Written By Nicole Wood
Envision this scene: a nameless woman was just caught in the act of adultery and a group of angry, bloodthirsty men, dragged her into the Temple courts where Jesus was busy teaching on that momentous day. Exposed, embarrassed, scared and vulnerable. I can only imagine how terrified she must have felt, as she trembled in the midst of her accusers, most likely knowing with near certainty that the final moments of her life will play out here, amid this furious mob. (John 8:1-11 (NIV))
Yet we find Jesus in this same disturbing scene, seemingly indifferent to the chaos around Him, as He starts to write something on the ground with His finger. In His heart, he might have thought the very words He uttered later in John 8:15 (AMP) “You judge according to human standards (just by what you see). I do not judge anyone.”
He could have exposed the Pharisees’ every sin and shortcoming. He could have named every sin of the woman cowering desperately before them. He could have written all this in the dust for all to see.
However, this is not the nature of our loving Father. Of course, we don’t know with any certainty what exactly He was writing so intently that day... Using this one clue, the fact that he was writing in the ground/dust, I believe there is a possibility that He could have written the words of Psalm 103 before them in the dust that day. It is in this specific Psalm that David so tenderly points out that God “…knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:14 (NIV)
Psalm 103:9-10 (NIV) in fact, declares the exact words that Jesus then demonstrates in person on this day: “He will not always accuse… he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” And verse 12: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
I can see Jesus there, calmly writing in the dust, recalling the Psalm of David, and ensuring this woman that indeed, He remembers that we are just dust. At that moment He might have been meditating on the woman’s earthly frailty. He decides to have compassion on her, as a father has compassion on his children (Psalm 103:13(NIV)).
After all, of all the Biblical figures, David would have been the most familiar with the immense sorrow that the sin of adultery causes in one’s life. Who could have been more qualified to write about the Lord’s love and forgiveness as David did in Psalm 103? What joy it would have bought this woman, and can it still bring to each one of His children today to know that each of our sins, no matter what they are, has been removed as far as the east is from the west.
Jesus is our Redeemer and not our accuser. Just like this nameless woman, we can find comfort and rest in the knowledge that He never condemns us, and by His Grace neither should we ever condemn ourselves.