Words In Sand


I was thinking about a story in scripture today. It always resonated with me, because of the profound message which the Lord was trying to convey. And when I see people trying to act ‘all religious,’ I immediately think of the woman caught in adultery.

I absolutely loath many portrayals of Jesus, since they take away from His most human side. Yes, He was God in the flesh, but the flesh, is the part that intrigues me most. He was the example. And if He didn’t go around acting superior and holier than anyone, why should we?

Today, someone was telling me about a teenager’s phone calling him, accidentally. This is a person, who goes to church all the time and loves to talk about the misdeeds of everyone else.  They said, “he had such a potty mouth. His friend and him, were talking and I could hear them cursing. I just thought it was terrible. Meanwhile, I know this person is just as bad. Him and the other person, had recorded the call and played it to each other, and talked about the whole episode, as if it was an unforgivable offense. Now he thought, I would agree, that this was just horrible.

I looked at him and said, “You know, it’s not the outside of a cup that makes it clean.” Reading the discourse in Matthew 23, is a picture of the anger, which Christ had at this hypocrisy. He speaks to the blind leaders. The inside is what needs to be clean. Then the outside will follow.

This guy, just didn’t get it. He stared at me with a blank look. I was pointing out that this is not significant, since none of us are perfect. Without calling him out too much, I hoped he understood, that I wasn’t saying, “Oh who care’s if the kid was cursing?” But  my bigger question was, “Why were you listening? Isn’t that an invasion of his privacy? And then you recorded and played it for someone else?”

Then the natural story that came to my mind was, the woman in found in the Book of John 8. When I read, there are always certain words that seem to pop out at me. For example; v3 standing the woman before a group, was humilitating enough. But being caught, in the act of adultery, even more. Imagine this woman’s circumstances. The punishment for this sin was, death by stoning.

But isn’t this what these men wanted to do to her? Flaunt their superiority and decimate her character. And in the end, have the grounds to end her life. But it begs the question, how did they actually catch her in the act? If, they had not been spying on her first?

Ah yes, the argument today would be for the sake of having the proof to accuse her. But now, look at what the Lord does with this information. H bends down and starts to write on the ground with his finger. How odd. Yes, most people would ask, “Why was He doing this?” But to some of us, we wondering, what was He writing?”

I think that He may have outed,  some of those people, without giving names. Perhaps He wrote their, secret sins, in the sand. But the most obvious, was His calm demeanor, during this whole situation. I am impressed with the time He took to respond. It seems, a great deal of time. And He took a break from His writing. He straightened up,  to utter the famous words; Let any one of you who is without sin, be the first to cast the stone.” This is when He stooped down again.

So, it seems He began His preliminary message, and He stood at eye level to the people He was addressing. And this also allowed the best vantage point, along with the group, read His writing. But then he gave them more time and it may be, to include more of the members. He stooped down to write again, which seemed to give the maximum amount of impact.

Now in verse 8;  At 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.” This is when He asked her, “Has no one condemned you?” She answers, “No one sir.”  “Then neither do I condemn you.” But the last words to her were, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

I think about the message of redemption in this story. Condemned to die, because of her sin. The enemy of our soul, is called, “The Accuser.” One of his many titles. And he works through humans to constantly remind us of where we screwed up. What we’ve done wrong. How far we’ve missed the mark.

But Christ came to shed His blood as an offering on our behalf. This sacrifice is the greatest gift of love. His blood has, “cleansed us from all sin.

Our sins are like those words, written in the sand. The Wind of Truth, had blown and the sand shifts. It fills in all those areas of darkness and words that condemn.

He cannot lie. He has already told us, “That as far as the east is from the west, I will remember your sins no more.” This always fascinates me. We are human, and although we try to forgive, we can’t really ever forget. It’s not possible. But for God, it is. So, as I’ve heard it said, “if He’s forgotten, why do we keep reminding Him?”

This is the time of the year to reflect on the awesomeness of His sacrifice and what it really means. Passover, Resurrection Day. It is all about Redemption.

Thank you Lord for your great mercy!

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Another One Bites the Dust!


Woman, where are your accusers?

The words are often quoted from the story in John 8:7, “If any of you, is without sin. let him be the first to throw a stone.”

One of my favorite stories in scripture, as it points to the hypocrisy of us all. It brings such conviction as we see so many examples which the Lord was pointing out, in one experience.

