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  • Writer's pictureSarah Gladding

Written in the dirt...

Updated: Feb 19, 2019

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.  At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.  The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”  They were using this question as a trap,in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stoneat her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:1-11


The teachers and Pharisees brought a woman before Jesus claiming she was caught in adultery. The law at that time stated that a woman caught in adultery should be stoned. These men used this woman to try to trap Jesus. Would Jesus disobey the law and spare this woman or would He follow the law and stone her? But instead of falling into their trap, Jesus starts writing on the ground. What did He write? While we do not know for sure, the law at that time stated that the adulterous man AND woman were to be brought before the priest. Witnesses were brought forward and the offenders names and offenses were written down. Jesus was likely writing to show these accusers that they too broke the law, by bringing just a women, without witnesses, and not having their accusations written. Perhaps Jesus was going to start writing the accusers names and their offenses on the ground and they knew it.

Instead one by one they left until no one was there. Jesus is left with the woman, who likely is standing there in shame and fear. He does not condemn her, but instead sends her forth telling her to leave her life of sin.

So What:

Two different groups of people came before Jesus that day. The religious leaders, who thought that if they were smart enough, worked hard enough and followed the law, would earn Heaven. They thought they could please God, if they were better than other people. And the woman was used to being treated like she was less-than and taken advantage of. She thought of her self as unworthy. She was ready to give up. Instead, the woman is met with such incredible grace. I have a feeling this day was a turning point in her future.

I vividly remember sitting nervously in front of the Hose House in Kristan’s car. In shame, I shared something deeply personal with her and expected condemnation. Instead she said “yeah, I figured, no big deal, just don’t do that again.” “Um, what? No condemnation”? See, she showed me the heart of the Father in her response that day. And years later, I look back on that day as probably the most pivotal turning point in my spiritual walk.

Everything changed the day I was met with the grace of my Father.

Now What:

Are you feeling the fear of condemnation for an area of sin your life? Take it to the Father and listen to hear his voice. If you hear condemnation, that is the voice of the enemy. Listen closely for the quiet voice of the Father and what He says about you. I guarantee it is full of love and grace for His incredible daughter.

Closing Prayer:

Lord, help us be people that come to you with our struggles, instead of running from the fear of condemnation. You are such a good Father and you love us so unconditionally. Your grace is enough to erase whatever is written about you in the dirt, and we are so thankful you sweep it all away with your love and forgiveness. Amen.

Sarah loves following Jesus on crazy adventures. She enjoys being one of the behind the scenes organizers of Renewal, and helping others follow the visions God gives them.  Two years ago, God called her to the incredible adventure of becoming a foster parent, and she has had the privilege of being a foster mom to 3 amazing little girls. Currently, she is fostering one sassy but sweet one year old she hopes to adopt soon.  Professionally, Sarah is a chemical engineer and works for a plastics company, but no one really understands what she does.  She attends Anthem House Church and she has a heart for inner city outreach. You can connect with Sarah at:

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