Who is Writing?

John 8:2-11 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. (3) The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst (4) they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. (5) Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” (6) This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. (7) And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (8) And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. (9) But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. (10) Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” (11) She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]

Many people try to guess what Jesus might have written in the sand. The Scripture simply does not tell us what he wrote. To guess misses the point. The point is captured by Michael Card so beautifully in the song “Scribbling In the Sand.” The point isn’t what is being written but there in the temple of God, who was writing?

He sings:
“It was silence, it was music, it was art it was absurd. He stooped and shouted volumes without saying a single word. The same finger from the strongman that had written the ten commands for now was simply scribbling in the sand”

There was one there who was without sin and could have thrown a stone. In fact the law would require him to stone such a woman. Yet He who carved the commands of the law in stone was now writing new and better words of gospel grace. He would seal these new words with his own death on the cross. He could say “neither do I condemn you” because he was going to take her condemnation upon himself.”

Michael Card wisely leads us to ask:

“could that same finger come and trace my soul’s sacred sins and make some unexpected space where I could understand that my own condemnation pierced and broke that gentle hand that scratched the words I will never know, written in the sand?”