December 2011

Comments on the encounter with a woman caught in adultery

Over the next few weeks the Truth is The Word posts will be written by different authors, each responding to the various Jesus encounters I have written recently.  I hope that you will enjoy their varying perspectives and that your knowledge of Jesus will be deepened and enriched!

What does this encounter teach me, a 52-year old woman in the last few days of 2011? Instinctively I connect with her vulnerability and fallibility.  In a world dominated by men in positions of authority, she was especially vulnerable.  That she made a poor and compromising choice is not in question. The encounter tells us though that she made it out of a very unhappy place. 

The starkness of her poor choice resounds in the betrayal.  Utterly vulnerable utterly forsaken and utterly lost, she lies abandoned at Jesus’ feet, expecting the worst possible punishment for her sin.  Her nakedness enhances her fragility and I connect again with her frailty in the situation. 
 
Because I too have made poor decisions in my lifetime, some sinful, some in response to hurt, some out of ignorance and some with the best intentions in mind.  Had I known how frail and vulnerable I would feel in the wake of their consequence, and the cost both personally and to those closest to me, I doubt I would have made the choice in the first place.  
 
As a result, I fully expect the beatings of the crowd and I brace my body for the fatal blows of the rocks in their hands – punishment consequent to the crime committed and decisions taken.  So much of this thinking still permeates my own thought life even after a 20-year journey with Christ.  Self-condemnation is a burden I am only too eager to take up.
 
Yet in this encounter, condemnation resounds only in the thuds of the rocks being dropped as the accusers find no target other than the recognition of their own wasted thoughts and nature.  The small puffs of dust as each rock is dropped, punctuate Christ’s consummate sense of justice and triumph over human judgment.
 
Powerful, authoritative and unquestionably wise, he masterfully and quietly overcomes the challenges of his accusers and those of the woman abandoned at his feet.  The man has spoken with words written in the dust, and justice has been served.  His hand extended in love and reassurance to this woman, and to me, is His only sentence.  I am helped to my feet to stand again.
“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” I say. Then in a voice thick with compassion he says, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Prospects of a second chance, a new day, and a fresh beginning with no condemnation attached.  The gift of life is mine once more to take. 
~ Written by Kerry Botha

Comments on the encounter with a woman caught in adultery Read More »

Readers’ comments very touching

Dear readers, I hope you have gained as much from reading the current encounter series of posts as I have from writing them. More than that, I hope that the Lord Jesus has revealed to you something of His nature and character through the posts. In the next few weeks I will be posting the reflections of several readers on what they gained from the encounter series of posts. It is so good to focus on Jesus and to contemplate His centrality and glory.
 
For now, I have pasted just some of the wonderful comments that folk have made to the encounters.  I hope they minister to you as much as they did to me.  Many thanks to all who shared!

Comments from the past series

Annie writes – My heart bursts with pure joy because He called me by name! My heart was so burdened I thought I was going to drown but then I heard Him call my name! I can lift up my eyes and face the world with total joy in my heart. Jesus my Lord, You are truly alive!! My relief is total becaue Im not alone. on An encounter with the resurrected Lord

Jon writes – When I look into the eyes of Jesus I see Him as someone who exudes love and at the same time One full of wisdom and authority.He forgives me unconditionally of my sin and shows me that no longer does sin have to be my master.He is now my new Master! on A woman caught in adultery encounters Jesus

Anonymous writes – As I look into Jesus’ face I see love incarnate but I also hear Him saying ‘wait, don’t be in such a hurry! Feel the process; feel the love; absorb the moment; live the moment. There are many things in you that I can heal. Take the time to let Me. I am your Beloved Redeemer, healer, Lord – and you are my beloved child. on The Man at the Pool – An Encounter

Sarann writes – I see pure delight and love in the face of Jesus as he watches my amazement and joy in being healed. I understand that this gentle, humble and unassuming man carries the true power of God that I was searching for in the pool. I feel that he looks at me as though he has always known me and seen my suffering and pain, even though this is the first time I have met him. He looks upon me as man would look upon treasure – I feel precious and special and know that he came to this place for me. on The Man at the Pool – An Encounter

