(John 8:6)

They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground.

John 8:6

So much has been written and preached about this incident. The leaders bring a woman caught in adultery in front of Jesus and challenge Him with this: The Law says we should stone an adulterous woman, what do You say?

It has been noted, as well, that if the woman had been caught in the act then the man should also have been brought out and stoned to death. Yet the man is conspicuously absent.

Some have interpreted Jesus’ exchange with the woman — Jesus: “Where are your accusers? Is anyone going to condemn you?” Woman: “No one, Lord.” Jesus: “I will not condemn you either. Go and do not sin any more.” (vv 10-11) — as license; as giving permission to do wrong and be forgiven. Not my focal point this morning, but she does not seem proud of what she did, but rather relieved that she is not going to be killed. More, Jesus calls her action what it is: sin. He does not gloss over it or sugar coat it, but calls her adultery a sin and tells her not to do it any more (repent).

There are numerous places where the leaders of the day tried to test Jesus, but this is arguably the strangest exchange. They accuse the woman and try to call Jesus out and His response is to squat down and scribble something in the dirt with His finger.

What He wrote we cannot know. There is much speculation and I see no need to add to it. What I know for certain is that He felt it necessary to write something down in a place that was impermanent. He writes the record of wrongs in much the same way. Scripture tells me that He removes my sins as far from me as the east is from the west; that He casts my sins into the depths of the sea. In essence, He wipes the slate completely and utterly clean, as if my wrongs had been written in the dirt and scuffed out of existence by one swipe of His foot. What He wrote on the ground that day has been similarly lost to memory. We know it was written, but we do not know what it was. He treats my sins in very much the same way.

Let me remember that my sins, grievous though they may be, are writ in dust to be scuffed away by the foot of God as soon as ever I confess them.


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