Why did Jesus twice write in the ground when the Jews wanted to stone a woman?

Why did Jesus write twice with His finger on the ground when men wanted to stone a woman?

Let us try to understand this event.

Understanding is the ability to link information together -- Using a theme to connect different Bible verses together.

When Jesus says or does something unusual it just means that He is giving us a deep insight into some aspect of God’s great plan for humanity.

The scene looks simple. The scribes and Pharisees plan to trap Him with a sinful woman. If He says that they can stone this sinner woman then He has obeyed the Law of Moses, but He is then no longer the Prince of Life because He has given a death sentence. If He says that they must not stone her, then He has contradicted Moses and broken the Law. So either way they think that they have got Him trapped.

They present the terrified woman to Jesus. She is definitely guilty of adultery. Her awful death by stoning is written on their hard faces. They long for permission to kill.

Being hypocrites, they pretend to go through the procedure of a trial.

John 8:4     They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

:5     Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

:6   This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

He now does a fascinating but mysterious action.


He stoops right down and writes with His finger in the ground. He completely ignores them as if He is totally alone and they are not even there.

This takes us back to Moses on mount Sinai when he was totally alone on top of the mountain to get the ten commandments.

What on earth is Jesus trying to tell them, and us?

They are trying to catch Him out on a clever technical question concerning the Law of Moses. The ten commandments mentions adultery. So this is the crux of the issue.

Using His finger to write in the ground refers us back to the finger of God the Father Who wrote the ten commandments onto stone tablets.


So what is Jesus actually saying?

Exodus 31:18   And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

Exodus 32:15   And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.

:16     And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.

Jesus is giving them an in depth lecture on the futility of the Law to improve human behavior.

Commandments written on the outside of stone tablets did not make the Jews into nicer people.

Jesus says in effect, "You guys want to trap me on a certain issue in the Law. But you fail to realize that I am the One Who originally wrote the Law.

As God the Father, with My finger, I wrote the ten commandments of the Law on tables of stone.

Judging from your lust to kill this woman, the commandments have failed to make you better people.

Now as the Son of God I am going through a time wasting exercise of writing the ten commandments in the ground. Wind and rain and people’s feet will erase what I have written. So it is a futile exercise.  Why on earth do I then do this?

My first reason is to show you how futile the Law of Moses is in terms of changing human behavior."

Exodus 32:19   And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.


Moses was so angry that they had fallen so quickly back into sin that he threw the stone tablets down with such violence that he smashed the stone tablets.

So Moses was the first man to break all ten commandments.

So much for this great prophet that the religious leaders were claiming as their final authority.


Secondly, when rock breaks and crumbles it turns into smaller and smaller pieces thanks to wind, rain and weather, until the fine rock pieces end up as ground. Ground or soil is simply weathered rock.


The sketch above illustrates how solid rock eventually crumbles into fine particles of ground.

Moses demonstrated the failure of the Law, turning the stone tablets into shattered pieces that would then crumble to form ground.

Writing the Law onto stone was thus illustrated as being actually a wasted effort. It would not improve people’s behavior. They would merely break the ten commandments.

Jesus then in effect says that, “As the Son of God I write the ten commandments in the ground where they will also do no good as the writing will not last”.

We humans are too sinful to obey a set of sensible and helpful laws. We even kill ourselves on the roads because of our refusal to obey sensible traffic rules like speed limits and stop signs.

John 8:7   So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

The woman had broken one commandment. They claimed authority from Moses to kill her.

Yet Moses himself had broken all the commandments. And God had not killed Moses.

Jesus then said that only a sinless person had permission to throw the first stone. But they had all sinned. As have all humans. So how could a group of sinful men be justified in killing a sinful woman? The pot was calling the kettle black.

The reason that Moses got so angry was because the Jews has persuaded their first high priest Aaron to give them permission for a naked orgy.

Exodus 32:25   And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)

The accused woman had been naked when committing adultery. But that was exactly what the Jews had all been doing when they first received the Law.

So the Law had never changed human nature. The desire to sin burned strongly in human hearts.

John 8:8   And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.


The very strange repetition of His first action.

The men were leaving, defeated. There was thus no human reason for writing again in the ground.

Jesus had totally demolished them and they had no option but to leave. But having won the case, Jesus again began to write on the ground. He was repeating this futile exercise. Why? Because writing the ten commandments in stone never changed anyone for the better and equally, writing the ten commandments in the ground would never change anyone either.

But the ten commandments had been written twice by God in stone.

Exodus 34:1   And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.

As God the Father, Jesus had written the ten commandments twice with His finger in stone.

As the Son of God He now wrote twice with His finger in the ground.