Lisa writes – Looking through the eyes of this women as if I were her, I first felt great shame and regret, as if nothing could take away this unforgivable act. I would be judged and condemned forever… how could I live with myself? Then this kind stranger, who displays unfathomable wisdom, shows me kindness and compassion, without judging me. It was if I got another chance! I feel set free, as if this sin no longer ties me down… what joy! In a moment, I thought my life was over, but now I more alive than ever. on A woman caught in adultery encounters Jesus

Annie writes – The face of Jesus is shining. He knows who He is and where He is going. And He speaks with such authority that I’m bowled over just by the sound of His voice. Who is this Jesus of Nazareth because I want to know more! And then Jesus heals the ear of His “enemy”! He is being hounded to jail and yet He heals the very soldier come to take Him away! My heart is jumping in my chest because of Jesus. He is totally in control of the situation and He is not afraid. My heart is burning to know more and I know i will never be the same again. on The Gethsemane encounter

Readers’ comments very touching Read More »

An encounter with the resurrected Lord

Scripture Reference: John 20:10-18

I am writing this from the perspective of Mary of Magdala when she encountered Jesus in the garden after He had risen from the dead.  Irrespective of whether you are male or female, try to see the scene through Mary’s eyes and perhaps the Living Lord will speak to you in some way as He did to her so long ago.

I don’t have words to describe how I feel about Jesus. When I first met him I was a seriously disturbed woman. I used to fly into uncontrollable rages and my mind was filled constantly with dark and perverse thoughts. Yet it was in this lost state that he found me. As his eyes locked onto mine, my mind exploded into a frenzy of fear and hate and rage, but I couldn’t break the power of his gaze. Then I heard him saying in a voice resonant with authority and majesty, “Come out of her!” As those words penetrated my mind I felt a great internal upheaval in my spirit as if something left my body, then another, and another; seven sickening expulsions in all. And then I was free! From that moment on I adored him, this Jesus who cast seven demons out of me with just one command.

I had watched him die a terrible death by crucifixion just days ago. When I saw him taking his last tortuous breath it felt as though I was dying too. A few hours later I saw the men come to take him down from the cross, and I followed them to the tomb where they laid him. I saw the soldiers rolling the huge stone across the opening and seal it with the imperial mark of Caesar.

Now I stood in the garden in front of an open tomb feeling almost as lost as I had when I first met him. There had been a powerful earthquake, the soldiers had fled, the stone had rolled to the side and I could see that the tomb was empty. Someone had taken away his body. Why? I had wanted to embalm him properly and express my love for him one last time and now I couldn’t! I had cried so much those last few days but again hot tears filled my eyes. Then, through the blur of weeping I saw two shining beings standing where Jesus must have lain.  One of them asked me why I was crying. I suppose I should have been shocked to see angels and hear them speak, but I was so overwrought that nothing seemed to matter anymore except my pain and loss. I told the angel that someone had taken my Lord and I didn’t know where to begin looking for him.

I turned away from the tomb to go back home and as I did so,  I saw a man standing there. I didn’t really pay him much attention until he too asked me why I was crying and who I was looking for. I don’t know why but I just assumed he was the gardener and my heart lifted a little because perhaps he knew where Jesus’ body had been taken. I asked him but instead of answering my question he just said, “Mary”.

I had been walking past him when he spoke my name but now I stopped and turned toward him. How many times had I heard Jesus speak my name like that? How well I knew that voice. Surely it couldn’t be him?! I wiped the tears from my eyes and gazed at him intently. He looked different but it was definitely him and he was smiling at me, his eyes full of delight. “Rabboni!” I cried out and in that moment my deep distress and unbearable emotional pain left me as surely as the demons had when I first met him, my saviour and teacher.

Dear reader, take some time now and wait upon the risen Lord. “Lord Jesus, what do you want to say to me at this time?”

Other encounters in this series:
 
I remember that night so well. I was sixteen at the time. I was lying on my sleeping mat in my loose outer robe, just drifting off when I heard them. A crowd has a voice all its own; deep and ugly sounding. I jumped up and went to the window. …read more
 
My memory doesn’t go back to before the accident because it happened when I was very small. A Roman officer was riding through our village when his horse was spooked by a snake that slithered out from under some baskets at the side of the road. … read more
 
A woman caught in adultery
I can’t deny it; I am not perfect and I admit that what I did was wrong. I was married off very young to a man much older than myself. I was more of a social asset for him than a life partner, and he showed me no affection whatsoever. …read more

A blind man encounters Jesus
I felt a bird once. My brother put it into my cupped hands. It struggled to escape and I felt the coarseness of its feathers, and its rough-leather legs… and then it broke free and was gone. …read more

An encounter with the resurrected Lord Read More »

The Gethsemane encounter

Scripture references: John 18:1-11  Matthew 26:36-56  Mark 14:48-50  Luke 22:39-53

In this encounter I am writing from the perspective of a boy who was tagging along with the crowd who went to arrest Jesus. Try to see the scene through his eyes, and in this way learn something more of our wonderful Jesus.

