Our true identity.

Sunday, April 3rd 2022 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

Once again this week, we are reminded of what a loving and merciful God we serve. The theme of the readings for this fifth Sunday of Lent are summed up beautifully in today’s Gospel passage from John, which recounts the story of the woman caught in adultery. After all those who would have stoned this woman leave the scene, Christ says to her, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”

When we turn to God for forgiveness, He is indeed gracious and merciful. So much so, that not only will He forgive our sins without condemnation, He will also make us completely new creations in Christ.

What is more amazing is that this all-perfect and holy God of ours draws so very near to us. Our sins do not drive Him from us, but rather to us so that He can set us free from them. Look carefully at Christ’s actions and posture in the Gospel reading as He deals with both the crowd of people, the Scribes and Pharisees, and the adulterous woman. “All the people started coming to Him and he sat down and taught them.” “He bent down and began to write with His finger.” He “straightened up” when He confronted the Scribes and Pharisees about their own sins. And he “straightened up” when He assured the woman that He did not condemn her for her past. Like a skilled teacher, or loving “big brother,” Christ bends down to where we are, He sits among us, He stands to confront us when needed and He stands to look us in the eye to remind us of our true dignity.

We’re all unworthy of the great privilege of being called Jesus’ disciples. But that is simply cause for greater joy in serving Him and seizing the prize of God’s call to follow and imitate His son Jesus Christ.