John Gray - The Power of Again
A wanna keep our focus on that woman. First of all, it was early in the morning. Jesus is teaching in the synagogue. People are there. But the scribes and pharisees, the people who should be leading worship were too busy plotting and planning because they were insecure about the authority Jesus carried. They were looking for a reason to invalidate his anointing, his gifting, his popularity. And here in this story the ones who should have known who he was and what he stood for brought in somebody that he was getting ready to die for. They had no clue about the character of Jesus, the passion of Jesus, his commitment to the broken.
There's some folk in green chairs and purple seats and at home sitting at a computer desk or listening by CD when you get this that need to know that no matter where you are at what stage of life you are, there's blood for that. I don't know if I got the right church in here. I said there's blood for that. Sometimes we come in here a little too casual not remembering the great price that was paid, the tragedy of a sham trial and a man innocent in his own self who took my guilt, paid my price, died my death so I could live his life. And then you expect me to come in here and act like I got some sense. I'm sorry. I got to wave and jump. The pharisees were the keepers of the law. You must protect the law. No one must break the law.
You know, when you have ever been pulled over for a ticket, sir, you know how fast you were going? Going 83 in a 70 zone. I'm sorry, sir. I know you're sorry, but it's the law. You broke the law. Actually that's a misnomer. I didn't break the law. I transgressed the law. Forgive us our transgressions. I can transgress the law. I can never break the law because if I could break the law then it wouldn't be the law. Laws can't be broken. They can only be transgressed, but the law was still there. If I broke it, then everybody could drive how they want. I broke the law! Come on! It's Nascar! Let's go, Jimmy Stewart. I'm just saying. Dale Junior, he'll never win a sprint cup.
Anyways, so get this in your spirit. You can't break the law. You can transgress the law, but the law is still there after you mess up. So the pharisees are the protectors of the law. We must stop people from doing wrong. Where we've missed it is there are many people today pointing the finger at every broken place in people. Oh, look what you're doing. Hey! Cut it out! Are you drinking? Hmm. Who are you sleeping with? Hey, wait a minute!
Let me tell you something, this room is filled with everything this Bible says don't do. And the power of God is that he still receives our worship. I need somebody to give God an anyhow worship. Yes, I failed, but he loves me. Yes, I missed it, but he cares for me. I know I'm in process, but while I'm in the process I'll praise. I dare you to give him three seconds of a praise break. It's one thing to be falsely accused. It's another thing, Jackie, when you did it. We always, I was framed! It wasn't me. But right here the pharisees said, now we're gonna see what he's going to do. He's been stretching out withered hands. He's been healing people through the roof.
You know what I'm saying? Opened blind eyes, all kinds of stuff. The woman with the issue of blood shouldn't even have been out of her house. It was illegal forewomen during that time of the month to be in public, and he's just breaking the law. I'm sick of it! Now, he's the only one that could break the law because he was the law. I wish I could get a praise in here. Can I act up, pastor, just for a second? He is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. Ha ha. He said, I'm Lord of the sabbath. I run this. Jesus was showing the religious elite, the protectors of the law, you're missing the point of the law. The law is not to show you, you better follow this. Ooh! You better follow it. It's to show you, you could never follow it. The only one that could has paid the price so that you don't have to live up under it. That is the power of Jesus.
I know I can't keep all the commandments. I know I can't honor the Levitical law. I know I'll mess up one of the feast days. I know I'll have some sin that I'll commit without knowing. I know I'd be killing all kinds of doves, turtles, goats, rams. I'm glad I didn't live in the Old Testament. I wouldn't have enough money to give the right offering for the amount of sin that I committed, but Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God who was slain before the foundation of the whole world paid my price. Jesus interacts with this woman. Pharisees thought, we got one now. We got one. We caught her. She was, we caught her in the act. We were there.
See, y'all missed that. How you'd catch her in the act unless you were somewhere watching? Nasty. How did you catch her unless you set her up? It ain't like people walking around, hey, just wanted you to know I'm about to commit adultery over here. Meet me at the hotel, and be right outside the door because clearly I want to be stoned as soon as this is over. She didn't advertise it. She was set up. And where was the man? We pick and choose who we want to condemn. He went home to a wife that didn't have power in that culture. But this woman was dragged in front of everybody as a public display of failure, brokenness. And they were right according to the law. Not knowing that they threw the law in the face of grace.
Do you hear what I'm saying to you on this camera? Do you hear the words that are coming out of my mouth? Will somebody give God a praise for the grace found in Jesus Christ? The reason why Jesus ignored them is because grace ignores the law. It has to because he fulfilled it already. We caught her in the act. They didn't realize what Jesus was. Ha. Jesus, the son of man and the Son of God, Jesus who angels announced to shepherds in a field, Jesus, prophesied by Isaiah, Jesus, the rightful heir to the throne of David, Jesus, the sinless lamb, 33 years of a sinless life, Jesus who could have thrown a rock himself didn't pick up a stone, Jesus meets this woman in her most vulnerable, broken, unclean moment exposed to the whole world. And she was wrong. And Jesus totally ignores the people that brought her.
I want you to know that the people that are plotting to take you down have been ignoring by heaven. I just want you to know God didn't get the memo. He didn't receive the text. It's an invalid number. God doesn't respond to law. He responds to grace. This woman who should have been stoned on the spot Jesus says hey, anybody here who shouldn't be on the ground with her, you pick up the first rock. Theologians have debated for centuries what Jesus wrote in the ground. I don't know what I wrote, but I know who he was. He's the author and finisher of my faith.
