Have you ever wondered what Jesus may have written when he stooped down and wrote on the ground in John 8? This is one of the most intense scenes we see of Jesus’ ministry. Tensions are high. His answer to the Pharisees question will bring him certain doom, either from the Jews or the Romans. He’s in a no-win situation. All eyes are on him. The very life of this woman hangs in the balance. And what does he do? He seemingly ignores everyone. The suspense of the moment is tight; everyone’s waiting and watching, yet he stoops down and draws in the dirt. Twice! What was he writing?

One possibility may be found in Jeremiah 17:13,
“LORD, the hope of Israel,
all who abandon You
will be put to shame.
All who turn away from Me
will be written in the dirt,
for they have abandoned
the fountain of living water, the LORD.”

Think about the situation. The Pharisees and scribes, the religious leaders of the day, the ones who are supposedly the upright and models of godliness, are bringing to Jesus this woman who is looked down upon. She’s not the kind of girl to bring home to meet the parents. She’s a one-night-stand type. We can think of our own cultural descriptions for this woman. The Pharisees and this woman are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum.

Jesus’ response to this question, “Should we follow the Law and stone this woman?” carries a vast array of implications, not just about the Law but about politics, mercy, righteousness, prejudice. The entire system of Judaism is hanging by the thread. After writing on the ground, Jesus gives his famous response, “The one who is without sin should be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he continues writing on the ground.

Could he have been writing the names of these accusers in the dust? Could Jesus have been making the statement that these men who are perceived as following the will of God are actually the ones abandoning and rebelling against God? Could Jesus have been making the statement that this woman caught in the act of adultery is closer to the kingdom than her accusers?

So where is your name written? Is it written in the dust, only to be blown away, wiped over, and forgotten? Or is it written in the Book of Life to be remembered and honored forever?

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