Bible Reading: John 8:1-20
Jesus has called us to be part of His redemptive team…not to be a prosecuting attorney. Some people forget that. When they encounter someone who has sinned…their first response is to pass judgment. But, Jesus has given us the responsibility to help that person to be redeemed.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
When I was in High School we lived in a town in central Florida that was located along the banks of the Peace River. It wasn’t a huge river, like the Mississippi. In fact, I could easily throw a rock across it in many places. But there were some spots where the water got pretty deep and ran swift. At some places, small tributaries, or streams, would veer off of the main River for a while, run through the woods, and then reconnect, further downstream.
One time, three of us were canoeing down the river. We spent several days and nights…paddling during the day and camping at night…and laughing at each other almost the entire time. We came to one of the tributaries and decided to follow it through the woods and see where it led. It was pretty wide and flowing strong enough to keep us moving at a good pace. But before long, it started getting narrower and there were lots of small trees and brush in it…with limbs sticking out everywhere. Those limbs grabbed our paddles and made it very difficult to control the canoe. By then, because it was narrower, the water was rushing pretty fast. Suddenly, the water forced our canoe into a real thick clump of bush limbs. No matter how hard we tried we couldn’t get out…we were stuck. So, I decided to get into the water and try to dislodge the canoe. It just took a couple of minutes and we broke through. I was holding on to the back of the canoe with one hand…when the next thing I knew I was violently jerked under water without having the chance to get a breath of air. It felt like a giant hand had grabbed me by the foot and was dragging me down. Actually, my foot had gotten wedged into a submerged tree limb about 5 feet below the surface. The water was rushing so fast that it was forcing me down as deep as my foot. I strained to reach my hands back to my foot but the water was pushing me too hard. I didn’t have any air…my chest started to burn, and I felt light-headed. I grabbed my leg and pulled by body towards my foot…then reached out with one hand and grabbed the limb. Finally, I was able to get both hands on the tree limb, pull my body towards it, and push my foot out of the wedge. The moment that happened, the power of the water was so strong that I couldn’t hold onto the limb. For a moment it felt like I was going down the drain in a sink as the water swept me downstream. With one last effort I pushed myself upward and came busting through the surface. You cannot imagine how amazing that first lungful of air felt. That day, I literally came within a breath…of drowning.
Did you know that drowning is the 4th leading cause of accidental death in the U.S.? Look at these statistics about drowning…
- In the U.S., there are an average of 3,536 swimming related drownings each year, approximately 10 every day.
- One quarter of drowning victims are people who know how to swim.
- It only takes 2 inches of water for someone to drown.
- Young children 2-4 years of age have a higher risk of drowning than any other age group. Most of these children are alone and playing near water when they fell in and drowned. The backyard swimming pool is the riskiest site for these youngsters.
- 4 out of every 10 drownings happen within 7 feet of shore, or the poolside. And one-quarter happen in shallow water 4 feet deep, or less.
- Twenty percent of all drownings occur at private homes.
- The best scientific evidence available tells us that 1.2 million people around the world die by drowning every year. That’s more than 2 persons per minute.
- The International Life Saving Federation estimates that over 1,000,000 rescues are made each year in the world by certified lifesavers and lifeguards.
Have you ever been at the beach, or at a pool, and seen the Lifeguards in their stands? They are carefully watching the people in the water. If they see someone in a dangerous place where there is a rip-current, or the water is too deep, they blow their whistle and warn them. Sometimes telling them to move, or to get out of the water, completely. But occasionally, it’s too late. Suddenly a person begins to go down…they can’t swim…the undercurrent has caught them…they’ve developed a cramp…they’ve run out of air…they’re too tired…and they are going down. They are about to drown. Someone has to do something. That’s when the Lifeguard goes into action. He (or she) grabs a flotation device and sprints towards the person…dives into the water…swims to them…throws them the flotation device…and pulls them to safety. At least, that’s how it is supposed to happen. Sadly, though, it doesn’t always end that way and the person drowns.
Let me ask you something. If you were at the beach and someone was drowning…what do you think would be the most important to do…
- Shout at the person and say, “You shouldn’t swim there. It is clearly marked, ‘Thou shalt not swim in this area.’ You’re gonna’ drown, now.”
- Or, rescue the person and keep them from drowning?
I think that we should rescue them. We don’t need people standing around telling us that we are drowning. That’s just stupid. We need people to rescue us…to show us how to be saved. Then, they can tell us to not swim there, anymore.
One day, a group of Jewish leaders brought a woman to Jesus who was drowning. Not drowning in water…but, in sin. You see, she was a very immoral woman and had been caught doing something very bad by these leaders. So, they drug her to Jesus. In a way they said, “She knew better than to swim in that area. Our law says that if you swim in that area you deserve to drown. What do You think?” Jesus was deeply disturbed. Here was a woman who was drowning in sin…and all those men could do was shout and tell her that she deserved to drown. Finally, Jesus said, “Well, if that’s what you think the law means, then you’ve got to follow it. So, let the one of you who has never, ever swam in a place that you weren’t supposed to swim…be the first one to push her head underwater.” They looked at the woman. They looked at each other. They looked at the crowd. They looked at Jesus. They couldn’t do it. Not one of them. Because every one of them knew that at one time, or another, they had broken their own laws, as well. They had all swam in a place…where they weren’t supposed to swim. One, by one, they walked away.
Now, listen to what Jesus did. He dove into the water…grabbed her by the hand…and brought her to shore. He saved her. Then He said, “Now, don’t swim there, any more.” You see, He fully intended to tell her that she was doing wrong…she was sinning. But, He was more interested in rescuing her first…than He was in standing on the shore and watching her drown.
The sad part is that even today…some people are more interested in pointing out that someone is drowning…than they are in rescuing them.
Do you know someone who is drowning? They are obviously involved in some kind of sin…doing something that God has forbidden. What are you going to do? Are you going to stand on the shore and shout at them? Or, are you going to help them? I think that we should be Life-guards…not Sin-judgers. Don’t misunderstand. Sin, is sin…and we should warn people about its dangers and consequences. But when a person is drowning what they need is for someone to pull them out of the water…not push them under the water. If you see someone drowning, today…throw them a flotation device. Tell them, “Jesus saves.”
Love you more than bunches and bunches,