John 8:1-11 (Doodling in the Dirt)


Are you a doodler? Talking on the phone do you doodle? – Scribble on paper – names shapes

A)You can learn a lot from reading a persons doodles


B)A teacher might learn the name of the boy that a High School girl has a crush on.

1) Or the name of the girlfriend she is mad at.


C) Same teacher might get an idea of the type of car a young high school boy dreams of owning.


D) A husband might discover where his wife is hoping  to go to dinner or on vacation.


But when God doodles – We learn about grace and forgiveness, compassion and tenderness

A)At least that is what we see in this Story.


Quote F.B. Meyer.

“This Story reveals a wisdom so profound, a tenderness to sinners so delicate, a hatred of sin so intense, an insight into the human heart so searching that it is impossible to suppose that the mind of man could have conceived of it, or the hand of man could have invented it.”

                                  RD V.2-11

Scene It is the day after the feast of Tabernacles has completed and Jesus is once again into the temple

A)He is somewhere in the temple courtyard area and the people are gathered around.


B) Now this was a common practice for rabbis to gather in the temple and their students to gather to listen.


C) You recall what happened the day before on the last day of the feast - …empty pitcher ….

1) Israel was still thirsting – Jesus stood and cried out –


"If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

A)Jesus offers to quench our spiritual thirst. He wants to satisfy empty souls - bring peace to troubled hearts.


B)Create a river of refreshment that bubbles up from within.

1)You have heard the expression cotton mouth  where  your mouth gets so dry it feels like it’s full of cotton.


C)In a spiritual sense every human suffers from a case of spiritual cottonmouth.

1)our soul is dry and parched & in need of refreshment.


D) That is what Jesus offers … Conduit to refresh others

Jesus’ offer so intrigued the crowd - the next morning, even after the feast was over - they were back in the Temple with Jesus, hungry to learn more.

A)So as the crowd gathered Jesus sits down and is teaching them that’s when it happens


Aa)An intrusive interruption – the religious leaders come with a woman in hand –


B) They throw her down at the very feet of Jesus – declaring – she was caught in the very act of adultery

1)In my mind I picture her covered only in the bed sheet from the bed she was sinning in.


C)Make no mistake about it, the text is clear, these were not trumped up charges - this woman was guilty, As the Pharisees put it, "caught in the very act".


It makes us though wonder what happened the night before.

A)How did the Jewish Pharisees catch her red-handed?


B) And if she was really caught in the very act of adultery – where was the DUDE. – THE MANDuet22

1)Some Bible commentators suggest that it was one of their religious friends –


C)How else  did the Pharisees know exactly where to go to find a her?

D)It is possible they were very familiar with this woman and her tendency toward being promiscuous

1)a woman who had a thing for men in clerical robes


E)Apparently, they had trapped her to trap Jesus.

    The implications here are interesting…


Though guilty, this woman was the victim of a Pharisaical sting.

A)She had become a pawn in a bigger game - the bait to catch a bigger fish.


B)However it happened, the Pharisees brought this woman into the Temple & threw her down at His feet.


C)Jesus had been teaching God’s truth. Interested ears were all around Him.

1)Suddenly there were angry voices - and a stern group of Pharisees marched into the circle w/ the woman


D)They threw her down in the dust like a queasy new father throws a smelly diaper in the garbage.


E)They’re barking accusations – their faces are scrunched up in disgust

1)they’re pointing fingers at the woman as if they were thrusting her through with little swords.


F)These are a hostile bunch of so-called "holy men".

1) It’s as if blood is in the water, and the sharks are circling for the kill.

In Contrast to the Pharisees there lies the woman – embarrassed –

 A)A Scarlet letter A now plastered across her forehead –

I like the fact that we don’t even know her name –


B)See God was not interested in embarrassing her.


C)Jesus summarizes His mission on earth in John 12:47, "I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world."

1) In John 8 we have a example of Jesus in action.


On a segment of the TV news digest, "60 Minutes", host Mike Wallace interviewed a Jewish survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

His name was Yehiel Dinur. He was a major witness at the Nuremberg war crime trials at the end of WWII.


During the interview Wallace mentioned the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the notorious mastermind of Hitler's atrocities against the Jews.


He showed a clip of Eichmann’s trial in 1961. In the clip Dinur was seen walking into the room, and coming face to face for the first time with Adolf Eichmann. Dinur stopped cold in his tracks and started sobbing uncontrollably.