John 8:9   And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

Jesus had saved the life of the woman. A woman symbolizes the church. So Jesus alone is the Saviour of the church.

No great prophet could save the church -- only Jesus Who is the Word of God.

Jesus had to die on the cross so that His Blood could cleanse the church. Then the great Holy Spirit, the Life that was in His Blood, could come down and dwell within our repentant hearts to guide us into all truth.

John 16:13   Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:

The religious leaders of that day actually used the quotes of the prophet Moses to oppose Jesus (the Word) in their attempts to kill the woman (the symbol of the church). Today message pastors use the quotes of the prophet William Branham to contradict Scripture and take the church away from Scripture, which kills the church spiritually.


But there was one more step for God’s plan with humanity.

Stone had become ground with time, but what does ground become?

Adam was made from the dust of the earth.

Genesis 2:7   And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.


Suddenly some of the ground in Eden began to turn into a human being. An absolute miracle.

So from the ground God makes the bodies of human beings. Our hearts are thus made from the ground.

Our bodies get all the elements they need from food. Animals eat plants and plants get all the elements they need from the ground. So ultimately, everything that our bodies are, comes from the ground.

Jeremiah 31:31   Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

:33    But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Hebrews 12:24   And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant,

2 Corinthians 5:17   Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

God wants to make a New Testament covenant with every human being whereby God writes His laws into our hearts which will give us a deep desire to live by His laws. This will make us new people. God is wanting to make us into better people.

Exodus 34:1   And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.

There must be two tables. So the heart must be broken. Our broken hearts are God’s target.

Human hearts are hard. The murderous zeal of the scribes and Pharisees to kill the woman was proof of that. The endless wars and violence that go on in the world today are further proof of that.

God wants these hard hearts broken.


What breaks our hearts? A genuine remorse and sorrow for our sins.

God wants to write the Law in our hearts, but first our hearts must be broken by repentance and confession of our sins.

Acts 2:37   Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

:38   Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

:39   For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

A broken heart will be in two portions, representing the two tables of stone.

The outer surface of our hearts is hardened by sin and selfish desires.

God can only write His laws on the soft inner portions of our broken hearts. Then those laws become part of our innermost desires. In other words we obey God’s laws because we want to, not because we have to.

When those hearts break in repentance, then Jesus as the Spirit of God, writes His laws in the soft portions of our hearts. Then like Him, we have compassion for sinners as well as a desire to get them saved.


Only then is God’s plan complete in our lives.

Why was the Law written twice in the Old Testament?

Because in the New Testament Jesus as the Spirit of God first wrote His laws into the inner hearts of His church believers or Bride over the 2 000 years of church history.

When the true church is taken up to Heaven at the Coming of the Lord, then two prophets, Moses and Elijah, will take the Gospel back to Israel to convert the 144 000 Jews. Then once again, for this second group, Jesus will have to start all over and write His laws into the hearts of this new group of people, the Jews, who have effectively ignored Him and denied Him for 2000 years.

There are two groups who receive the truth in the New Testament. The Christians during the seven church ages who collectively make up the Bride of Christ and the 144 000 Jews who come in during the Tribulation time. Thus Jesus was happy to write twice in the sand. He knew He had two distinct groups of people, Gentile and Jew, whose repentant hearts He still had to deal with. But the laws written in ground would become written in the hearts of believers that are made from ground.

In the holy place in the Tabernacle, there was a seven-branched candlestick and a table of shewbread that had 12 loaves.



These represented the two groups that God is interested in during the New Testament era.

The candlestick represents the seven church ages of the Gentile era.


The table of shewbread represents the 12 tribes of Israel who come back to the Lord during the Tribulation time when the 144 000 Jews get called out.

We see the same numbers 7  and  12  appearing in the skeleton of the human body.

Christ is the Head of the church.

The skull or head is attached to the body by the seven cervical vertebrae that form the neck.

Matthew 27:33  And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,

Christ became attached to His Body of believers when He died to save them from their sins. This happened at Golgotha, a place of a skull.

Ephesians 5:23   For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

The skull represents Christ as He alone is the Head of the church.


Through seven church ages over a period of 2 000 years Christ will save the body of believers, called His church. At the end of the seventh church age there will be a resurrection and the saints will receive immortal bodies, made from the ground or the dust of the earth.

Below the first  7  vertebrae that form the neck, we find the next 12 thoracic vertebrae that are attached to the ribs.



After the seven church ages are complete, God will turn back to the 12 Tribes of Israel in the Tribulation.

The church and the 144 000 will have the Gospel written in their hearts by the finger of Jesus as He acts as the Spirit of God in the hearts of His people.

This is the blueprint for God’s great plan with humanity.