What Did Jesus Draw or Write?

I am fascinated by the passage in John’s Gospel about Jesus and the woman who was caught committing adultery. Her accusers brought her to Jesus to stone her for her sins, according to law. They asked Jesus about it. He said, “He that is without sin, cast the first stone.” And then he knelt and drew or wrote in the dirt. When he stood, all of the accusers had gone and Jesus asked the woman if any of them had condemned her. She said none of them had condemned her. Jesus then said, “Nor do I condemn you,” and “go and sin no more”. It is a beautiful story of tolerance and forgiveness, and I am wondering, what do scholars say about what it is that Jesus wrote in the dirt? Did he write or draw, and what was it?!

16 thoughts on “What Did Jesus Draw or Write?”

  1. This too is interesting as the Hebrew Bible lays the foundation for the New Testament. Thank you Lunduyan.

  2. Reverend Rasey, thank you got your insight and thoughtful, interfaith connection here. I play with that in my mind– that “touching ground”– to be grounded means getting “down to the dirt of it”, the nitty-gritty truth of self ( we are all sinners). I didn’t know the Buddah story. Thank you again for your insights!

  3. Sometimes stories from other traditions also shed light on what it means to refer to the dirt in response to questions of authority. The Buddha, when he was questioned about his authority by a demon (cf. the story of the temptation of Jesus) answered by touching the ground. A person who knows the ground of their own being, who is grounded in their own authenticity has an authority that cannot be swept away, This is one of the meanings of the story. See Jeremiah 17:13. It is obvious there is more than one meaning which is what makes it holy and is why it has lasted, as something to ponder and mine for meaning, for so long,

  4. and the bystanders left John8.9-12 because they can not prove the accusation. Out of fear what the Lord wrote on the second time they will be stoned who accused the woman. Don’t judge and you will not be judged. This is what The Lord wrote. 1Timothy 2.1-4 God’s will is for us to know the Truth that we will be saved. GOD BLESS

  5. Some preachers say that this story in the Gospel can not be found in the Early Manuscripts (hand written Bible).
    Know that Jesus Christ was not sent by the Father but to save John3.16-17
    Read the passage again According to the Law of Moses John8.5
    The first thing that Christ wrote was according to the Law of Moses Deuteronomy22.22 both the man and the woman should be stoned to death. The is looking for the man John8.3-4
    Christ was asked again what is His judgement He then wrote the second law Deuteronomy 19.17-20 and then He said, Whoever has not sinned cast the first stone.
    This is the reason why the Pharisees left (from the elders) and t

  6. I like your take on this. I also like that it might have been possible that he wrote the sins of those who were standing around, in judgment of the woman, ready to throw stones at her. Once they saw their own sins being drawn in the sand, they realized they, too, had sinned. But this is one of my favorite things to contemplate.

  7. Jesus experienced every temptation common to man. The woman had been drug there after being caught in the act of adultery. Do you suppose this angry mob paused and waited for the woman to get dressed? Of course not, the woman in front of Jesus was in some state of undress, maybe even completely nude. He was drawing in the dirt to give his eyes something non-sinful to do until the crowd dispersed. Only after all other distractions to his self control were gone did he stop drawing in the dirt and look at the woman.
    But, I have no guess as _what_ he was drawing.

  8. As i constantly read peoples comments and as i watch the passions of the christ i feel a strong urge jesus is telling me that he wrote out the 10 commandments.why i say this is because those who were trying to condem this woman of adultry they were leading priest pharisees.they brought a crowd with them stating the law but as they kept asking jesua was still drawing in the sand.we need to take into account that the pharisees knew within themselves they have been not rightoues before god and they loved the praise of people not God himself.as i get an image i see that the people started to drop their stones and the pharisees saw this.eventually they were probably the last ones to drop their stones as tey saw they people diagusted within themselves.they saw they no longer had attention and dropped these stones. I hope and pray that this gives you a better understanding

  9. Sage, I love this explanation of what Jesus wrote. It is very powerful to imagine that the men who were going to stone her saw what Jesus wrote, and knew they were closer to the truth of themselves than they ever had been. Thanks for your input.

  10. The most important thing this illustrates is how much Jesus loves us that can give us great encouragement that He loves so much that He will do anything within truth for us to be with Him and never die. He represents the Divine Mercy of God the Father, the Holy Spirit and Himself in so doing. Somehow He was helping the accusers who were being judgmental to realize their hypocricy, helpinmg us to understand ours and the realization that we all sin. There is no way we could be saved from eternal death is by His forgiving our sins through His Passion taking on our sins Himself.

  11. Very interesting specualtions… I actually never thoguht of this- never- and I am now wodeirng why I never wondered what was happening in the sand as these scenes took place!

  12. This, too, has always fascinated me. In fact,we were discussing this last week at our table. Dad says he wrote all the accusers’ names and then said “Who has not sinned, throw the first stone.” He also thought he could have written some sins that the accusers had committed — our table agreed that either of these could be probabilities. I don’t believe that Jesus was tolerant of the sins or the accusers, but merciful and forgiving for the sinner. I loved your sketch — once again you capture the mood of the moment. Mom

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