Last night I clicked on my first World News Headline in about a month. And it was one about a woman either in Iraq or Iran that had been caught in adultery and therefore the sentence was that she should be stoned to death. Meanwhile this hd been delayed for a couple of years for some reason, and people in England had found out about it and were upset that this still happens today and were signing a petition against her (or anyone else today) being stoned to death.
You know what? I don't know much about Arab culture, but the little bit that I do know, it amazes me how in several ways, from what I have heard, their punishment system still lines up with what God had set forth for the Israelites in the Old Testament.
God took and still takes sin VERY seriously. God commanded Israel to stone people to death for many different things. Sin was not some simple laugh-it off matter--and to God, even though we who believe have grace through our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us, it still is not something to "play around with" so to speak.
It is also interesting that stones were used for many things in the Old Testament--they could either be used to build an altar where an animal was sacrificed, where an animal died in the place of an individual because they sinned, stones could also be "markers of remembrance" to remind the Israelites what miraculous things God had done on their behalf so they would not forget, or stones could symbolize the very death of an individual for their sin. Interesting, huh?
In the New Testament, Jesus refers to Himself as the "Capstone" or the "Cornerstone"--the very Stone that holds the foundation of the Church of Believers together----think of the significance of that in light of what I just previously wrote----fascinating! ( Capstone: Psalm 118:22, Zechariah 4:7, Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11, 1 Peter 2:7) (Cornerstone: Job 38:6, Isaiah 19:13, Isaiah 28:16, Jeremiah 51:26, Zechariah 10:4, Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:6)
So when Jesus said what He did to the adulterous woman in John 8:1-12 think about the significance of what that would have been like in that day. The passage follows: "But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around 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, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Jesus did not condemn her---He was the ultimate fulfillment of the law and of grace.
So I guess it just makes me wonder, in reality, what this story would mean to that woman right now in Iraq or Iran who is facing this sentence of stoning? What would it mean to Muslim culture if we shared the gospel with them talking of the Old Testament Punishment for sin? Would they see that some of their laws in their culture were the same and finally understand in a TRUE WAY the living God and Savior Jesus Christ? (as the Gospel was adequately explained?) What would it feel like to her to know that there was another woman in her close predicament that Jesus did nor condemn? Would she want that too--forgiveness? A relationship with the One and Only living God? I guess I am just thinking..........
God is doing an amazing work in the Arab world to draw men and women and children to Himself-and many are paying the price by giving up their very lives on the basis of their profession of trust in Jesus Christ alone----they are disowned by their culture and families as a result as well. Today lets pray both for those in Arab culture and lifestyle that are both blinded to the truth of Jesus--that God would open their eyes and bring many more to Himself---and for those that know Jesus and are facing REAL LIFE persecution, unlike you and I will probably ever experience--that they would keep looking to Jesus and not deny Him no matter what it costs them---even to their very lives.
Have a blessed day in the Lord-I may write more tonight as God leads---we will see!