No evidence exists that Jesus ever wrote a book. He did divinely inspire and speak through others, such as Paul, John, and James, But He never penned a book Himself.
But Jesus did write.
It is John 8. John told the story of a woman caught in adultery. The religious leaders brought her to Jesus, demanding to know what Jesus thought should be done. In this moment, these religious leaders weren’t concerned about justice, purity, the woman, or anything that was actually important; they simply wanted to trap Jesus. They figured that, no matter how Jesus answered, they could use His words against Him. So, they demanded a response. Jesus did respond—in the most unusual way.
“Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with his finger” (John 8:6).
I’d love to know exactly what He wrote. Wanna know what I think? (I’m going to tell you anyway.) I think it’s possible He simply wrote a variety of sins—the very sins of the men standing there in their self-righteous, accusatory posture. Such a list would bring that extra zing of guilt when Jesus spoke.
“When they persisted in questioning him, he stood up and said to them, ‘The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.’” (v. 7).
The men ended up throwing the rocks—to the ground. These men knew they weren’t sinless, but unfortunately, they missed the greater message of grace and forgiveness.
Jesus didn’t just offer grace and forgiveness to the woman; He extended grace and forgiveness to the accusers as well. Their sins were real and serious, but Jesus didn’t list them in concrete that was setting up and hardening. He wrote them in the dirt. With one wipe of His hand, the record of those sins would be erased. And with His death on the cross, the reality of those sins would be erased. Forgiven.
People like this adulterous woman know they need forgiveness, but those among us who let our efforts at righteousness morph into self-righteousness … well, we lose sight of our own need for forgiveness.
The blatant sinner and the self-righteous religious person. We’re all the same. And Jesus utters the same words to all of us:
“Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore” (v. 11).
Subscribe to this blog at the top of the page! And spread the word by sharing this post with others.
For a printable version: click here.
This post supports the study “Jesus Gave Me Grace and Forgiveness” in Bible Studies for Life and YOU.
Join Lynn Pryor and Chris Johnson as they discuss this topic:
Many Bible translations include a note about John 7:53-8:11 NOT being a part of the original manuscripts. Some believe it should be included in the Bible for various reasons, other do not think it should be included in the Bible. What are your thoughts on this? Below is a note from the NIV.
[The earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53—8:11. A few manuscripts include these verses, wholly or in part, after John 7:36, John 21:25, Luke 21:38 or Luke 24:53.]
This account of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery certainly is in line with what the rest of Scripture reveals about Jesus’s character. The primary debate centers not so much on if this event actually happened (and I believe it did), but on where this event should be placed in the gospels. When this happened is not necessarily a critical issue because the events/teachings in the gospels are not always in sequential order. In our American mindset, biographies are told in chronological order, but the gospels should not be viewed as biographies. The gospel writers sometimes placed events or teachings together for emphasis on some aspect of Jesus’s life, teaching, or character.