What did Jesus write on the ground in John 8?


By BibleAsk Team

John 8

The record of Jesus writing on the ground is found in the following passage: “Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” 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.

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.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the groundThen 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. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” “And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground” (John 8:3-11)

What Did Jesus Write on the Ground?

The context of the verse is that the Jews had brought woman caught in adultery and asked Jesus to pass sentence over her. This incident was clearly a trap: if Jesus said they should stone her, then the Jews would report Him to the Romans who had the civil authority for such an act. If Jesus said that they should not stone her, then the Jews would accuse Him of disregarding the law of Moses. The religious leaders were hypocrites and arranged for the whole story to try to entrap Jesus.

But instead of answering them, Jesus wrote on the ground. This is one of the only records of Jesus writing anything. According to tradition, He wrote down the sins of the accusers. The practice of writing in the sand is referred to in the Mishnah (Shabbath 12. 5, Soncino ed. of the Talmud, p. 503).

This is indeed probable because after He was done writing on the ground, He asked those around, who were without sin to cast the first stone. The people there having seen their sins written on the ground were convicted of their own sinful deeds and could not stone the woman. Jesus’ writing on the ground the sins of the woman’s accusers proved His divinity and that He can read the hearts of men.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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