Study from God’s Word… John, Chapter 7: 2 – 8: 11 … Passage for Reflection: John 8: 6-8 … NIV But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 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.
My Journal for Today: This story, i.e., the one in today’s highlight text, is a perplexing one, isn’t it? Rereading it today and studying it in the past, questions arise for me, like … Why did the accusing mob of Pharisees bring only an adulteress before Jesus in an attempt to trap Him; … why was the man involved not brought to Jesus also? And … what did Jesus write in the ground, which apparently had a deep impact on the Pharisees, who bolted quietly and left the scene of their accusations?
It would sure help me to be able to have the answers to these questions; but like many things in the Bible, it’s not what we don’t know or understand from Scripture that convicts us or directs us, it’s what is clearly written and understood that most often gives us the most convicting and directing application for our lives.
Dr. Smith, the editor of my study Bible this year and the author of The Daily Bible Devotional, from which I am influenced to write these daily journal entries, reports that what Jesus said to the Pharisees during this scenario is often extracted, out of context, when prideful believers are accusing others of being judgmental. How often have many a Christian, noting unforgiveness in others, have thought, at least privately if not publicly, what our Lord said to the Pharisee that day. Jesus, with the adulteress in front of Him and all the people that day, looking at the Pharisees, said, ”Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
And in this age of cultural hyper-tolerance you may have even heard non-Christians use that biblical phrase to justify their reported non-judgmental attitudes. The “tolerance crowd” in our world today would want us to not judge anyone from the standpoint of our Christian held values. Because if we, who hold Jesus up as our Savior and the Bible as our standard for life, are right, those who claim “tolerance must rule” are looking into a mirror of truth and seeing themselves as being far from one who can cast that first stone. And isn’t it interesting that those who so loudly preach TOLERANCE these days are so rabidly intolerant when it comes to Christianity.
Whatever Jesus wrote in the dirt that day must’ve been a mirror for those who wanted to have Jesus join with them in stoning the sinner caught in adultery. And when Jesus spoke his revealing exhortation to the Pharisees about casting the first stone, as well as them seeing what The Messiah wrote in the sand, it caused them to walk away in apparent personal guilt and deep condemnation.
So, what do you and I take away from this story. And maybe Dr. Smith’s closing question for the day is one upon which we all should meditate. He writes … ”Am I privately as outraged at my own moral failure as I am publicly outraged at the sins of others?” If you’ve been reading here with me this year, you’ve no doubt read me write an old adage on several occasions; and it’s one which Dr. Smith repeats today: When we point a finger of blame at someone else, three fingers from our own hand are pointing right back at our own accusing self.
And with that, I guess I need write no more today.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to right myself before I ever reach out to help others be right in Your eyes. Amen