Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Monday, September 29, 2008

What Jesus Wrote

The other day my 8 year old son said this: "Mom, I wish I had a time machine so I could go back in time and see what Jesus wrote." I said, "Son, Jesus didn't really 'write' anything... but He spoke a lot and we have His words recorded in the Bible so you don't have to travel back in time." My son was thinking on a different track than me and said, "He did wirte mom. He wrote something on the ground and I want to go back in time and see what it said."

This was really an interesting moment with my son. I was impressed with his thinking. (I had to eat a little crow!) Jesus did write something and it must have been something very powerful:

4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. (John 8:4-9)
This is one of my favorite passages. The Pharisees were prime utilizers of the 'political gamesmanship' we see in religious disagreements throughout time. Someone doesn't appreciate the religious views or practices of another and so they try to trick them into a conundrum. (Once or twice it occurred to me to try this myself in internet debates with Calvinists, but I wasn't clever enough to think of a good strategy!) I'm not saying it's wrong to use questions to try to get someone else to think through to the logical conslusion of their views. Jesus used this method too! But it is the spirit in which you do these things that can be deadly.

Jesus wrote on the ground. What do you think he wrote? Do you think it was anything of significance that He wrote... or was it just the "zinger" of a statement that he made which caused them all to leave?: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”


  • Hi Rose,

    I have heard some say they believe it was a list of sins that those in the crowd had committed.

    Myself....I don't know. But I am glad for His mercy and grace.


    By Blogger Kurt, at 9/29/2008 2:44 PM  

  • Rose,

    I have also heard that it was the Law (10 Commandments) since there are only 2 times recorded where the finger of God had written anything.....The passage you quoted here and the 10 Commandments written into the tablets and given to Moses (of course that was repeated...so I guess there were three times :)


    By Blogger Kurt, at 9/29/2008 3:18 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    (Once or twice it occurred to me to try this myself in internet debates with Calvinists, but I wasn't clever enough to think of a good strategy!)



    P/s I ate a little of that crow a while ago.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 9/29/2008 3:37 PM  

  • I'm old, but contrary to popular opinion, I was not there.

    However, I have heard it opined that he wrote the names of each of the Pharisees and their most recent sin.

    I've also heard it said that He was giving them some awkward time to re-think their zeal to inflict their brand of justice.

    When you son gets that time machine, I'd like to borrow it for a little while.

    (Hmmm...each time it became time to give it back to him, could I just go back a little in time so I didn't have to?)

    By Blogger Joe, at 9/29/2008 6:25 PM  

  • I have heard each of the presented theories and I suppose each of them have merit.

    One thing for sure, whatever He wrote surely brought conviction to them.

    By Anonymous GordonCloud, at 9/29/2008 11:38 PM  

  • Rose,

    First you will have to convince the majority of bible scholars that the pericope adulterae is actually canonical.

    Zane Hodges is one of a very few Greek scholars who defends and holds to the Majority Text, which includes the first part of John 8.

    Zane suggests that it was the act of writing, not what was written, that was important. For, he argues, if it were a crucial element in the narrative, John would have naturally specified what it was. That he did not give us what he wrote is the clearest evidence that it was the act of writing and not what was written that is the truly important consideration.

    It was none other than God Himself inscribing into the ground with His finger...

    And what did they ask Him concerning?

    A matter of the law.

    Jesus sat down as teacher in this scene. But He is much more than that. He was He who inscribed the law into Moses' tablets with His finger.


    By Blogger Antonio, at 9/30/2008 3:26 AM  

  • Joe,
    LOL! I'm old, but contrary to popular opinion, I was not there.

    I've also heard it said that He was giving them some awkward time to re-think their zeal to inflict their brand of justice.

    I hadn't heard that before. Interesting. What I had heard is that he was writing the names of the men there who had lain with the prostitute. Pure speculation.

    Thanks for visiting.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/30/2008 8:40 AM  

  • Hello Kurt!
    It is always nice to see your comments. Yes, I am glad for the Lord's mercy and that he isn't holding the things he could write in the dirst outside my house against me. :~)

    That is intersting about the 10 commandments - I hadn't heard that before. Thanks also for the link that you sent.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/30/2008 9:49 AM  

  • Rose,

    If you are looking for a great book that refutes Calvinism then buy 'The Other Side of Calvinism' by Laurence Vance. The book is quite thick but packed with great arguments refuting their position. I found that book to be quite effective when dealing with them.

