It isn’t told what Christ wrote in the dust that day, but I can surmise his writings revealed the heart of the Pharisees and the teachers of religious law. Christ revealed to them the sins that they had committed. “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” he stated. After reading sins they’d tried to keep secret now revealed in the dust, none of the woman’s accusers were able to throw the first stone.
Christ then began to write in the dust a second time. This time he wrote of who he was and why he was sent. He revealed to them he was the lover of God’s people, a healer of the heart, the forgiver of all sins, the redeemer and restorer of life. He revealed to them his character.
This woman, who stood before Jesus and the crowd of her accusers, had just committed the act of adultery. The sin she’d committed was a serious crime. It is not considered serious crime in our day, but in those times it was one of many crimes that carried the death penalty. It was ranked right along with murder, kidnapping, witchcraft, and offering human sacrifice. She didn’t need to be convinced of her sinfulness; she already recognized that. What she needed was to understand that God’s love and forgiveness was stronger than her sin.
The truth of the matter is we are all guilty of sin. We all point fingers at others. We are all guilty of throwing stones. Can we really afford to throw stones? We all make mistakes. We all have the same spiritual need for Jesus.
We would never think of actually throwing stones at other people but, far too often, we throw emotional or spiritual stones at others. We throw stones with hurtful comments, we use generalizations, we gossip, judgmental statements and sometimes we are harsh with the truth.
In the house of the Lord, criticism and condemnation must be replaced with prayer, and fault-finding eliminated with a covering of love. Where there is error, we must go with a motive to restore and a gentle spirit.
“Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” Jesus asked. “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Jesus wrote love and forgiveness in the dirt because that was his character. We should strive to be in his image.
Pastors Ben and Wanda Anderson