When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
I have read the story of the women caught in adultery quite a few times. As with all scriptures, each time I read it I find some tidbit of revelation. In January when I read it during a fast, I got another revelation. And, even writing today, I got another. I love God!
So, to the story…
After dragging the woman off of her bed of adultery and dragging her into temple before Jesus, the men who brought in the woman were waiting for Jesus to answer their dilemma. Would he do as the law of Moses said and stone the women or would he violate the law and let her go?
Imagine that you are watching the season finale or premiere of your favorite show or imagine that you are at the cliffhanger in a movie or novel. This is the type of tension that probably was present in the room. Everyone was waiting to see what Jesus was going to do. The men just knew they had him right where they wanted him. Imagine their smug smiles and puffed out chests.
Imagine those in the room who had done the same thing with their pensive eyes waiting to see their they will get a pass too by virtue of Jesus letting this woman live. Imagine being the woman, waiting to see if it was your time to die. Imagine the eyes of the crowd looking back and forth between the men, the woman and Jesus. It is in this type of atmosphere I imagine that Jesus bent down, slowly and intentionally, to begin writing in the sand.
I bet you everyone shifted their eyes solely on Jesus. Those close up read what he was writing and those far away tried to figure it out. All I know is whatever he was writing didn’t stop the men from waiting on Jesus’ answer.
So, Jesus tried another tactic. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her (7).
You would have thought that Jesus’ words would have pierced them immediately. But, that is not what happened apparently. Otherwise, I don’t think Jesus would have needed to return to writing in the sand. So, he does. And slowly, each person realizes that their accusatory voices of trickery were silenced.
The first line of John 8:9 captures this eloquently, “When they heard it…” You see, they didn’t hear Jesus all at once. Each took some time. They were so bent on catching Jesus that they didn’t realize that they had been caught, that Jesus had been speaking to them.
Sometimes that is what happens to us. We are so bent on our own agenda that we miss the voice of God. We might be unable to hear because of our own internal drama that drowns out the still small voice. We might be unable to hear because the voices of others prevent us from hearing. We might be unable to hear because we are caught up in the rules, the laws, the traditions, or the past. And yes, sometimes we are unable to hear because of our own sin.
Whatever the reason, like these men, Jesus will keep waiting and writing in the sand until we do. Notice Jesus didn’t accuse them of anything. He just offered them an option that freed them and the woman. All they had to do is heed the truth and repent (walk away). As we know, the woman was released when her accusers got free.
Sometimes, it’s like that. We are caught up until others see the truth. That’s why it is important for us to pray for our enemies. It is by praying for them that we might obtain our own freedom.
Today, as you reflect, ask God if there is any area in your life where you are not hearing from him. If so, just ask God to write it upon the sands of your heart and give you another chance to hear God’s voice and to obtain true freedom.