Saturday, March 20, 2010

What would Jesus write and do

A pastor once announced in one of his sermons that there were 726 different kinds of sins. Soon he was deluged with requests for the list. Most of the requests came from folks who had their own short lists and they all wanted to know which sins they were missing out.

Fifth Sunday of Lent

March 21, 2010
John 8:1-11

The story of the adulterous woman is well-known. Curiously, it is almost always referenced in conjunction with compassion towards sinners, tolerance and forgiveness, along with the very tiresome do-not-judge refrain. While all of these are surely notable, there are many extreme viewpoints which appeal to the passages to justify tolerance of sin, and intolerance of its rightful judgment. While the chapter certainly teaches many things, tolerating manifest, obstinate sin isn’t one of them. Almost lost in translation is the emphatic ending where Jesus said: “Go, and from now on do not sin any more”.

The strange thing is that the Pharisees make no mention of the other party in the adulterous situation. As it takes two or more to tango, the adulterous situation cannot possibly transpire with just one individual alone. In this case, the woman was dragged off by the Pharisees to be stoned to death, but what were they thinking with regards to the adulterous man involved? Even so, had they enough proper witnesses?

other mystery is: What could Jesus have been writing on the ground? The texts are silent here. The verses only state that as the charges were brought up, "Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger." Then when the Pharisees became persistent where upon Jesus uttered that famous line " sin...cast the first stone", it was recounted that "again he bent down and wrote on the ground.".

Just what did Jes
us write (or draw) on the ground? To be sure, the Pharisees could not have missed observing Jesus writing, as all eyes were on him. Whatever was written on both instances (with impeccable timing), were likely a prelude and an exclamation point to Jesus' challenge. Obviously, the Pharisees realized they were now at a loss in squarely confronting Jesus with a self-righteous air, because at this point, "they went away one by one".

Clearly, Jesus got their numbers.

Maybe Jesu
s began to list down 726 or so sins, starting with the sins of the Pharisees. Maybe he wrote down Old Testament passages about sinning and accusing. But then again, there couldn’t be enough time and space. If the Scribes and Pharisees had to pay attention and understand, the scribblings had to be plainly visible and readable all around. Moreover, we have to take note that he was writing with his fingers, on the ground. Most likely, Jesus just wrote down something concise and illustrative, and even though it was soon erased from the ground long ago, the message is good for all times.

Here then, is my guess:

1 + 1 is > 1


1 is > 0


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