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Then, bending down again, He continued writing on the ground.


(the same as the translation – Then, bending down again, He continued writing on the ground.)


They should have seen the connection to Jeremiah 17:13 the first time He wrote in the dust, but since they did not catch it, He gave them a second chance to feel His rebuke. I think this time He started writing the actual words of Jeremiah, but did not finish them. In typical rabbinic style, he required their memorization of large amounts of the Old Testament to fill in what was missing and thus they would come to the answer on their own.

I think He wrote: “All who forsake you will be put to shame” and then paused, watching nothing more than their feet to see if any of them were leaving yet.

Those religious leaders (as well as many of the common people present that day) should have been able to finish the quote and provide the second half, in which was found the rebuke. But maybe Jesus had to give them even more, so He continued writing, this time more slowly – “Those who turn away (pause) will be written” but He did not finish.

The clear intent of Jesus’ actions was to say that they had forsaken the Lord and turned away from God because they were unwilling to show mercy and grace. The very things that they interpreted as a weakness in Jesus were the things they should have been offering to those around them. We cannot disrupt the balance between God’s holiness and His compassion; we need to focus on both of them. By focusing only on the rules they were misrepresenting God.

We likewise are intended to be small reflections of who God is and what He is like, but we can get off balance and focus too much on the rules, or too much on being nice to people. The more out of balance we are regarding those two things, the less we reflect the character of God.