What I believe in my heart Jesus was writing is, once upon a time, there was a little girl, and her father died and her mother had to raise her in a culture that didn't honor femininity, and she was abused or maybe she was hurt or maybe she wasn't properly covered, so in a society that didn't value women, she got lost in the shuffle and she got caught up in bad relationships, and before you know it she became the one that everybody passed around. She was the joke, the byword, the laughing stock. She was the easy one, the easy target.
I believe Jesus was writing once upon a time, but here come the pharisees and scribes in the middle. Jesus wrote her beginning while they were trying to bring you into the middle of a worship moment and then said, hey, if you shouldn't be right next to her, throw a stone. And when she got quiet, he started writing the end. And then I showed up. And they brute her before me, and I gave her another chance again because I'm Savior, Lord, and I am the again.
Jesus did not judge this woman based on her activity. He dealt with her based on her anointing. God never wastes the anointing. I don't care what you've done or what you're walking through or where you're at in your life, God is not finished with you yet. Pastor declared at the beginning of the year that the shift is on, and whatever you were, God is shifting you how the of that thing. Shift. That's why you're not as comfortable as you were a few months ago in that relationship that you know ain't God. You ain't let it go yet, but you shifted. You ain't glad to see him like you used to be.
You're like mmm, come on in. Whatever. But a month from now you're going to have enough strength to keep the door locked. You going to let me in? No! I'm in here with a real man. Come see a man who told me everything I ever did. Come meet Jesus. Let's have a Bible study. Shall we? Jesus wrote in the dirt because he was not dealing with her fruit. He wanted to deal with her root. The church loves beating up people for their fruit, but we don't know the root. So Jesus began writing in the dirt. I believe as he wrote just that small impression with his finger was enough earth to uproot that broken woman and delicately plant her in the word that God had already declared for her. Jesus was repotting a plant that had been malnourished by the brokenness of her experience. She was not finished being developed, and the scribes wanted to cut her off, and Jesus said, I won't cut her off! I'll prune her, and I'll replant her. Can I get somebody to praise God in here?
You don't know what God has done for me. You don't know why I praise like I do. But I know where he uprooted me from, and now I'm in a spacious place. I'm in a healthy atmosphere. I'm in a place where my marriage can thrive and my children are safe. I'm blessed! And I know what he did for me. He should have cut me off. And I'm not the only one. I'm not the only one. You can stand there smug if you want to, unaffected if you want to, but I know what he did for me. I know how he healed me. I know how he saved me. And he didn't just save me once. He saved me again and again and again and again.
That's the power of Jesus. He's not just Savior. He's not just Lord. He is the again. The Bible declares, every now and again, every now and again you just need to take an inventory because there are people that always want to bring up your again. Remember that one time? Remember what you're still going through now? Yeah. But for every now there's an again. Every now and again. See, my now, my bad now has no authority over my next again. See, my past bad reputation boughs to no condemnation. And this is where we are.
Proverbs 24:16 says a just man falls seven times, and it says, but he gets up. It didn't say a bad man, pastor. I would get it if a bad man, but you're a mess. Get up. This is a good one. A just man falls 7 times. Get up. The good ones, get up. I don't know where you are, but if you're in here you're a good one. I'm not talking about your activity. I'm talking about the posture of your heart, the fact that you're even in here fighting, struggling through it shows you love God. You want more of God. I celebrate your struggle. I celebrate your fight. You're in the middle of an again. I know you fell, but at least you got up again. I know you did it last night, but at least you're here again. I know that it hurts, but you've got another again! We've been given the anointing of again. We've been given the grace of again.
Matthew 18:21 and 22, Peter says, "'...How often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'i do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven'". Every time he does wrong, forgive him the same way the father forgives you. Let's start having grace for other people's again. Let's stop beating up people because of where they are in their process. Let's stop tearing them down because God's not finished with their story.
And as I close, it's a nice way of saying please don't go, I want you to know that Jesus didn't leave this woman off the hook. He said to her go and sin no more which means she was wrong, and she deserved the punishment, but because he knew that not many days from that moment he was going to take her punishment, he went on and prepaid for it. You don't hear me. I want you to know that the blood is a spiritual credit card that we don't even have our name on. It's in Jesus name, and every time we fail he swipes it paid. Every transgression, paid. Every time we confess it and repent, paid. But what if you go back again? Paid.
I want you to know there will never come a time when there's insufficient funds. I want you to know you've got an account filled with the blood of Jesus for every again you'll ever face. I want you to know that you have stepped into the power of again. I want you to give God an again praise. I know it's time to go, but I want you to know that no matter what you've done or where you've been or no matter how many times you've done it, the moment you confess, turn, repent, there is another again.
Just like when my son was learning to walk, he would fall, I'd pick him up and say come on, son. Try again. And he'd fall, but he'd get up and he'd be smiling because he saw his father still had his arms outstretched. That's a good boy. Come on, son. Try it again. So what if he falls. That's my boy, and as long as I'm breathing he's got an advocate. I know you've failed. I know you've missed it. So have i, but the father is saying, come on. Get up. I believe in you. I'm proud of you, and you look just like me because you were created in my image. Get up again. Try again. Live again. Love again. Praise again!