We Must Answer Well, part 6: Jesus and Sex
Part 6? Dave, it took a long time to get here.
Yes, it did. If our kids have read the Bible on their own enough to be shaped by it, great. But if we rush the Bible searching for answers, we’ll grab our answers, our tone, not the Bible’s tone.
We have looked at John the Baptist and the Gospel in order to draw out some points:
- God graciously warns people about the coming wrath against sin,
- God gave John the Baptist the Holy Spirit,
- John spoke regarding God’s law,
- repentance, baptism, forgiveness all seem to go together,
- Jesus is the Lamb of God for the world, and the offer of salvation is open to “whoever believes”
- and Jesus is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.
(Again, if you haven’t been along for the whole ride, to read in order, click: Answer Well)
Now let’s look at Jesus interacting with those involved in sexual sin.
So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?”
Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
So far, so good. Jesus is offering eternal life. Eternal life to a woman whose culture was hated by the Jews. But Jesus came for “whosoever.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.”
He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.”
The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”
Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”
Notice that this “I-see-your-sin” statement is not the vantage point from which Jesus chooses to start the conversation. He is not drawing her sin to the surface to condemn her. She has asked Him for the water He offered her. He’s not trying to push her away or shame her. He has offered her eternal life. But she does have this sin, and He’s willing to bring it up. Factually. Truthfully.
How does she take it?
The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”
Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.”
Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
She doesn’t deny it. The truth is told, and she doesn’t deny it. In fact, she brings up worshiping God and a disagreement on the location in which worship should take place. ‘How great is the distance we must go to get to God? Our fathers worshiped here, Your people say we must worship over there.’
Jesus doesn’t condemn her as a sinner, nor does He deny her desire to worship.
He does NOT say ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about, plus you’re a sinner so forget about getting close to God.’
No! Not at all. Instead, Jesus tells her exactly what the Father is seeking: worshipers who worship in spirit and in truth.
And then SHE brings up the topic of Messiah.
And Jesus lets her in on who He is.
Who but God can navigate a conversation like this? From ‘our cultures say we’re supposed to hate each other’ to ‘offering eternal life’ to ‘revealing sin’ to ‘what true worship looks like’ to ‘I am the Messiah.’
Clearly, we need God in our conversations.
If we finish the story out, we see a group of people come to faith in Christ. How? The woman Jesus engages and confronts runs around town, confessing before people that this stranger knows the sins she has committed. And the people come out to see Jesus.
What if Jesus had never mentioned her sin? What if He knew about it, but chose to leave it hidden? How many people would have not repented if Jesus had chosen to ‘graciously’ say nothing?
Again, we see that being gracious is not the same as remaining silent.
And yet, Jesus has a way of speaking:
Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him.
But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”
In the story of the woman at the well, Jesus confronted the woman with her sin in a public place, but in a private way. He did not expose her to others. The woman chose to make her sin public.
In this story, other people confront Jesus with a woman’s sin, and He confronts them back, pointing out that they are sinners too, and making the point that only he who is without sin should be able to condemn sinners. When all the accusers have left, and Jesus and the woman are “left alone,” Jesus does not condemn her for her sin, but he does command her to stop sinning.
We are sinners. We cannot occupy the place of the one who condemns, because we ourselves are sinners.
Jesus is without sin, but He did not come to the world to condemn either, but to save. The one who can condemn is not, right now, condemning. But He is commanding. And the command is to stop sinning.
Do we get to command? No. But we can encourage someone to stop.
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
We can encourage people to follow Jesus, to not walk in darkness, but to receive Jesus and the life He offers.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”
This is densely packed. Believe on Jesus, be His disciple, live life according to His teaching, know the truth, be set free.
Set free? Set free from what?
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
Sin. Sin is a slave master. People cannot set themselves free from sin. Jesus sets them free. And this circles back to:
“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
Believe on Jesus, be His disciple, live life according to His teaching, know the truth, be set free.
The truth is good. The truth should not be tampered with. We should tell the truth.
And yet… if we skip over believing on Jesus, becoming His disciple and turning a life toward His teaching, we can drill someone all day with the truth and get nowhere. We can’t skip over the point of walking in the Light.
(To read in order, click: Answer Well)