Slick church folk they’re still around.
You have to deal with them. I have to deal with them. And, yes, Jesus had to deal with them.
I’ve often say ‘there is always somebody in the congregation that the devil can use.’ Whether a believer or a non-believer, there is somebody who’s willing to play the devils hand.
Some people do it knowingly. Others are deceived into action. Satan knows who’s vulnerable and who’s willing. He knows those who will throw a rock and hide their hand. He knows the slick church folk that are still around.
And just as the devil would use them today to sow seeds discord among church members, he used them to challenge, test, and confront Jesus Christ. Thus we should not be surprised.
We’ve all heard of the scribes and Pharisees, church folk, who were bent on destroying Jesus Christ.
Any opportunity to slyly berate the Master, methodically destroy Him in the eyes of the common people, or belittle His mission, the scribes, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees leaped at the chance.
One day a grand opportunity presented itself when the scribes and the Pharisees caught a woman in the very act of adultery (John 8:1-11). And according to the law, it was a sinful act clearly deserving the death sentence.
To entrap Jesus the woman was brought to Him. And it was asked of Him, what should be done to the woman. Jesus confronters knew the law required that she be stone to death. They said: “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (v. 4-5).
Caring nothing for the disgraced woman, scribes and the Pharisees central motive was to serve charges against Jesus that He might be put to death. Understanding their motive, Jesus carefully unmasks the scribes and the Pharisees that they and all who looked on would see them for what they were, slick church folk.
Instead of an immediate answer to their inquiry, Jesus stooped down and began writing on the ground. Much has been said about the marks in the dirt. It is believe that the writings enumerated the sins of those accusing the woman. Thus revealing the dirt that marred their souls (v. 6).
To this we are not sure but whatever the case, as Jesus continued to write on the ground, the woman’s accusers continued to press Him for an answer (v. 7a).
Finally, Jesus gave them what they want. He said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground” (vv. 7b-8).
With those words ringing in their ears and being convicted of the deceit and treachery to which they approached Jesus, the scribes and the Pharisees shamefully departed from the presence of Jesus and the woman (v. 9).
Bringing matters to a dramatic conclusion, the woman departed forgiven as Jesus said to her, “Go, and sin no more.” And those who claim to know and serve the God of Israel departed condemned.
Slick, shrewd, and deceitful should not describe believers. For God has called us to a higher calling. But, like the church members of Jesus’ day, we, sometimes, deceive ourselves when we believe we can deceive God.
Remember God knows us through and through. He knows His sheep. And he knows the wolves in sheep’s clothing. The shrewdness of the wicked is never a match for the wisdom of the Master.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Artwork by Dr. Talley: "Untitled" Graphite on paper 11x14