I remember that night so well. I was sixteen at the time. I was lying on my sleeping mat in my loose outer robe, just drifting off when I heard them. A crowd has a voice all its own; deep and ugly sounding. I jumped up and went to the window. It was quite a big crowd and as they passed by my house I could pick out a number of soldiers and temple guards. There were several Pharisees leading the mob and they were heading off towards the city gate that was near the Kidron valley.

I was filled with curiosity and excitement. They had clubs and swords so maybe they were hunting down a dangerous criminal. I know I shouldn’t have but I slipped through the window and joined the crowd. We went out of the city and down through the Kidron valley until we got to a grove of olive trees. The crowd stopped and milled around so I worked my way forward until I was standing just behind the Pharisees.

A man came out of the grove and as he did so someone from the crowd went forward and greeted him with a kiss. They spoke quietly and then the man from the crowd left him and went off to the side. The moon was bright that night and in its light, and the flickering beams of the torches many in the crowd carried, I could see the man from the grove quite clearly. It was his face that caught my attention. It was solemn and composed and his eyes moved with intent from one face to another, first the Pharisees and then the soldiers and others near the front of the crowd. It might have been a trick of the silvery light but it seemed as though his face had an inner illumination and I had the fleeting thought that even if the night had been dark I would still be able to see his face. Then he spoke; “Who is it you want?” he asked. A Pharisee answered, “Jesus of Nazareth”. “I am he’, the man said.

As he spoke these words the strangest thing happened to me. It was as though some invisible force hit me. It wasn’t violent or painful but it was powerful. I staggered back a couple of steps and then the strength left my legs and I fell down in a heap. All around me the same thing was happening to everyone at the front of the crowd. A startled rumble escaped the mob and those with swords scrambled back to their feet thrusting them out in front of their bodies. One of them took a few menacing steps towards the man and as he did so a burly fellow rushed out of the grove brandishing a weapon. He swung it at the man who was advancing and the blade barely missed his head, neatly slicing an ear so that it hung by a thin piece of skin. The man howled in pain and shock, dropped his sword and clutched the side of his head. Jesus held up his hand in a gesture of authority. “No more of this!” he said, and then stepping forward he reached out that same hand, touched the wounded man’s ear and healed him. Yes, he healed him instantly. I saw it clearly. The blood stopped and the ear reattached to the skull – instantly.

I was confused but awestruck. What kind of man was this?! He had knocked us down with a word. With a simple command he averted what could have been a dangerous brawl where many could have been killed. With a touch he restored a bloody ear hanging by a shred of torn flesh and skin. Who was this man who had identified himself as Jesus of Nazareth?

Then the soldiers grabbed Jesus roughly, bound his arms behind his back and marched him off. The mob started looking for his followers in the olive grove and I saw his disciples running away into the night. I started to follow Jesus as he was being taken away but a Pharisee thought I was a disciple and shouted “Seize that fellow!” Strong hands grabbed at me but I twisted out of my robe, leaving it in their grasp, and ran off heading for home as fast as I could.

Dear reader. Who indeed is this Jesus of Nazareth? More to the point, who is He to you?

Other encounters in this series:
My memory doesn’t go back to before the accident because it happened when I was very small. A Roman officer was riding through our village when his horse was spooked by a snake that slithered out from under some baskets at the side of the road. … read more
 
A woman caught in adultery
I can’t deny it; I am not perfect and I admit that what I did was wrong. I was married off very young to a man much older than myself. I was more of a social asset for him than a life partner, and he showed me no affection whatsoever. …read more

A blind man encounters Jesus
I felt a bird once. My brother put it into my cupped hands. It struggled to escape and I felt the coarseness of its feathers, and its rough-leather legs… and then it broke free and was gone. …read more

The Gethsemane encounter Read More »

About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.