I’d first like to say how thankful I am for the many responses and comments I’ve received. It means so much to me to know that God is touching lives through the truth of His Word.
Last month I shared with you how God wants us to have peace in difficult times. The night before Jesus went to the Cross, He participated in Communion (“the Last Supper”) with His disciples. He knew what the disciples would soon be facing, and He told them, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1). He was instructing them to have peace, even though they were going to face something very, very difficult — His crucifixion on the cross at Calvary. The good news is, God has not changed, and He never will. And He is still calling us to that place of peace no matter what is going on around us.
I want to show you from the gospel of John how Jesus faced very difficult circumstances, and how He walked in such a fierce and commanding peace that it would completely change a situation. Friend, we must get these truths planted deep inside our heart, learning how Jesus handled difficult situations — and not just read about them, but that we truly believe He lives in us so we also can move in this kind of peace.
In John 8:1, we read, “…Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.” The Mount of Olives is where Jesus would go to pray and be alone with the Father; it’s where He got His identity and the strength, encouragement, and peace He would need for whatever situation He would face on that day.
In verse 2, John continues, “Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.” We see that Jesus had gone early to the temple and a group of people surrounded Him. He was in the middle of teaching them when “…the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery…” (John 8:3). The rest of that passage reads, “…And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?’” (John 8:3-5)
Jesus was teaching and people’s lives were being touched by His words. He had their attention, and they were listening intently. Then all of a sudden, these very religious scribes and Pharisees came walking up in their religious clothing and their pompous and arrogant attitudes, and they interrupted Jesus! But Jesus remained calm and didn’t get upset with them for interrupting Him. As I continued reading these verses, I understood that it was the peace of God ruling in His heart that equipped Him to respond with such wisdom and strength.
Years ago, whenever I was preparing to sing for a performance, I would get anxious. And as I was trying to get ready, if my husband Rick asked me to do something, I would get so upset because he was interrupting me. He was interrupting my self-importance! You see, when we are all wrapped up in ourselves, we are not being ruled by peace. But not Jesus. He was absolutely ruled by the peace of God in His heart, and He was consumed with doing the will of God, not with self-importance.
Think about the last time you were interrupted. Did you get irritated? Were you impatient with the person who interrupted you? If so, I understand. As I mentioned, I used to get irritated when my husband would interrupt me — I was consumed with myself, and I had no patience for his interruptions. In those moments, I did not just calmly say, “Okay, what is it that you need me to do?” I was not being ruled by peace.
Those religious scribes and Pharisees were demanding an answer from Jesus concerning the woman caught in adultery. “What do You say?” they asked, testing Him — because according to Jewish law, if Jesus said that she should not be stoned, they could have accused Him of being a false prophet. But if He said she should be stoned, He was surpassing the laws of the Roman government.
But the peace of God operated and ruled in Jesus. He was not upset that these religious leaders had interrupted him or that they had asked him a difficult question. When peace is ruling in our hearts, we can answer difficult questions. Because instead of giving in to our thoughts and emotions, we can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit not only telling us to quiet ourselves, but also telling us what to do.
John 8:6 continues, “…But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though he did not hear [their accusations of this woman].” The Pharisees continued asking Him, “What do You say? Tell us, Teacher. Oh, You who are so wise, what are You going to do?” The Bible says in the next verse that “…He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first’” (John 8:7).
What an amazing statement! The religious leaders came with accusations, but Jesus responded, “Before you throw your stones, check yourself.” Oh, friend, this statement is so powerful for us today. Maybe you’ve wanted to “throw a stone” at someone else because you did not understand his or her actions. You may have wanted to judge or condemn someone — maybe not with your words, but with your thoughts as you stood there with a stone in your hand, ready to accuse and cast judgment on that other person (or other people) who had disappointed you.
Jesus said to those religious leaders, “Let the one who is without sin go ahead and cast the first stone.” But none of them was without sin. And I believe Jesus is asking each of us this question: When you are wronged or disappointed by someone else’s actions, do you have the right to throw your stones of disapproving thoughts or words of judgment toward that person? In other words, are you without sin?
Of course, you and I both know that Jesus is the only One without sin. But Jesus did not pick up stones and join in with the accusers. The Bible says that Satan is the accuser of the brethren (see Revelation 12:10). And, dear friend, we want to be on the same side as Jesus and not have stones in our hands ready to accuse and judge someone. We do not want to be on the side of the accuser — agreeing with Satan — accusing, judging, and condemning. Instead, we need to recognize that we have been forgiven much.
I am not justifying the sin of this woman who was caught in adultery. And I am not saying that sin is okay or that it’s not a big deal, because Jesus has forgiven us. Jesus suffered a horrible death on the Cross because the power of sin had separated us from the Father. Jesus doesn’t look at our sin and say, “Oh, that’s okay.” He says, “I took your punishment; I became sin for you so that you do not have to suffer the consequences. And because I have forgiven you and have broken the power of sin over your life, you have the power to throw down any stones and stand against the accuser.”
God has given you and me the same power to be ruled by peace that He gave Jesus. When we feel wronged and are tempted to pick up a stone, we have the power of peace within us to leave those stones on the ground and out of our hands.
This story concludes with all those religious leaders leaving one by one until Jesus and the woman were left standing alone. “…And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more’” (John 8:10,11).
But how was that woman able to “go and sin no more”? She was victorious over sin because of the love of God and the peace of God that was operating in Jesus. That love and peace had so much power that it completely changed her. And that’s the same power that you and I have inside us by the Holy Spirit — the powerful love of God, and the powerful peace of God. And as we fellowship with Him and seek Him more every day, we can become intimately acquainted with the Greater One inside us so that we can more freely operate in this kind of love and peace.
I’d like to share a powerful story. Many years ago, there was a very precious man who loved God with all his heart; his name was David Wilkerson. David Wilkerson would go into the very darkest and most dangerous places in New York City, and he would preach Christ to the most violent and dangerous gang members.
One day, David Wilkerson spoke to a young man who had a knife in his hand. David Wilkerson said to this young man, “Jesus loves you.”
The young man said, “Say that one more time, and I’ll cut you into pieces.”
David Wilkerson said to the man, “If you cut me into pieces, then every piece of me will say to you, ‘I love you.’”
At that moment, the young man’s hardened heart was broken by the love of God that was flowing through David Wilkerson. That young man was Nicky Cruz, and he became a powerful evangelist, who is still in the ministry today.
It’s easy to understand that this power of love and peace flowed through Jesus, but it also flows through human beings like David Wilkerson — and you and me! If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then this power is inside you, so you have everything you need to be like Jesus to this lost and hurting world. The peace that was and is inside Jesus, and the peace that was inside David Wilkerson, is the same peace that is inside you and me. That’s powerful!
This month we celebrate Easter — the resurrection of Jesus. And it says in Romans 8:11, “But if the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Did you get that? The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside you! Dear friend, I encourage you to spend time with God in prayer and in His Word every day so you can learn more and more about who you really are on the inside and the power that you have on the inside through the Person of the Holy Spirit.
As always, thank you for spending this time with me. I’d also like to invite you to join me for my program, TIME With Denise Renner, on Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m. CT on YouTube and Facebook. You can also find me Saturdays at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. CT on GospelTruthTV and Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. CT on PTL, or you can access my podcast on Spotify, Apple, and Google!
But we sure would love to pray with you! If you have a special prayer request, please reach out to us. You can call us at 1.800.742.5593 or email us at email@example.com. We are waiting to hear from you and are ready to join our faith with yours to see God’s power manifested in your life. Have a wonderful Easter celebrating our resurrected Lord — and His resurrection power inside you!
We are moving forward together,