there is a well-known story of a woman who is brought before Jesus for committing adultery.

the crowd and the religious leaders are bloodthirsty and ready to stone her [they have even selected their weapons of choice] when Jesus intervenes and turns the whole circus court on its head and the crowd melts away until it is just Jesus and the woman.

“Has anyone condemned you?”

“No? Well then neither do I.”

And we love this story. We drink it up. We preach great sermons on grace and forgiveness and ask the pointed questions of, “Well where was the man cos surely it takes two people to…”

 

i was thinking this evening about ‘obedience’ – it’s a much harder sell, isn’t it?

it feels like ‘obedience’ has been locked away with all the negative manipulationary ways of ‘getting people to follow Jesus’ like the warning about hell and damnation if you don’t… no, today we have to invite people into a relationship. and there needs to be a strong emphasis on grace.

“Has anyone condemned you?”

“No? Well then neither do I.”

 

the idea of obedience has been bouncing around in my mind over the last few years, never too seriously to do too much about in terms of speaking or writing about it, but just from time to time it raises its head as something we should perhaps be taking more seriously.

we call Jesus King don’t we? or Lord? Lord of our lives. Master… teacher… rabbi… the one we follow.

‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’ [Luke 9.23]

it’s kinda there in the contract.

which too many people have watered down in the name of a badly defined grace at times.

because while there is the lack of condemnation exchange between Jesus and the woman, that is not where it ends.

there is also the call to ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’

which in essence is the call to obedience.

to God-following-ness.

to deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow me.

 

you see, it IS about grace – the gift is absolutely free, so that no one can boast.

but the acceptance of the gift initiates the call to obedience, which costs absolutely everything.

and ‘complete surrender to God’ [His ways, His plan for our lives, His kingdom] is something that we just don’t talk about enough these days

maybe [we’re all too busy fighting about the definition of ‘a real man’?]

so we can get tripped up by our incessant grasping of this idea of grace as we’ve imagined it to be, as opposed to what it actually is

 

a free gift into a life of obedience, following a holy and awesome God who is completely worthy of that type of commitment

what are your thoughts on obedience? and what it means in the life of one who follows Jesus?