This week kicked off our Fall Wednesday Night Worship season. I was so excited for us to begin our weekly worship service with the students. We began the night with a worship set that included "Afterlife" (Switchfoot), "Burning in My Soul" (Brett Younker), "Our God" (Chris Tomlin). We also showed a promotional video for the upcoming Global Student Week of Prayer and See You At the Pole.
This 2-week series is themed around Friday night football games and focusing on the phrase "What if a moment could change everything?" As we are leading up to this Global Student Week of Prayer and See You At The Pole, I have the full belief that this can be a moment where everything changes on our school campuses. I believe this can be a moment where we see Christ-following students take a stand like never before, and see them lead others to Jesus Christ. This series we will be thinking about this as a game-changing moment in our society.
Most everyone gets really excited about Fall as football season begins (not me as I'm a baseball fan). However there is something about Friday nights that brings this energy and excitement in the life of a teenagers. On Fridays, everyone wears their school colors, there are pep rallies, and at the game there is this excitement that encompasses everyone. You go to the game rooting for your favorite team, and in all honestly you usually know what the outcome of the game will be. However, I love the fact that sports can be so unpredictable. Maybe the game is going one way, but then all of the sudden there is a momentum shift. All of the sudden, the team that was behind has this new energy and in this moment everything changes. There have been plenty of momentum shifts in lives personally throughout time, which can encourage us to believe a momentum shift can happen on our school campuses as well.
We read the story of the adulterous woman in John 8:1-11 and broke it down.
Verse 1- It is important to see what has taken place before this moment. In the previous chapter, Jesus has been teaching in the temple, and the people around Him were divided on their opinions. Some believed Jesus to be the Christ, other thought He was a prophet, while others hated Him completely. As this occurred, Jesus leaves to go to the Mount of Olives. Jesus did this often to pray as we read in Luke 5:16.
Verse 2- Jesus goes back to business as usual, teaching in the temple. He did not allow the fact that people opposed Him to stop Him from accomplishing what was necessary.
Verses 3-6- The Pharisees and the Scribes who opposed Jesus, brought a woman caught in adultery into the temple courts. In this moment they brought her in her shame with the desire to not only ridicule her, but to try to trick Jesus. By Mosaic Law, the punishment for adultery was death by stoning. They wanted to see how Jesus would respond to this situation. If He said to not stone her, then He would lose His credibility as a teacher and rabbi. If He said to stone her, then His reputation as one who forgave and extended grace would be questioned. They thought they had Jesus in the corner and would be able to convince others to think like they did about Him. In this moment, the woman knew her life was over. She knew what the outcome of the situation would be. Her life was over in her mind.
Verse 6b- We see a response from Jesus that is honestly unlike anything we would ever do. He stoops down and writes in the sand. Theologians debate what He was writing. But it doesn't matter necessarily what He was writing. If it mattered then it would be in the Scriptures.
Verse 7- After they persist on a response from Jesus, He says something that speaks to us all. He told them that whoever had no sin in them was free to cast the first stone at her. Verse 8- He then began to write in the sand again to give them a moment to think about what He just said.
Verse 9- Here we see a "momentum shift". It looked this woman's life was over. However, those who were about to stone her realized they were without blame, and walked away. What looked to be a definite thing, completely changed in this moment with a momentum shift.
Verses 10-11- We see Jesus extend grace to the woman through forgiveness of her sins. If anyone had the right to condemn her, it was Jesus who lived a sinless and perfect life. However He extended grace that she did not deserve. He did not say to her to go live a better life, try harder, and attempt perfection and then He would forgive her. Instead, He told her to turn away from her life of sin as He had already forgiven her.
I am amazed as I read these verses. I see this amazing amount of grace extended to the woman by Jesus and know that He has extended this same grace to me as well. I challenged the students that this moment shift is an example of what needs to take place here:
1) If you have never experienced salvation through Jesus Christ, then that is the momentum shift that must first occur
2) If you have been saved by Jesus Christ, then you need to extend that grace to others by pointing them to salvation through Jesus Christ
3) We need to bring a momentum shift in our school campuses as I believe the time is now for revival to break out in our schools.
We closed with a time of reflection. I challenged the students to let God speak to them about what their step of action needs to be. We sang "Forever Reign", thinking about the love and greatness of Jesus, and saying that we will run to Him completely. Afterward we watched another video challenging them to organize prayer and See You At The Pole in their schools. Then we packed our Sack Packs that we send to a local school to feed 31 students who do not necessarily have enough food on the weekends when they are not at school. It was a great night and I am so glad to be back to our regular Wednesday Night Worship services.