Friday, August 6, 2010

Letters in the Sand...

(photo from
I wonder what he was writing. You know, as he bent down with her standing in front of him, and both of them surrounded by this angry mob...I wonder what he was writing in the sand. Maybe he was making a list of the things she had done wrong, I don't know. Oh, oh, oh, wouldn't it be funny if he was making a list of the things THEY had done know, the men standing there with stones in hand? That would have been hilarious. That's what I might have done, you know, if I were Jesus and some group of men brought her to me. Only I wouldn't tell them what I was doing, I'd wait to see how things went, if needed, I could pull that ace out of my sleeve.

I wonder what he was thinking while this was going on. We know what THEY were thinking. THEY were thinking that she had been caught doing something she wasn't supposed to be doing, and what the heck, we haven't stoned anybody today. We can imagine what she was thinking: terrified that her life is about to end, abandoned, angry that he wasn't there facing condemnation with her, but what about Jesus? What was he thinking? I'm sure this wasn't the first time he had been dragged into something like this. But this time it seemed different. He might have been thinking, "When are they going to get it? How many times do I have to tell them that this is not how Father wants them to live?" We all know it takes two to tango, yet where was her lover? Why didn't the angry mob drag him to Jesus too? Maybe Jesus was wondering that very thing, I don't know. I'm just thinking. I would have wondered that.

And there she stood...alone...ashamed...condemned in the eyes of men...waiting to hear him agree with the angry mob. After all, he knew the rules, and this angry mob knew that he knew them, so all he had to do was drop the gavel and it was all over for her. Everyone there knew that. It was the law. Moses had given them the law and you couldn't break the law.

You see, this very story is why I love being a Jesus follower. The other ones are cool, but if I had to pick one story out of all of them...only one that I could read and preach for the rest of my life, this would be it. Why? Because this is one time out of many when the law condemned, but Jesus said "To hell with the law." I love it! He knew what Moses had said. He knew that if she was guilty this group had every right to stone her, according to the law. He also knew that those angry men were just as guilty of just as many sins, so who did they think they were judging her??!!

"If any of you have never messed up, you can throw a rock at her. Throw it good, aim straight at her head. Hit her hard. But...if you have EVER messed up, you had better not throw one." That wasn't exactly how he worded it, but ok. Then he went back to writing in the sand.

I don't know what he wrote...but I know what he said: "Where are they? Is no one left to condemn you? Then neither do I. Go and sin no more." What he said was that his love for her was stronger than any of man's laws, that God's love for her was greater than the things she had screwed up in her life, that she was just as good as anyone else, and that this was a new beginning...and by dang, we know people who might like to hear that.

What are we writing in the sand? Letters of condemnation because they aren't like us? Love letters because, like them, we have been forgiven much? Rules? Laws? Freedom? Traditions? We've never done it that way? I don't know what he wrote in the sand, but whatever it was said, "I love you."


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