    Just be careful, I have found them to become absolutely nasty when you come back with an argument that they have no answer for. They will get quite personal and will insult you thoroughly.

    p.s. I love those verses as well. Jesus is indeed a friend to sinners and not like what some make Him out to be today. Those that teach that God hates sinners do not know Him. Jesus criticized so many religious leaders and it makes me wonder how many today Jesus would call "White washed tombs"??? No wonder we have so many unbelievers unwilling to place simple trust in Christ because they think they have to first get their act cleaned up. Legalism in churches is based off of such fear. Lordship salvation has an angry god they serve and how one might prove in the end that they never were saved by committing the sins that Jesus died for.

    By Blogger Dave, at 9/30/2008 10:15 AM  

  • what is "dirst"? I need to check my spelling more closely.

    Colin Maxwell,
    You picked up on the really important part of the post, I see. :~) Kids make us eat a lot of crow, don't they?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/30/2008 10:43 AM  

  • Hi Gordon,
    Yes, they definitly were either convicted or embarrassed but whichever it was, the Lord got His way and she lived.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/30/2008 10:46 AM  

  • Thanks, Antonio, for your comment.
    ZH view of what is the important consideration is interesting. Maybe we need that time machine so we can go back and see just what Jesus wrote.

    I like the way you said that about Christ's finger being the same finger of God that wrote on the tablets of law. So true!!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/30/2008 10:47 AM  

  • Possibly He was just scribbling as He was praying.. the answer He gave indicates that He might have been listening to His Father.

    By Blogger Kansas Bob, at 9/30/2008 10:49 AM  

  • Hello Dave, welcome to my blog!
    I have seen that book quoted several times on this very blog by some of the commenters. Some Calvinists are like that and others are easier to talk to - just like non-Calvinists. I have discussed Calvinism at length here on this very blog. I learned alot about it. WHen I started, I thought I was a 2 point Calvinist and then I learned what is really meant by those two points and became a zero-point Calvinits. I do have Calvinist friends and blog visitors. Some are nasty and some are very kind... just as in every "camp."

    I do appreciate your thoughts on Christ's death and the sins He died for and also your zeal against legalism... all in one comment. :~)

    Thanks again for your visit! I appreciate you.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/30/2008 10:52 AM  

  • Kansas Bob,
    Could we call that "doodling" in the dirt?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/30/2008 10:53 AM  

  • I am so sorry for all my sloppy

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/30/2008 10:54 AM  

  • Rose,

    Oh, if I could be so succinct and so powerful to cause silence, like He was in a single sentence. That would be so awesome... but I am a far off from having this kind of wisdom. I do admire it, though!

    Did you know he actually wrote two different times? Once before and once after he stood up and said, "He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone."

    I don't know if that makes it any more, or less, mysterious.


    By Blogger Sanctification, at 9/30/2008 4:03 PM  

  • rose: For some reason I went back to some of my former posts and found your comment. Thank you for your kindness.

    I wrote a response, and fearing that you might not revisit that particular post, I thought I would place it here.

    "I have never met you. I only know you from your blog and from comments of yours I have read on other blogs (including my own).

    "Just so you know, you are one of three bloggers I would give my eye-tooth to sit down and talk with:
    Jeremy Weaver, Jeff H., at Think Sink (now defunked), and you.

    "I have watched the 'evolution' of your blog, and always have found it compelling.

    "You have a great ability to stimulate thought, and more importantly, to inspire.

    "Emphasize that latter quality and you will be just fine.

    "Dialog is fine, but too often it degenerates into ugliness.

    "Personally, I save my ugliness (of which there is plenty) for the political world...most of the time."

    That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

    By Blogger Joe, at 9/30/2008 6:33 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    How about the interesting parallel to this passage?

    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.

    Jeremiah 17:13

    By Blogger Pizza Man, at 9/30/2008 8:52 PM  

  • Michele,
    Yes, that would be a rare gift to be able to exercise, wouldn't it? Christ was amazing as He walked the earth! What a man! I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and experience Him speaking the things that we read in the Bible. I have videos like "the Gospel of John" which I think is excellent, but I would like to see the real thing! It will be something awesome when we get to see Him face to face... and better yet - to be like Him!!! I am soooooooooooo looking forward to all of that. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/02/2008 8:48 AM  

  • Joe,
    God bless you. That is so kind of you to say to me. You were one of the very first bloggers I ever met and it means a lot to me to get such a comment from you.