He then collapsed and fainted as the judge pounded the gavel and called the room to order.

In his interview, Wallace asked Dinur, "Were you overcome with hatred? Fear? Horrid memories?"

 Dinur responded, "No, none of these. Suddenly I realized that this Eichmann was not a monster, as I had envisioned him.

He was an ordinary man, like me. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with fear for myself. I saw that I am capable of doing this. I am exactly like him." What an interesting response…


Perhaps you have a hard time relating to this woman lying at the feet of Jesus, but I don't!

A)I can see myself lying right next to her – curled up beside her in the dust.


B)But for the grace and mercy of God, I could've been in her shoes


C) I am capable - the evil thoughts that sometimes come out of nowhere and shock my sensibilities.

1) They remind me that I am human. I too, am but dust.


D)When I think of this woman I realize that we both are sinners –

1)we both have fallen short of God's plan and perfection


D)We both have gone our own way – we both are tempted...

1) I realize, that in so many ways, both you and I, are exactly like her…   

                           Well lets see what happens

The Pharisees say in verse 5, “Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" And John adds, “This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him.”


A)Under the Mosaic Law the punishment for adultery was death by stoning.


B)According to the Jewish Mishnah the adulterer was placed knee deep in a box of manure.

1)Perhaps this was the origin of the expression "knee deep in trouble".


C)After being placed in the box of manure the victim was pelted with stones

1)until their face slumped into the slime.


D)After the execution a tree was planted in the box of manure to stand in the city as a testimony to the seriousness of adultery.


E) SO, a town with a lot of trees would be considered a "shady place" in more ways than one!


So the Pharisees remind Jesus that the Law of Moses ordered for her to be stoned- trap was set

A)See on the one hand, if He refuses to execute the proper punishment the Jews will label Him permissive – soft on sin.



B)Jesus would lose His stature among the people.

1)How could a man of truth and righteousness let a streetwalker just walk?


C)On the other hand, if He carries out the punishment Jesus will lose the ear of the people who’ve been attracted by His mercy.


D)Everyone knew this woman had been ambushed by the Pharisees.

1)Would Jesus let bitter men, with a jealous grudge, force Him into taking a woman's life?


E)The Pharisees think either way they’ve got Him…


But Jesus responds in a most unusual way, verse 6, “But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.”


A)It is as if Jesus just starts to doodle – while he is thinking.


B)Understand, this is the only occasion in Scripture where it’s recorded that Jesus wrote anything down.

1)But here He stoops and begins to doodle in the dirt.


C)Like a backyard quarterback, in the midst of the huddle, drawing a play in the dirt –

1) Jesus bends down and begins to write with His finger.


Of course, the intriguing question is, "what did He write?"

A)We're not told what Jesus wrote, but there’s a clue imbedded in the original text.


B)The Greek word usually translated “wrote” is "grapho", from which we get our word "graphic".


C)But John adds a prefix to the word He uses here - the prefix "kata" which means "against or in opposition to" - "katagrapho" means "to write against".


D)Whatever Jesus wrote, they were not flattering words.

1) It was a message that awoke the conscience of the Pharisees and convicted them of their own sin.


When Jesus wrote in the dirt, He literally wrote with the "finger of God".

A)Several times in the Old Testament “the finger of God” wrote specific message.


B) Ten Commandments


C) King Belshazzar – , was having a party. He was gloating in his self-confidence.

1) He felt invincible - unaware that his enemy was just outside the walls of the city


D)Mene TekelUpharsan{ Weighed …wanting


And then there was this time: Jesus w/ the finger of God writing in the dirt.

A)It’s also been suggested that Jesus scribbled Jeremiah 17:13 in the dirt.


B) The verse in Jeremiah reads, "Those who depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD."   Jeremiah 17:13


C) These very guys in their rejection of Jesus had Forsaken the Lord


D) SO Jesus is writing something in the dirt


We are  told in verse 7, “So when they continued asking Him…”

A)They start pushing Jesus for a response. They're proud and presumptuous.


B)They don't realize that there are two types of sinners in this Temple this day…

1) There's a sinner sulking in the dirt, and there’re sinners seething with rage.


C) There’s a sinner who’s been caught in the very act,

1)and there are sinners who have hidden their sin behind clerical collars and priestly robes - and religious rituals and church affiliations.

D)The Pharisees don't realize that both the unrighteous and the self-righteous are equally guilty before the eyes of holy God.


To me the saddest sight, is to see a person who's suppose to know the love of God with a rock in their hand.

