Last Sunday while speaking on a passage from John 8, I asked the congregation to ponder a question. I have always speculated about what Jesus wrote in the dirt when a group of Pharisees brought to him a woman who was caught in an act of sexual sin. The law called for her to be stoned – killed by them throwing stones at her until she died. They wanted Jesus to condemn her, I guess so that they could blame him for her death.
At this point in the story, Jesus silently began writing in the dirt with his finger. Then He looked up and said “whoever was without sin should throw the first stone.” This caught them off guard, for certainly none of them could claim to be without sin. Starting with the oldest ones, these men walked away.
This had obviously been a set-up to trap Jesus. For one thing, the man who had been involved in the sexual sin was not brought – only the woman. The woman must have been shaking in fear, knowing that she very well could be killed and that the Pharisees were bent on getting Jesus to speak words of condemnation to her.
Have you ever wondered what Jesus was writing in the ground? I have thought that maybe he was writing a list of sins that the accusers had committed. Or perhaps he was even writing their names and the names of women with whom they had committed sexual sin. Maybe he was even writing in the sand the 6th and 7th commandments (I am going to make you look them up) We can only imagine what he wrote but the result was that the woman was left there with Jesus, and the accusers were gone.
Jesus’ simple words to her were, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
She answered, “No one.”
Jesus showed great compassion and mercy as he said, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”
The awesome thing about this passage is that Jesus will say those same words to us too if we come to Him to ask forgiveness. No matter what sin, mistakes, rebellion, and unbelief we’ve had, those simple words will set us free. He will enable us to leave our lives of sin and become the people who walk in the joy of truly following Him.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,