The Running Back, The Police Officer and The Compassion of Jesus

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By Micheal Eaton | May 1, 2009

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “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?” John 8:3-5 NIV {{more}}This month, many were outraged by the actions of Officer Robert Powell. Officer Powell of the Dallas Police Department made a traffic stop involving Houston Texans running back Ryan Moat in Dallas, Texas. Ryan and family had received a call from the Baylor Regional Medical Center letting them know that his wife’s mother was on her death bed. In an attempt to make it to the Medical Center before his mother-in-law died. Moats having looked both ways drove through a red light. Officer Powell pulled him over in the Medical Center parking lot. Officer Robert Powell drew his gun as family member got out of the car to rush to the bedside. As Moat’s was rightly upset, he tried to explain what was go on. Officer Powell says, “Shut your mouth. You can either settle down and cooperate or I can just take you to jail for running a red light.” Office Powell also says at some point, “I can screw you over.” Another officer came with word that Moats’ mother-in-law was really dying. Officer Powell said, “All right. I’m almost done.” However, thirteen minutes had passed away. Moat’s mother-in-law Jonetta Collinsworth 45-year-old dies before they could make it to her bed side. Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle apologized to the Moat/Collinsworth family. Chief Kunkle says of Officer Powell’s behavior, “His behavior, in my opinion, did not exhibit the common sense, the discretion nor the compassion that we expect our officers to exhibit.”As we look that our text today, we will see how Jesus uses his common sense, carefulness, discretion and compassion to teach us some valuable lessons. Common SenseIn John 8:3, the teachers of the law and the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus. However in order to trap Jesus it seem that they trapped a woman. It appeared to be a trap, because it takes two people to be caught in the act of adultery. They had the woman, but where was the man? Using my sanctify imagination, I believe they had conspired with the man to entrap the woman while both committed the act of adultery.These same group of people paid Judas to betray Jesus. Now as the story is told, the woman is brought before the Pharisees and the woman is used as bait to trap Jesus. Now, where is her partner, the man who committed this offensive act of adultery with this woman? It is apparent that he was allowed to go free.As a teacher of the law surely Jesus was to say stone the woman to death. If Jesus allowed her go free, he could be accused of being disobedience to the Law of Moses. However, Jesus being God had good spiritual common sense. He knew that the Pharisees were trying to trap Him. We at times need to pray that God will give us common sense to see through the snares of the devil. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT, “ The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”Carefulness Ryan Moat was guilty of running the red light. Officer Powell should have used his discretion and let him off with a warning. As a public servant, he should have escorted the Moat’s family to the bedside of Jonetta Collinsworth.It is the law, police officers can take you to jail for running a red light. However, they must use their discretion to determine whether you are a risk to society once you have ran a red light. Most of the time, a police officer will not take you to jail for running a red light. There are two more options that are at the discretion of an officer. He can write you a ticket or let you off with a warning. Officer Powell wrote Ryan Moat a ticket and also threaten him with going to jail. Jesus had to interpret the law in the same manner that police officers are allowed to do. He uses His discretion and decided to let the woman caught in the act of adultery leave with a warning. Praise is to God for His grace! Roman 5:20-21 “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” CompassionMany people all over the world were outraged by Officer Powell reaction to NFL Player Ryan Moat. Due to Moat’s NFL player status, we heard about this story. It could have been one of the countless stories of racial profiling. However, people of all races were outraged at Officer Powell’s lack of compassion. Jesus in the text displayed compassion to the woman caught in the act of adultery.Jesus said, “He who is without sin let him cast the first stone.” The Pharisees knew that they had sin in their own lives. Some may have committed the act of adultery with this same woman. Since she wasn’t stone, we will just leave you with your imagination. They did not stone her and all of them walked away. After they left, Jesus let her off with a warning and said, “Go and sin no more.” Pastor Eaton is Sr. Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma