In the middle of Jesus teaching, the religious scholars broke through the crowd and brought a woman who had been caught in the act of committing adultery and made her stand in the middle of everyone. Then they said to Jesus, ” Teacher, we caught this woman in the very act of adultery. Doesn’t Moses’ law command us to stone to death a woman like this? Tell us, what do you say we should do with her?” They were only testing Jesus because they hoped to trap him with his own words and accuse him of breaking the laws of Moses. But Jesus didn’t answer them. Instead he simply bent down and wrote in the dust with his finger. ( Or in 2020 – he knealt down and drew on the sidewalk with chalk:). Angry , the kept insisting that he answer their question, so Jesus stood up and looked at them and said, “Let’s have the man that has never had a sinful desire throw the first stone at her.” And then he bent over again and wrote some more words in the dust. Upon hearing that, her accusers slowly left the crowd one at a time, beginning with the oldest to the youngest, with a convicted conscience. Until finally, Jesus was left alone with the woman still standing there in front of him. So he stood back up and said to her, ” Dear woman, where are your accusers?” Is there no one here to condemn you?” Looking around she replied, ” I see no one, Lord.” Jesus said…
“Then I certainly don’t condemn you either. Go, and from now on, be free from a life of sin.”
It was a group text to myself and 3 other neighbors. The above picture and the words, ” Let’s do this!” flashed across my phone screen. Within 30 minutes my neighbors and I and our families were outside on a beautiful Saturday sharing chalk and decorating driveways. It felt like therapy as Brooke and I created and colored and filled our blank driveway with a bible verse and 66 step hop scotch trail that lead to our door. It was a welcome escape from the last 7 days that had felt like 700. In a world gone crazy – this was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Later that evening I posted pictures on our community facebook page of the chalked up driveways that lined our street. I encouraged others around town to join us in an effort to bring JOY through chalk to our very uncertain world. The response was amazing. Pictures of colorful driveways popped up throughout the day. I also offered myself and my neighbors to decorate anyones driveways that may not be able to do their own. We had 10 responses!!! It was awesome. The writing of words of encouragement was healing for the writer and the recipient. We hope that all that walked by the messages experienced a smidge of joy in their day.
In the bible passage today, I share the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery – an act – that by law – should have lead her to her death. We have no idea what she was wearing, maybe nothing at all, hopefully at least covered in a blanket. We know she was thrown into the middle of a religious teaching. We know things weren’t fabulous in her life if she was willing to sleep with a married man knowing it could lead to her demise. It was clearly not her best day. She was in desperate need of hope, encouragement and actually an act of God to get her out of the mess she had made. When her accusers demand an answer to what should happen with her they are essentially trying to trap him. They really didn’t care about what happened with the woman – they just wanted to put him in a spot where it would appear he was breaking the law of Moses.
And Jesus, in all his wisdom, stoops down…
and starts writing in the dirt. Or chalking on the sidewalk.
Many bible scholars believe there is no way we can know what Jesus wrote that day. My guess is speculation at best but I’m basing it on Jesus track record of encouraging people in unique ways. Remember the mud in the eye from my devotion a few days ago?? I picture Jesus, knealing down near the woman, moving his finger around in the sand , forming words like, “Be patient, I got you.” “You are loved.” “You are worthy.” He kept writing making the scholars more furious. Finally Jesus breaks the silence and proclaims – ‘He who is without sin, cast the first stone’. And religious leader by religious leader slowly turned and walked away. The woman – staring at the words in the sand realizes she has been set free. An act of God indeed. Words from Jesus speak truth and have power. They literally change the trajectory of people lives.
When the crowd has dispersed and all that is left is Jesus and the woman – the message he speaks can be summed up in 5 simple words – the response he desires from all of us when we are freed from the grip of sin..
“Go and sin no more.”
Incredible. Can you imagine? Her life was just given back. She can turn a new page knowing she has a Savior that loves her and believes her best days are yet to come. She is not defined by her past but able to live a brand new future.
I can’t wait to get to heaven and ask the woman what Jesus was writing. Isn’t that amazing that we will be able to rub shoulders with all that walked and talked with Jesus? When I see her, Im going to hand her a basket of colorful chalk and invite her to create with me. Until then I’m going to keep chalking encouragement to myself and my neighbors. Im going to share the words of Jesus – they’ve got the power to accomplish some pretty incredible things no matter how you communicate the message.
It’s just extra fun when it’s done with chalk.
Loving you where you are. Pointing you forward to where He is.