Welcome to Saturday Share!
The purpose of this weekly feature is to provide a space for regular people to share their real-life encounters with Jesus. It’s about living in the middle – on the way to the finish line. If we still have breath to tell our stories then our race isn’t finished.
I believe we sharpen one another and delight God’s heart when we testify of His great work in our lives. Be encouraged to put one foot in front of the other, and spur someone on while you’re at it!
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT
I am honored to introduce to you, my feature Saturday Share writer:
The Gospel Changes Everything
By Quantrilla Ard
I love watching animated bible stories with my kids on Friday evenings and Saturdays after church. It brings me joy to see them learning about biblical truths and taking them to heart. Many of the stories are tailored specifically for children, so I watch a bit distracted, to say the least. But every now and then, something will grab my heart and move me in such a way that I can’t help but respond to the message.
Today (I’m actually writing this on a Saturday), I happened upon a trilogy of videos on one our streaming services about Jesus, the disciples, and the spreading of the gospel. Focusing on Christ’s ministry years, the second video drew me in when it highlighted the story of the woman caught in adultery. This particular thing isn’t my sin-issue – if it is or isn’t yours either, just keep reading – God has a way of making the ground level.
When the Pharisees brought the woman to Jesus, He was teaching the crowds that had gathered. Hoping and eager to trap Jesus with religious semantics, they proudly announced that they had caught her in the act of adultery. In John 8:1-11, this ordeal plays out in public, to the great horror and shame of the woman. The religious leaders “told” Jesus about the Mosaic law stating that a woman in a compromising situation such as this one should be stoned. Then they asked Him what He thought. I submit to you that they didn’t have any idea what was coming.
Jesus proceeds to write in the sand, right where they are standing! The bible doesn’t give us the details of what was written in the sand, but the woman’s accusers immediately retreat after Jesus’ powerful words, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her (vs.7, CSB).” He then continues to write in the sand, until not one of the men who shamed her was left.
… I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love... Ephesians 3:17-18 CSB
I watched this scene with intense interest and the tears began to pool in my eyes. Jesus asked her who was left to condemn her. She answered that no one was left. He tells her to go in peace because He didn’t condemn her either. Can you imagine the immediate relief and the weight that was lifted from her? I absolutely can because I’m struggling with a thing also. A thing that makes me feel defeated every time I fail. I can relate to the anguish and guilt this woman felt as these treacherous individuals presented her to Jesus. They presented her not in the way they should have as the spiritual teachers they pretended to be, but as agents of wickedness and deceit; and in the process, they compounded more pain on this woman who was no more than a pawn to them.
As agenda-driven as these men were, God had another in mind. A heavenly one. One that hasn’t changed since the dawning of time. Regardless of the accuser, the sin-issue, the crowd to whom we are exposed, God’s heart for us is to know the length and width, height and depth, of His faithful love for us (Ephesians 3:18). His love reaches deep down into our souls, forgives us, and redeems us to Him. Then He picks us up by the hand, asks us where are those who condemn us, and shows us they are no longer there. He gives us peace and sends us on our way. I am so thankful for the gospel in that bible story. It changed the life of a woman over 2,000 years ago, and it changed mine today. The gospel truly changes everything.