Fifth Sunday of Lent.

Fifth Sunday of Lent.

“Neither do I condemn you”

The story of the woman being dragged before Jesus and used as an object rather than a person is a terrible reminder of the way all too often women are treated throughout history. But notice what Jesus does: he takes the focus off the woman when he starts writing on the ground. Then he addresses her as “woman”, the same word he says to his mother on the cross; he restores her dignity; treats her as a person and doesn’t condemn her. It is a story of how God treats all sinners, including ourselves.

As you begin these reflections each day spend a few moments repeating the phrase “Speak Lord, your servant it listening.” Then read the short passage from Sunday’s readings until you have memorised it. Read the questions and give yourself time to deeply consider your response. Once you have reflected for a few minutes, speak to the Lord, as you would to a friend, about what you have reflected upon.

Sunday.

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in full view of everybody, they said to Jesus, ‘Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and Moses has ordered us in the Law to condemn women like this to death. What have you to say?’ (John 8:3-5)

  • Have you ever been caught doing something you shouldn’t?
  • Imagine what the woman must have been feeling.
  • Why do they want to kill her?
  • How does God feel about the treatment of this woman?

Monday.

They asked him this as a test, looking for something to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he looked up and said, ‘If there is one of you who has not sinned let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ (John 8:6-7)

  • Why are they so determined to trap Jesus?
  • What do you think Jesus was writing?
  • Notice the focus is now on Jesus, not the woman. How would that make her feel?
  • What is God telling you here?

Tuesday.

Jesus looked up and said, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she replied ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus ‘go away and don’t sin anymore. (John 8:10-11)

  • Jesus calls her ‘woman’, the same word he uses talking to his mother from the cross. What is the significance of that?
  • Have you ever condemned someone?
  • Have you ever been condemned by others?
  • Can you hear Jesus telling you that he doesn’t condemn you?

Wednesday.

I am no longer trying for perfection by my own efforts, the perfection that comes from the Law, but I only want the perfection that comes through faith in Christ, and is from God and based on faith. (Philippians 3:9)

  • When have you tried for perfection by your own efforts?
  • Is it even possible to reach perfection by your own efforts?
  • How does God bring us to perfection through faith?
  • Listen to the Lord who relieves you of the need to be perfect.

Thursday.

All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come; I am racing for the finish, for the prize to which God calls me upwards to receive in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

  • Can you forget the past? What baggage do you still carry?
  • What are you racing towards? What would be the prize you would seek?
  • Have you ever sensed God calling you upwards?
  • What is God saying to you about your future?

Friday

What marvels the Lord worked for us, indeed we were glad. Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage as streams in dry land. Those who were sowing in tears will sing when they reap.  (Psalm 125:3-5)

  • Make a list of the marvels that the Lord has worked in your life.
  • Go through the list and thank him for them all.
  • What is currently ‘sowing in tears’ in your life?
  • Listen to the Lord who has done marvels in your past and will continue to do marvels in your future.

Saturday

No need to recall the past, no need to think about what was done before. See, I am doing a new deed, even now as it comes to light; can you not see it? Yes I am making a road in the wilderness, paths in the wilds. (Isaiah 43:18-19)

  • How much time do you spend recalling the past negatively?
  • What is the new deed God is doing in your life today?
  • In your wilderness of your life what roads is the Lord making?
  • Spend some time asking to see clearly the Lord working in your life.
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