What Was Jesus Writing on the Ground?

As a Lawyer, my mind was scrutinizing what the Bible had said about these sins, type of witnesses needed and what really took place here. I was also curious about what Jesus was writing on the ground.

What Was Jesus Writing on the Ground?

While I was listening to the exposition of John 8 with regard to the sin of adultery, courtroom scenario, the advocate and the conscience etc., as a Lawyer, my mind was scrutinizing what the Bible had said about these sins, type of witnesses needed and what really took place here. I was also curious about what Jesus was writing on the ground (some say sand).

Some have suggested that he was just doodling to buy time. Others say that he was writing the names of the accusers who were carrying the stones to kill her. Yet others say that he was writing the sins committed by the accusers.

We will not know the full answer but certain interesting matters are worth discussing here to add more light to the event.

Firstly, let us look at the standard of evidence required in a case like this as mentioned in the Old Testament. We find them in Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22.

Deut 10: ‘The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.

Lev 22: “If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die—the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil from Israel.

So according to this you will notice that both the man and the woman had to be brought for such an inquiry to take place. They knew well that they were accusing the woman but a vital piece of evidence, the man, who committed the act was missing.

Therefore, did they have a valid trial? Certainly not. So by trying to bring this trial, they were actually trying to put Jesus into difficulty by getting him to either disagree with them about stoning, in which case they could have accused him of breaking the law of Moses, or by agreeing to stone in which case Jesus has agreed to a capital punishment without proper witnesses.

Jeremiah’s clue: What Was Jesus Writing on the Ground?

Jeremiah gives us a clue to what He might have been doing by writing on the ground.

Jeremiah 17:13: All who forsake You shall be ashamed. “Those who depart from Me Shall be written in the earth, Because they have forsaken the Lord, The fountain of living waters.”

In adultery cases such as this both the man and the woman would be brought to the Nicanor temple gates and accused. If witnesses could be gathered to confirm that adultery had indeed been committed, then there was a certain ceremony that would be done in order to bring judgment. However, in this instance they only brought the woman. This was a violation of the oral Law of God.

Thereafter , the priest was supposed to bend down and write the law that had been broken, along with the names of the accused, in the dust of the floor of the Temple. By doing this, Jesus showed these accusers that they were not keeping the law, but He would anyway. He showed them that they were violating their own law and forcing to stone the woman.

So where was the man?

This whole nation was filled with hypocrites and in Hosea we are told that God would put greater blame on the man in a case like this. So where was the man?

Hosea 4:14: “I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, Nor your brides when they commit adultery; For the men themselves go apart with harlots, And offer sacrifices with a ritual harlot. Therefore people who do not understand will be trampled”.

Jesus by showing them where they themselves had broken the law gave them a chance to repent and ask God for forgiveness, which they never did. When the conscience (Suneidesis) pricked them and accused them, they had no way to either stone her of blame Jesus, so they departed.

Clear Conscience

Conscience is bringing God’s law written in our hearts and put into our minds as mentioned in the book of Hebrews.
Heb 8:10: “I will put my laws in their mind and write them on their hearts and I will be their God and they will be my people”.

There is nothing that we could hide from God’s presence. Whatever we do, we must do it with a clear conscience and be led by the spirit, so that the conflict between spirit and mind will not give us stress and tension and release poisonous toxins into our blood stream that could damage our own bodies and minds.

Romans 8:2: “For the law of the spirit of life in Christ has me free from the law of sin and death”.

Let us live victoriously and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

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