    You always seem to be able to get along with everyone. I have never seen you get in a fight or get on anyone's bad side. Everyone loves you, which is a rare thing for a person who blogs in biblical matters with a committed-to-truth posture. It must be your *years* that have given you such wisdom and grace. (I heard you were an eyewitness to the signing of the declaration of Independence, heehee)

    Emphasize that latter quality and you will be just fine.

    I read this comnet yesterday when I was working. I pondered it all day long and I am going to TRY TRY TRY to do just what you suggest more than I have been.

    God bless you brother. You have definitly been a blessing to me.

    BTW, the political world is pretty ugly. Just look what they are doing to Sarah Palin - you would think she was a dangerous imbocile the way she is being characterized. I think she is a smart and saavy woman. I hope and pray she holds her own in the debate tonight.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/02/2008 9:01 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    I believe Jesus surprised them by throwing the ball back in their court. They believed Him to be a friend of sinners, so they were trying to trap Him in His words in order to accuse Him. The reason to stone her was to put away sin “you shall put away the evil from among you.” But their very intention was evil to begin with in trying to accuse Him rather than to put away evil. There had to be two or three witnesses “he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness.” And “the hands of the witnesses shall be the first against him to put him to death.” (Deut 17:6-7) Also if the witnesses were false witnesses “then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother” (Deut 19:19)or sister in this case. They were false witnesses in the sense that their motives were evil from the beginning. By casting a stone at her they would be guilty before God, and be condemning themselves. They also new that unintentional sin there was forgiveness for, and when it came to the persons mind they were to make a sacrifice for it to gain forgiveness (Leviticus 4:22,23). In this case their sin had found them out (Numbers 32:23) when Jesus wrote in the sand, and they new it was intentional which would take their own life.
    In this case the law had served it’s purpose in “shutting their mouths.”
    Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may be come guilty before God.
    I remember a time when the law shut my mouth, I was reading Romans 1 then came to Romans 2 which stated: Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
    Proud-boasters-disobedient to parents-unloving: I knew I was guilty of all these things, and still battle them daily….Oh wretched man that I am who will deliver me from this body of death? The answer…I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
    It’s a moment by moment decision, when I sin I ask for forgiveness not only to God but to those I offend.
    Please forgive me for being unloving to any of you.

    time for bed...goodnight

    By Blogger alvin, at 10/02/2008 9:37 AM  

  • A very perceptive observation on your part
    Rose. Good article. The Pharisees were skillful at this, but Jesus was the Master. Motives are the key issue.


    By Blogger goe, at 10/02/2008 11:20 AM  

  • Pizza Man,
    WoW! Was what I thought when I read that comment. I never did tie those passages together. Thanks for pointing that out. The Bible is incredible in these kinds of things.

    Brother Alvin,
    Thank you so much. We forgive you :~)
    You actually have never really offended me too much, but I would think that others forgive you. That is why I say "we."
    You are welcome here anytime. I usually really enjoy your comments. You bring up a lot of things that really make me think.

    But their very intention was evil to begin with in trying to accuse Him rather than to put away evil.

    Yes, there are many people like this. Always trying to put others into a conundrum.

    Their motives were so obvious and starkly evil which is why he could turn it around on them. He was so brilliant.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/02/2008 2:42 PM  

  • Gary,
    Thank you for visiting and welcome to my blog! I hope you will not let the ugliness of debate in Christian blogdom discourage you. I have found many things to be very uplifting in the blogosphere. With God's help and my deliberate decision, I am going to try and get this blog back to being more and more encouraging and edifying to believers.

    That is my motive. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/02/2008 2:44 PM  

  • Alvin,
    Remember, I am a cream puff and a sissy. :~) (ala Liver and Onions)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/02/2008 2:46 PM  

  • Rose, I was going to write the same thing as Alvin did about Jesus writing the law about being false witnesses. That is what my bible teacher believes was written in the sand and I think it is a pretty good educated guess. These pharisees knew the law like the backs of their hands and tradition was that the pharisees had to memorize the first five books of the bible.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 10/05/2008 6:41 PM  

  • Dawn,
    Yes, I think that sounds like a reasonable idea of what He was writing. Hey, it is good to see you around! I hope everything is good with you these days.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/05/2008 11:33 PM  

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