Go and sin no more

John 8

1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11″No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

I have always been inquisitive.  I am seldom satisfied just learning what is on the surface, I want to dig deeper to find the underlying meaning in things.  So, when I read this account, the first thing I want to know is, “What was Jesus writing on the ground?”

The Pharisees, in their unending attempt to find fault with Jesus, brings a woman guilty of adultery to Him to see if He will disagree with the law of Moses.  Jesus, instead of attending to their questions, bends over and with His finger writes on the ground.  The immediate image that comes to mind is God writing the Law on the tablets of stone with His finger.  Is that what Jesus was doing–writing the law on the ground?  Or, could He have been writing the sins of which these men were guilty to show them their sin was not any less than this woman’s?

We are not privileged to know more than the Scripture reveals.  What we can discern is that Jesus showed both the woman and the men who accused her the difference between law and grace.  Whereas the law was given to man to show him his sin, the law could not save anyone from that sin.  But grace–ahh, grace, the unmerited favor of God, given to us when we least deserved it but most needed it–grace covers a multitude of sin.

Have you been plagued with trying to live according to the Scriptures, but you just can’t seem to do it?  The One who wrote in the sand also dipped His finger in the blood and wrote your name in the Book of Life.  If you are in the Book of the living, there is no reason, no excuse, to live in sin.  As Jesus said, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

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