By Elaina Ayala
Jesus is our Redeemer.
He is not afraid of sin, nor is He afraid of pain. He proved that thoroughly. Religion shudders at the sight of sin, Jesus rushes in with compassion. Religion judges what it sees on the surface; Jesus redeems wholly and entirely.
When the Pharisees tried pressuring Jesus into condemning the woman caught in the act of adultery, He said these words that will forever burn in our hearts, “…let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8:7)
The only one left standing was Jesus. If anyone had the authority to condemn this woman, it would have been Him. But our Jesus wasn’t concerned with His reputation among the religious community. His sole focus was pleasing His Father; redeeming a lost daughter. Jesus wasn’t put off by her sin, but He didn’t leave her in it either.
He left her with the resounding phrase, “Go and sin no more”.
This wasn’t just an exception in Scripture, Jesus consistently stirred things up in that way and waged war on the social norms of the day. He jumped over manmade systems for the one; as He did for you and me. When we were dead in our sin, He rushed in.
If this is the pattern we see in the One we live for, as believers, we have to ask ourselves the hard questions: Do we rush in or are has religion pressured us into submission? Has the obsession of our social status caused us to be conflict-avoidant and messy-people-intolerant? Is our capacity to relate to the pain of others too small?
In our culture, we hear many trendy ideologies about success — that sound really good — but often times, subtly undermine some of core the attributes of our faith — things like: patience, loving thy neighbor, compassion, and redemption. All of this, is of course, done in the “name of success”, because those things are absolutely inconvenient.
What then, is the result if those things are removed? Self-centeredness where people care mostly about themselves and their image. A worldview that perceives the hearts of others as unimportant and inconvenient. In the Christian context: performance based, void of Christ, systematic religion.
But we are not of this world. Jesus tells us, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Jesus is our standard, He is our model, He is our confidence. “As He was, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). We have to live with this conviction: that anything that dismisses our personal role of redemption, is not for us.
Redemption begets redemption. We have been redeemed and since we are not righteous on our own merits, but Christ’s, we have to catch His heart on this… His heart is redemption.
I challenge you today to open your heart by recounting the redemptive works of Jesus in your life and reach out to someone you’ve overlooked. Bring lift to a low place, be generous in compassion, and allow Jesus to shine through your acts of kindness.