A)If you say you're a Christian, how can you not extend the same love and forgiveness and mercy to others that God has extended to you?


B)Here the religious leaders are like a pack of rabid dogs waiting to attack their prey.


We’re told, V.7 “(Jesus) 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.”


C)What a marvelous and merciful response! Jesus doesn't ignore or condone this woman’s sin –

1) but neither does He condemn her.



Have you ever had this thought  God is so holy, and pure, and perfect; yet why in the world does He put up with people like you and me?"

A)And there's only one answer to that question… it’s not logical, or rational, or even comprehensible,


B)but the reason God doesn't annihilate us - and is willing to work with us - is that He loves us.

1) Yes, He really loves us!


C)And because He loves us, this pristine, spotless, absolutely PERFECT God, is willing to do whatever it takes to clean us up and make us His children.


D)Whatever Jesus wrote with His finger in the dirt that day, He showed that God was willing to get down in the dirt for us.


E) Note He stooped down to where the woman was –

1) He did that when He left heaven came to earth.


The Pharisees had condemned this woman to death. A)Their way of dealing with what's ugly and useless was to destroy it.


B)The Jewish remedy for sin was a stone, but Jesus' remedy was a piece of wood, a cross!


C) Perhaps you've been wondering how it all works…

1) Hey, there're no tricks to coming to Christ.


D)Salvation is not the result of rubbing a magic lamp 1)It’s not payment of good deeds done. It’s not a merit badge - or the result of secret initiations or hidden dues.

No Salvation happens when we realize what we are that we are sinners, We come and throw ourselves down at the feet of Jesus.

A)Understanding – He paid the price – He took our punishment – in return He offers Life.


 B)God promised you a priceless gift, there's nothing you can do to earn it, but you must come to Jesus to receive that gift.

1) And we’re going to give you that opportunity this morning…


C) Jesus stands up to these Pharisees and rolls the ball back into their court.

1)He doesn't say the Law is wrong – nor does He deny the validity of the woman’s sentence –


D)He just questions the qualifications of the men who want to carry it out.


I don’t know about you, but I love the words, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first."

A)They were brilliant. In one stroke Jesus stirred up the guilty conscience of the Pharisees and gave hope to sinners everywhere!


B) See Jesus was the only one there without sin –

1)and Jesus will deal with this woman’s sin, but not with stones.


By the way, there is one more theory about what Jesus wrote in the dirt that I should mention.

A)It’s possible Jesus listed the names of the Pharisees’ girlfriends.


B)He opened up their little black book and listed the call girls they frequently called.


C) Possible he wrote names and dates – and sins – adultery , thief, liar , gossip


D) He is why I think that - Verse 9, “Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.”


We’re told, “And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”

A)I love this scene – she had been thrown to the ground – embarrassed condemned –


B) Sitting there in the dirt as this whole exchange is happening – But now we see her raised up

1) She is standing in the midst –


C) That is what Jesus seeks to do with sinners  Raise them up – New life – New Start - What a scene!

1)For maybe the first time in her life, she’s had a man stand up for her.


D)He took her side over the religious crowd.

 For the first time she can remember a man has treated her like a person, instead of an object.

A)She's felt the lust of men on many occasions, but now she senses what she thinks is real love.


B)She was on the brink of death… and now, she feels alive again.

1)She’s been born again. She has a brand new start.


10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, Gune – what Jesus called his mom – term of affection and endearment.


So He said

Woman where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" 


Verse 11 records the woman’s simple, joyous reply, "No one, Lord."


Jesus lifted her up, and restored her dignity, and treated her like a real person.

A)In a single act, Jesus returned her virtue, and gave her life value.


B) His love disarms her and unlocks the padlock of her heart. -


Verse 11… these words are the climax…


Understand, there was only one person in the temple with the right to accuse this woman.

A)Only one sinless person was there that day. And that was Jesus… but Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." Wow!


B)Guys, Jesus gives this sinful woman and every other sinful man or woman like her, an opportunity to start over.


C) Go and sin no more – You don’t have to live like that anymore.


This morning He wants to give you an opportunity to rebuild your life with His help, His love, His kindness.


He gives wayward women and immoral men a new passion and purpose - and helps them mold a better life.


Jesus took a stand for this woman – and for the rest of her life she will take a stand for Jesus!


She has tasted real love and she will never go back to the lusts of this world. This morning I want to give you an opportunity to take a stand for Jesus...