Series: Short Stories with Jesus
Message: Hot Woman, Cold Men.
Preacher: Danni Sherwood
Reflection: Paddy McCoy
Live Wonder: Jessyka Albert
Live Adventure: Jessyka Albert
Live Purpose: Kyle Smith
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: John 8:3–11 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2). “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature . . .” (Hebrews 1:1-3). “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15).
This Word that became flesh, this Jesus, fully human and fully divine, did something during the encounter related in John 8 that to our knowledge hadn’t been done since the time of Moses. Exodus 31:8 tells us that, “When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.” Jesus bent down, while the religious leaders accused the woman of adultery, and wrote in the sand with His finger. This is significant, since we’re not told that Jesus wrote anything else during His time on earth.
Of course we also don’t know exactly what He wrote; whether it was the actual law from Leviticus stating that both the man and the woman caught in the act of adultery needed to be addressed, or if Jesus wrote the sins of the men who were accusing the woman. More scholars believe that it was the latter, due to the fact that one by one, from older to younger, the men left.
What amazes me about the idea of Jesus writing their sins in the sand is that He could have just as easily spoken their sins. He could have outed the men in front of the whole crowd, yet He used discretion and kept the knowledge between Him and the men. I don’t know if the men left in shame or with conviction of their sin, or if they left out of fear that Jesus might share their sins publicly and defame them if they pushed harder (though I doubt that’s what He would have done—remember, Jesus loved them too), but either way, Jesus held a high level of calmness and integrity in what could have been a volatile confrontation.
How did Jesus stay so steady and composed during this time of constant attack? How can we stay calm in a world that seems to love to fight—physically and verbally—online and offline—about even the most trivial of matters? Maybe the secret lies in something the apostle Paul wrote about Jesus: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2: 5). We would do good to spend more time focusing on how Jesus responded to difficult situations and modeling our life after His than in reacting emotively to attacks. Maybe our Christ-guided responses could help change the world.
Recalibrate: Think back to a recent confrontation you had. Did you respond in a Christ-like manner? How could you have?
Respond: Pray that God will allow you to have the heart of Jesus as you deal with those you disagree with.
Research: Review some headlines and consider how world leaders react to tough situations. How might Jesus have responded differently?
Padraic “Paddy” McCoy currently serves as young adult pastor at Kettering Adventist Church. He enjoys authentic discipleship, attempts at intergenerational connections in our churches, and having as much fun as possible. His wife Tricia is a social worker specializing in at-risk adolescents, and his two teenagers, Ayden and Allayna teach him daily about the love of Christ.
Young children are not as easily embarrassed as adults. Take turns sharing with your child something that makes you sad, happy, scared, excited, or embarrassed . . .
The woman in our story must have felt kind of embarrassed when she got caught doing something wrong. Have you ever been embarrassed when you got in trouble? Jesus didn’t want her to be embarrassed and He doesn’t want you to feel that way either!
Imagine being the woman, thrown on the ground, about to be stoned. But suddenly, instead of being stoned Jesus begins to write in the sand. These words cause all the Pharisees to walk away. What do you think He was writing in the sand? How would you have responded to Jesus?