(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: John Ch. 8 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
(vv.1-11) This woman, who was caught in adultery, was like a chessman used by the scribes and Pharisees to test Jesus and plunge him into a dilemma. They asked Jesus, “Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” If Jesus wanted to forgive her, it would be equivalent to seeing adultery as innocent and against the Law of Moses. If Jesus were to follow the Law of Moses and stone a woman to death, he would be going against the laws of the Roman government. It is because the Jews did not have the authority to kill anyone (John 18:31).
What we see is a large group of people (scribes and Pharisees) who knew they were sinful and their sins were either hidden or have never been confessed publicly. They wanted to trap a completely innocent person (Jesus) by his action in the face of an obvious crime (the woman who committed the adultery). In Jesus’ words, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” After that, all those who heard began to go away one by one until Jesus and that woman were the only ones left.
For those with hidden faults, they often think of themselves as more holy than others who have committed notorious crimes and always wanted to convict those people. The reality is we may be in such a situation ourselves. Between known crimes and hidden faults, which one are you tackling with right now? During your quiet time today, come to Jesus honestly and search your soul to identify at least one thing that is a 1) known crimes and 2) hidden fault. And then contemplate on what the Lord said: “…who is without sin among you…” and confess to the Lord. Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” By obedience to Jesus, the sins that originally affected us will be removed layer by layer, starting from the outward actions to the inner thoughts, so that we may be sanctified and be more pleasing to the Lord!
(vv.12-30) Jesus has revealed himself to mankind by the words he spoke… drinking water that would never leave a person thirsty and eating food that would never leave them to be hungry. Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world.” and letting the world know that “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Only those who are willing to believe and accept that He is the light of the world can have the light for their own lives. As for those who behave like the Pharisees who always rejected and refused to receive the true light, eventually they will walk in the dark and perish in their own sins.
Let us read the Bible and have daily devotions to be abiding in God. Let the true light become the guide that illuminates our daily lives and lead us to a clear and brighter path!
(vv.31-38) The teaching of Jesus indicated that if we want true freedom from the enslavement of sin, it must come from an understanding of truth. To truly understand the truth, we must follow his commands daily, that is, to follow Jesus. The words of Jesus are the truth. His actions demonstrated the truth. And Jesus himself is the truth. When we realize that Jesus is the Savior, we can be set free from the bondage of sins and follow Him with a new kind of freedom!
(vv.39-59) Jesus made it clear that the freedom of truth was not found in the Jews who debated with him. They stated that they were descendants of Abraham and children of God. But Jesus pointed out that they had not done what Abraham had done: that is, to believe in and obey God. Precisely because the Jews had always resisted Jesus, their actions revealed their disbelief and disobedience to God. To this end, Jesus also directly alleged that they belonged to their father, the devil.
Many people think that true freedom is the ability to be free, to do whatever they want – which is what the world has taught us and it is wrong! Jesus told us that true freedom is the ability to set free from the bondage of sins. That is, when you want to stop committing a crime, you can stop it and you will be truly free at that moment!
Let me share with you a story that I’ve heard before. An old smoker said to a Christian: “How limited you are to believe in Jesus as you said this cannot be done or that cannot be done.” You see! If I want to smoke a cigarette, I can smoke freely anytime and be so happy. So, he picked up a cigarette and smoked it. That Christian responded, “It seems you’re free to smoke, but in fact you can’t stop smoking, you don’t have the freedom not to smoke, because you’re completely addicted!” And I, can choose not to smoke, because I have the freedom not to smoke!
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)