School will be starting back in the next few weeks. There is something refreshing about a new school year. When I was a kid, it was the excitement of getting brand new school supplies. My crayons that were worn down from the daily use in the grade just completed were retired. A new box of sharpened crayons awaited me to pick them up to color the endless school projects.
A new year also brought about starting fresh in a brand new classroom. Would this new classroom have a better view of the playground? Would the teacher have a pet hamster? What about her decorations on the walls? It was an exciting time changing classrooms and teachers. It was a fresh start and brand new perspective on the mundane school life.
New students would transfer in, and the prospective of making some new friends was exciting.
New friends, new school supplies, new teacher, new classroom….A fresh start for a child.
This reminds me of stories where Jesus gives someone a fresh new start in their life. In the Bible there are plenty of stories of people living a certain way, and Jesus comes in, freeing them from whatever trappings entangled them, and told them to start afresh.
In John 8, there is a story of a woman about to be stoned: caught mid-act in her crime scene, by the Jewish leaders. This woman was about to be killed by having rocks thrown at her! Her crime: sleeping around. Jesus sees what is happening, and is asked by the people wanting her stoned what to do about this sinful woman. Instead of condemning her, Jesus offers her a brand new fresh start and says: “Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11) The woman was free from her sin, from her crime, and was able to start over. She had her crime record cleared.
I often wonder, after reading this story, what she did with the rest of her life. Did she still struggle with the same sin? Did she have to keep reminding herself that her new identity in Christ made her a free and changed woman? We don’t know what happened to this woman or how this encounter changed the remainder of her life. But what I love about this story is how Jesus, in His kind way, didn’t condemn her. He didn’t rally the stone-throwers up and heckle her. He didn’t even shame her for her sin. He simply said “Go and sin no more.” Freeing her of her crime. No strings attached.
Healing people from their illnesses and freeing people of things that held them back in this life, was a huge part of Jesus’ ministry. He encouraged people to “Come to Me all those who are weary and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Jesus will give you rest. He will give you rest, comfort, and healing. He gives a fresh start and a new life to all who ask.
“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” (Jeremiah 31:25)
Following the path,
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