I heard a podcast a few days ago in which a young priest discussed misery meeting mercy. He was referring to the New Testament story of the woman caught in adultery. After all her accusers have walked away, stunned into silence and inaction, made impotent by the incisive words of Jesus, “Let the one without sin cast the first stone,” Mercy speaks to misery. She is mortified at being discovered “in the very act of adultery” and then dragged away by a mob of so-called righteous men who had been spying on her and the man with whom she engaged in this sinful act up until the moment when they could definitively say, “Ah, see? She is an adulteress!” The mind boggles at their hypocrisy and their lecherous behavior.
The woman is a victim of her culture. And the “do-good” leaders see this as a great opportunity to test Jesus. Now they’ve got him, they think. They want to see Jesus get this sinful woman out of THIS, a sin punishable by stoning according to their law. They want to see if He will flout the law.
And then our loving, compassionate, merciful God, the One who is full of surprises, says the devastating line, directing anyone who is without sin to cast the first stone. The irony, of course, is that Jesus is the Only One without sin here. But Mercy, who knows everything this woman has ever done, who sees her in her humiliation and pain from life’s buffets and scorn, He forgives her and heals her spirit. That’s the power of Mercy, especially when we are at our most miserable. That’s God’s grace, the working of the Holy Spirit on our spirit.
The song I’ve posted today deals with deliverance. It alludes to both the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. The words of Jesus in the New again reveal His compassion, His love, for His people. But so does the Old, actually, for the people of Jerusalem will be the ones to lead everyone to the Lord. That is prophesied in the Old Testament and is fulfilled through Jesus, of course. He is the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, the Son of God.
Let Jesus pull you into His Sacred Heart and love you. When He protects you as the mother hen protects her children, that’s a sacrificial love. Mother hens have been found after fires in barns and chicken coops with their charred feathered, lifeless wings over their eggs or their chicks. She will stay there and protect them, even though she could have run away to save herself. Jesus compares His selfless love to that of a mother hen; it’s the total love of God for each one of us, even to death.
But the beauty of it all is God defeats death for all of us. And, again, Mercy meets misery. We who are here in our mortal, decaying bodies are going to rise again, just as Jesus did, to live forever with our Triune God. He had to take all our sin upon Himself and be nailed to that cross in His mercy and rise again to ascend to the Father to make a way for us. All is Mercy. All if for us to follow and leave the misery behind. It’s amazing, beautiful and perfect.