Looks like the joke's on them.

John 7:53–8:11

And everyone went to his own house. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

Two questions jump out from this passage. Since adultery involves two people, where’s the guy? And what is Jesus writing on the ground?

The first question has no answer, which shows that the whole situation is fishy. The second question is somewhat answered by the Greek word used in 8:6 for Him writing— Greek. Graph-o is the root word for write and we get many English words from it, such as phonograph and telegraph.

But kata can mean against, and katagrapho (particularly in John 8:6) means to write an accusation. Jesus isn’t just doodling in the dirt. The words He’s writing on the ground are important, especially to the people in the crowd. Remember, Jesus has His prophetic powers. He’s turning the tables on the accusers.

It’s actually a bit comical. People can see what He’s writing. Yikes! They’re hoping that He stops before it gets any more embarrassing. So, He stops. Then He says, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.

And He starts writing again! Hey, where’d everybody go? “Woman, where are those accusers of yours?

This lesson is like the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes. The lesson of that tale is that everyone in the town knew they were “unqualified for their position or impossibly dull.

In today’s passage, we learn that everyone in this town knew that they were guilty of serious sin.

Both are universal lessons.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Saturday DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.