PB preached on John 8:1-11 on Sunday. There’s a lot going on in those eleven verses and I have a whole string of questions that are stirring in my heart and mind. But one of the most intriguing parts of this scene is when Jesus wrote something on the ground with his finger. It is the only instance in recorded scripture of Jesus writing anything. The Word became flesh, but didn’t write a single word of scripture. That’s fascinating.
A woman (the sinner) caught in the act of adultery stood before Jesus, as her accusers (the church folks) beat her up with Bible verses. Meanwhile, Jesus stooped down and doodled in the dirt. Or did He? What would Jesus write? Well, I read about 25 commentaries on this passage and they all started out by stating, “There is no way of knowing what Jesus wrote on the ground, but it’s possible that….” And so the conjecture begins. Here are some theories:
1) Jesus stooped down and scribbled in the dirt to collect himself because he was so angry with the Pharisees and because He didn’t want to bring further shame to the woman.
2) Jesus wanted to give the Pharisees a chance to stop their vendetta against Him at the expense of this woman. He was hoping they would hear themselves and recognize how evil they sounded.
3) Jesus began to write a list of sins that the Pharisees had commiteed and were now committing.
4) Jesus began to write a list of woman’s names and addresses – the name of each accuser’s girlfriend.
5) Jesus was just following proper Roman judicial practices by writing out the sentence before pronouncing it.
6) Jesus drew a picture. (However, the Greek makes it clear Jesus wrote words.)
7) Jesus wrote out the 10 Commandments.
8) Jesus wrote the Pharisees’ names in the dust along with Jeremiah 17:13. (“O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water”)
Care to weigh in? Cast a vote? What do you think Jesus wrote?