By: Carole L. Haines
In reading a very familiar Scriptural story this morning, I noticed something I had never noticed in it before. This story unfolds like a true-life crime drama.
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4 they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” 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. 7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” (John 8:1-11)
I love to watch mysteries as the detective solves the crime. I am fascinated with all the clues and leads. We all leave clues for why we do what we do. In the story above, the Scribes and Pharisees entrap a woman in an adulterous situation so that they can bring her before Christ and try to entrap Him with His response. All of this was obviously premeditated. They planned to catch her. Perhaps one of them even set her up and was the man who was in the adulterous situation. We are not given his identity.
But their motive is clear, the woman is the sacrifice used “so that they might have grounds for accusing Him.” Jesus’ response to this is to stoop down and write on the ground. The NLT version says this, “but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.” That is what struck me, where did the dust come from? They were in the temple, so the dust was carried in on the feet of the very people who were accusing her. Jesus was writing in their dust on the ground. There were also no rocks in the temple, so they brought those in with them too.
I believe the dust represents our sin and the rocks represent our tendency to judge others. Jesus may have been writing the sins of the accusers on the ground in their own dust, as a reminder to us about how fallen we all are. God’s Word tells us this.
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”
O Precious Believer, I speak this to myself far more than I speak it to you. How many times do we accuse others and Jesus has to remind us of our own sin? He stoops and writes them in the dust we carried in with us? How many times do we carry rocks with us to throw at others in judgment?
O Holy Jesus, make us Holy like yourself. Cleanse us from all that is not of You and not upbuilding in The Body of Christ. I, Lord, am foremost of all Sinners, even as the Apostle Paul declared about himself.
“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” (1 Timothy 1:15)
Lord, I hear You speaking clearly, yet tenderly about these things. Thank You for loving me too much to let me stay as I am. Transform me from glory to glory for Your honor and praise. Amen!