Our sins, the accounts of our worst mistakes, are being documented in books that don’t have a delete button; they must be blotted out and covered completely.

Under the Old Testament Law, God permitted the blood of animal sacrifices to cover the sins of believers. But this was only a substitute until He provided the ultimate atonement to blot out sins, the blood of the spotless Lamb, Jesus. 

2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

God sent His Son, Jesus, who was without sin so His blood could cover and blot out our sins.

Isaiah 43:25, NIV says, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” 

When we acknowledge and confess our sins and ask Jesus to forgive us, we can be confident that He will. Yes, even the very worst things that have been recorded will be blotted out and no longer remembered. 

In Isaiah 1:18, NLT, it says, “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”

Jesus let this woman who was caught in adultery walk away, without a lawful punishment, because He knew He would be blotting her sin out of the records, by covering it with His blood. Jesus knew soon her record would be crystal clear.

The love and forgiveness Jesus shared with this woman were truly amazing. And He has the same love and forgiveness for each of us.

“You need to know that Jesus can handle you. You need to know that you can in every “His love for you is epic– He will cover, forgive and send you forward in Shalom. He will generously lift you up.”

Kristi McLelland, Jesus and Women study

Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves you. The Bible tells us so.

Let’s recap…

Here’s what we learned today:
– Everyone has mistakes in their past that they would like to erase or delete.
– Jesus is the only One who never sinned.
– Sin has to be blotted out of our records.
– Because of Jesus’ blood, our sins are blotted out and no longer remembered.
– Jesus loves us more than we can ever imagine.

From page 114. in Jesus and Women – When you sin or break the law of the Lord, how do you feel? How do you feel when you confess and ask Jesus to forgive you?

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Jesus and Women | Kristi McLelland

A 7-week study to examine the historical and cultural climate of first-century Middle Eastern society to not only understand Jesus more deeply but to fuel your worship of Him today.

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  1. I feel guilty or sneaky… Sometimes, even dirty might be the right word. But when I confess and ask forgiveness a weight is off my heart and I’m able to walk tall again because I’m free again.

    (I like the referencing of blotting out sin. I don’t know that I ever visualized and realized how literal those scriptures are.)

    1. I agree with you in the feeling sneaky and sometimes dirty from sin. I think often sin is behind closed doors and we are ashamed and want to hide it. It’s much better when we confess and talk things over with Jesus and ask for forgiveness. Sadly though it’s sometimes hard for us to forget our mistakes and sometimes even harder to walk away from sin. I feel like I’ve repented and asked forgiveness over and over again for the same things. I’m so thankful Jesus is willing to forgive us again and again and that His blood never runs out and He can blot out all of our sins.

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