John 8: 2-8
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered round him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
Philippians 2: 5-8
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death –
even death on a cross!
Our Christmas theme this year is ‘Love Came Down’ but it could be more appropriate to say that ‘Love Stooped Down’. In coming to earth, the Son of God left behind the glory and majesty of Heaven; He set aside His throne where He was worshipped by angels; He humbled Himself, entering a fragile womb, fully dependent on a young mother’s care; He restricted Himself to human limitations; and, He allowed Himself to experience pain and suffering on an unimaginable scale. This King ‘lowered’ Himself, He came down to our level, He stooped down to save us.
That’s also what we see in John 8 when Jesus is confronted by the religious rulers who are pressurising him to condemn a young woman caught in adultery. Jesus stoops down into the dirt and writes on the ground. He gets His hands dirty. Not only does this detract attention from the terrified, sin-shamed woman. It also shows identification with her. She is in the dirt physically and morally. Jesus stoops down towards her, He gets down into the dirt, He moves towards the mess.
We all have places in our lives that are a little messy. Relationships that are frayed at the edges. Habits that aren’t wholesome. Thoughts that aren’t so clean. Words and attitudes that have sharp edges. Hurts not yet completely healed. The good news is that we have a Saviour who doesn’t withdraw from the messes in our lives. He’s not put off by them. He’s not repulsed or repelled by the things we try so hard to hide. He moves towards the mess. He stoops down into it. He touches it and writes into the mess and dirt, a brand new story, one filled with grace, mercy and hope.