I may have pondered it from a sermon or a commentary, and certainly if I linger over the words I would wonder too: what did Jesus write in the dust that day? Whatever it was was not meant for future knowledge. But his words were recorded–the words he spoke. The doctor sent to heal. The One who came to seek and save the lost. He who can take a heart of stone and turn it into flesh. What did he say?
In Zechariah, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says, “16 But this is what you must do: Tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace. 17 Don’t scheme against each other. Stop your love of telling lies that you swear are the truth. I hate all these things, says the Lord.” (Zechariah 8:16, NLT)
To the people gathered around, he said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12, NLT)
To the unbelieving people he warned, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. 24 That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:23-24, NLT)
To those who believed in him, he said, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:31b-36, NLT–and don’t stop reading there.)
His words light a fire in me. I fix my eyes on Jesus.
For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has arrived
to look after Judah, his flock.
He will make them strong and glorious,
like a proud warhorse in battle.
4 From Judah will come the cornerstone,
the tent peg,
the bow for battle,
and all the rulers.
5 They will be like mighty warriors in battle,
trampling their enemies in the mud under their feet.
Since the Lord is with them as they fight,
they will overthrow even the enemy’s horsemen.
6 “I will strengthen Judah and save Israel;
I will restore them because of my compassion.
It will be as though I had never rejected them,
for I am the Lord their God, who will hear their cries.
7 The people of Israel will become like mighty warriors,
and their hearts will be made happy as if by wine.
Their children, too, will see it and be glad;
their hearts will rejoice in the Lord.
8 When I whistle to them, they will come running,
for I have redeemed them. (Zechariah 10:3-8, NLT)
What did he say that day to the adulterous woman caught in (enslaved by) her sin?
And Jesus said, “… Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11b, NLT)
Had the father of lies spoken instead, he would have told her to go back to the man in her bed. He would have condemned her as weak or championed her personal freedom (a personal “freedom” to stay in sin). He would have told her there are worse things. He would have said everyone is doing it–it’s normal. But he would not have empowered her freedom to walk in light and truth, to turn away from sin.
Father God, thank you that you give me your Spirit to speak truth to me and lead me in the light. You call me daughter, empowered by your compassion to fight the good fight. You do not condone sin. You came to set people free from its grip. You came to set me free. Why would I ever want to return to slavery when I can have freedom in you?