Jesus’ approach to the darkness of His day is quite illuminating!
Here we have the perfect Man, the perfect Son of God coming into a world that is horribly imperfect. We would think that the task of perfection would be to point out imperfection. OR that perfection would make imperfection feel unbelievably uncomfortable (to the point of avoidance!).
Yet everywhere Jesus went, a crowd followed. People wanted to be near Him. All the imperfection felt drawn to Perfection. And it was not just because Jesus was the “popular show” of the day. Even after the “show” was over, Jesus would be welcomed into the homes of people who were definitely more often affiliated with imperfection.
It is telling that Jesus was called a “friend to sinners.” Think about that. Sinners actually desired to “hang out” with Jesus – and Jesus actually desired to “hang out” with them. They could feel that. They knew that He genuinely cared about them.
And because they were comfortable in His presence, they were wide open to what He had to say. And He often told them some “hard sayings.” He would speak God’s truth. But they listened. They heard what He had to say.
He had broken through the barrier to their darkened hearts and drawn them to the Light. He could speak into their lives because He had sowed into their lives.
Jesus came with the perfect approach to humanity. John tells us His secret: “We have seen His glory… as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…” (John 1:14, see v. 17 also) Jesus was the balance of the character of God and the nature of God. He was fully committed to what was true and right, from God’s point of view. But the truth was tempered by His commitment to love and mercy.
Jesus’ model was simple. Love on people. Show them compassion and mercy. Meet their needs. Refuse to condemn (even the guilty!), and do everything possible to let them know that they are precious in God’s Sight.
In that atmosphere of abundant grace, He was able to share the truth that shattered their misconceptions – and that pointed them to what was right and good.
They welcomed Jesus’ words because they were welcomed in His presence.
They felt the fullness of His grace before He unveiled the fullness of God’s truth.
There is no better example of this than that of the woman caught in adultery…
She was wrong. She was guilty. She was “caught in the very act.” She deserved the full punishment of God’s Law. She had merited the full brunt of unrelenting truth.
But Jesus’ solution was to extend God’s unmerited favor – His infinite love… And after her accusers left her, Jesus gave the lesson we ALL need to hear…
“Neither do I condemn you (Grace!)… but from now on sin no more (Truth!).”
Do you think she got the message? Do you think her life was impacted and changed? Would yours be?
Light is both grace and truth… but truth is only welcomed in the atmosphere of grace. When people know they are truly loved and unjudged, their hearts can be opened to receive the message that can liberate them from their chains of utter darkness.