John Day 9: No Condemnation

Breakout by Barry Boobis. “This Jesus Christ painting was inspired by Mikhail Baryshnikov. It is about transcending boundaries. Done on multi-panels to represent different energy fields, all lines are being crossed – symbolizing spiritual elevation!”

Gospel of John Reading Plan
Day 9 Reading:
John 5:16-47

Bringing the Word to Life
Make a list of the places and situations where you see the Father “at work.” Where is the Father inviting you to join in?

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. – John 5:24 (KJV)

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.- John 5:24 (NIV)

Observation
After Jesus heals on the Sabbath, the Jewish leadership question Jesus. Jesus responds with a testimony that he is God’s son. The leaders’ response is to “try all the harder to kill Jesus.” Why? Because they see him as doubly blasphemous – 1) for breaking the Sabbath laws (healing = working on the Sabbath) and 2) claiming to be equal to God (God’s son = equal to God). I had forgotten how dangerous Jesus’ life was throughout his life, not just the last few weeks of it.

There will always be people in church who prefer an argument to a healing.
– Bishop Peter Storey

A reading of the writings of the early desert fathers and mothers reveals their outright refusal to condemn another person.  They did not do this because they felt sin did not matter, but rather because they did not feel someone else’s sin was worse than their own. To them, condemnation was a form of self-righteousness, that is, a conclusion that they were superior to the other person.  They could not bring themselves to do this when their starting point was, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Instead of condemnation, they offered compassion, and encouragement toward confession, so that the fallen brother or sister could find the healing grace of God.  The sinning friend felt “lifted up” rather than “beaten up” by this approach. – Steve Harper

Application
I was struck by the word condemnation/condemned. “Shall not come into condemnation” and “Will not be condemned” (Some translations use the word judge or judgment instead condemned.) By the grace of God in Christ Jesus we are not condemned in the last judgment. Yet there is so much more. That gift of no condemnation is also given in the here and now. Amazing! How often do we struggle with condemnation, thinking God condemns us. How often do we condemn others in an effort to affirm ourselves? How often do we condemn ourselves! We are often harder on ourselves than God is.

Prayer
Merciful One, Liberating One, you break the chains. You open the prison doors. You pardon instead of condemn. Yet we keep ourselves locked away from your love and light and joy. Emancipate us once and for all from condemnation. Silence the inner critics. They are liars. Open our eyes to see we are free and open our hearts to accept it in full. Take away everything that keeps us from the wholeness we can enjoy today and everyday thanks to your healing and forgiveness. Glory and honor be to you Jesus, our Rescuer and Redeemer, our Freedom Fighter. Amen.

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For more information on the Gospel of John Reading Plan, click here

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