First we see that the Lord was ready to teach the crowd, when the Pharisees and teachers of the law, dragged a woman into the midst of all the people. “They made her stand before the group.” (v3) As if that wasn’t humiliating enough for this woman. But at closer look we see their intentions were not so much to bring shame to her, as it was to trap the Lord and discredit him before the crowds He was drawing.

So now you see the pride of man, once again, welling up,and the scheming involved with this setup. Well, after all, they were the teachers of the law. And in accordance with the law, any woman caught in adultery, would be stoned. Ahh, this time they really had Jesus. Or so they thought. I mean, after all, if He was the great rabbi, the teacher, He must fulfill the laws, right?

Well, Jesus, being God, fulfilled the whole of the law. Remember, He didn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. And now the first question would be, in my mind, “How did they know she was committing adultery, if they were not also sinning, by watching the act? First point and I’m sure something which crossed all of their minds, when He began to speak.

Now, they reminded Him, that “the law of Moses commanded them to stone such women.” (v5) I have to chuckle at this. When I think of these people quoting such things to our Lord. I have had people come to me and speak total nonsense, and even tell me this is written in the Bible. Preposterous words and ideas, never mentioned. They are convinced it is the truth, and I want to say, “What in the world are you talking about?” But I’m human, imagine what the Lord was thinking at times. Not only knowing all truth, but He is TRUTH.

So, He knew what they were doing and “Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger.” (v6) This is right before He uttered those profound words.

What in the world had He written? Whatever it was, it had a powerful message. It was not just the words He spoke, but the fact that He was giving a word picture, in the sand. It was so powerful that as we continue reading we can see, He spoke of the one who was without sin to start the process and He “again stooped down and wrote on the ground.” (v8)

It was at this point that they began to leave, the older ones first.In that order. At this moment the Lord was alone with the woman and asked her, “where are your accusers?”

The law also required two witnesses before a stoning could occur. Now she stood before the Lord and grace was given. “Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

What did He write? Many have pondered this, however, I believe the concept of the names and ages of all the men which brought this woman to Him. They were the ultimate authorities of the teachings and the laws. So it is without question that they knew what Jeremiah, the prophet had spoken.

“A glorious throne exalted from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary. 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 spring of living water. (Jeremiah 17:13)

I’m believing that these men did not immediately recognize their own blindness, or they would see that Jeremiah had stated their demise, quite plainly. However, I do believe that the Lord, had written something shocking enough that they dropped their stones, and it certainly would have been something which would fulfill prophecy. This would have  definitely scared them, to see their names and ages, written in the dirt. Especially, since it doesn’t seem that the Lord had known them, personally.

The fact that they left, in the order of the oldest to the youngest, perhaps speaks to the fact that He also had written their ages, and as the oldest seems to be the wisest, showed the understanding each had.

 He basically read their mail, just as He had with the Samaritan woman at the well. However, this revelation, brought shame and conviction to these men, in a way which pointed out their hypocrisy, legalism and sanctimony, which they used to destroy peoples lives, rather than to edify them. The beautiful picture is the way our Lord, extended His loving grace, as a means of leading her to repentance.

After the woman has escaped death, He tells her, “now go and leave your life of sin.” He fulfilled the law and showed the way out of this bondage to sin. It was His love, which  had the power to change her heart.

When we look at a ‘religious system,’ we see many who are still in the throes of legalism. Deceived into believing that they can somehow, fulfill the right codes or laws to allow them entrance into the kingdom of God. Our Lord showed us time and time again, this is an impossibility. “For it is by grace which we are saved, not by works, lest any man should boast.”

Although He was very clear when He spoke to the woman,”go and sin no more.” As Paul said, “What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning that grace may increase? By no means!” (Romans 6:1) Yes, he is adamant about the fact that when His grace is extended to us, He also gives us the power to turn away from sin.

Remember the legalist, will turn away from Him. The living water. But to those to whom the Savior has been revealed, grace has come, and with that the power of His Spirit to change the person. Now they can walk toward Him and turn away from the world.

Ask for His grace and He will open your eyes to the mercy He has poured out on you. This is the power He has made available to all men. A release from the captivity of sin.

I made spikes with red paint on them to give out at Easter,one year. I told people, it was symbolic of our Lord and His sacrifice for us. I had a vision of these men standing in the group with stones, ready to hurl them at this woman. In their other hand was one of the spikes, dripping with our Lord’s blood. After having a vision such as this, I wondered, how can any of us be worthy to throw a stone, when our sins have  been responsible for the nails, in His hands and feet?

AMAZING GRACE!