The Day of Stoning

Starting with the events of John 8 so we can better understand the events of John 9, because they all go together.    Jesus is in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles.  He’s teaching daily in the temple.   Early one morning he arrives at the temple to continue his work of teaching the kingdom of god, the new way of living as human beings which he has been teaching.

No sooner than he had begun to teach than some Pharisees arrived with a woman that they sat in the middle, right in front of Jesus, and they begin to accuse her .  “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”  John‬ ‭8:4-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬.   We’re told that Jesus ignored their accusations, stooped down and began to write on the ground.  What he wrote, we don’t know.  It was a act of diversion that began to lessen the demonic spell that was upon them.  Jesus doesn’t confront them directly.  They’d been united under a satanic spell.  They want to stone this woman. That’s how they’re dealing with their own fears and self loathing and insecurity.  They want to project it on someone they see as a sinner.   Jesus initially ignores their accusations, but when they persist he finally says this – “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” John‬ ‭8:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  The spell is broken.  They depart.

Jesus says to the woman “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”  ‭‭John‬ ‭8:10-11‬ ‭ESV.  And then Jesus continued his teaching.

John 8 is the first time Jesus says in John’s gospel I am the light of the world.  And Jesus begins to shine the light on the devil and the dark foundations of human society.  Things that have been hidden from the foundation of the world.  From the foundation of human civilization, certain dark practices have been hidden.  But Jesus comes as the light to expose them and to show them what they’ve been doing.  

And Jesus says, you have been following a way of darkness.  But if you will stick with me, if you abide in my teaching“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John‬ ‭8:31-32‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  They said We are already free, we’re a free people.  We’re free!

Jesus says “No, you’re not.  In fact, the only freedom you have is the freedom to hate your enemies, and to conspire together to kill them, and to justify it in the name of your religion and nationality.  And Jesus says that’s what I came to set you free from.  That’s the devil.  There ensues an argument (go figure), and things get more and more extreme.  It’s all there in John 8.  Finally they get so angry with Jesus, as he tries to show just how dark is the foundation that their civilization is built on, that they took up stones to throw at him.  And that’s how John 8 ends.

John 8 is framed by 2 attempted stonings.  First, they were going to stone the woman accused of adultery.  But Jesus broke the spell and they dropped the stones.  But as Jesus talked to them about light, and about exposing the works of the devil and the dark foundations that their very civilization was built upon, they became angry that they picked up the stones, and now they are ready to stone Jesus.   “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”John‬ ‭3:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  

So Jesus departs from the temple with his disciples.  It’s fruitless, all they want to do is throw stones at him.  He leaves, and as he’s walking through the gate, leaving the temple complex, there sits a man, blind from birth.  As they pass through the gate, the disciples notice this man, begging, blind from birth.  They ask a theological question.  Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?   And so we come to a third attempted stoning on this day of stoning.
 
With that, I will have to continue later.
 
“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:1-7‬ ‭ESV
‬‬
 

 

John Lewis
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4 thoughts on “The Day of Stoning

  1. What does he write in the dust?

    We don’t know.

    I agree.

    A standard reading sheds no light on it at all.

    So WHY does John (assuming this is John in this passage) put this bit in the story at all? It is, after all, a fascinating tidbit to say the least. He writes in the dust, but we have NO IDEA what he is writing.

    But WHAT IF…?

    What IF this passage is meant to resonate with other bending downs to the ground and other writings with the fingers? Where do we see such actions in the Bible which prove theologically important? And could those passages have anything to say in this one? After all, we have seen John do this kind of thing before! “In the beginning…” starts us off seeing Genesis shot through every particle of John’s account.

    I am inclined to see God forming man from the dust of the earth in Genesis 2 on the one hand, and the Finger of God that hardens Pharaohs heart in Exod 8 and writes the 10 Commandments in Exod 31.

    If we allowed these passages to bounce sparks off one another, what kind of deep observations might they manifest?

    I am sure this feels like LOOSE controls on modern theology and exegesis, but even the Bible breaks these rules when it interprets itself. Notice Jesus in Luke 24 goes back to Moses and claims all these Scriptures are referring to Him all along! So, we have biblical president to give this stuff a hearing. And I am inclined to think that as we turn these passages this way and that in meditation, we will find deeper insight.

    It’s part of what mystifies me about John….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like that thought. Certainly, i am a fan of taking the bible as a whole as opposed to cherry picking verses to prove we are right and they are wrong.

      Could be a worthy exploration, to venture into the other places in scripture where we see the “finger of god” writing…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes!!!

        To be frank, I am really just spitballin here. I don’t have this stuff worked out in a neat package ready to sell on the best seller shelf, but this KIND of thing proves worthwhile in other places, and like I said, the Bible itself does not interpret itself by the same rules we place on it today. So I am NOT suggesting you (or any reader here) just accept what I say as confirmed truth, but this kind of hypothesis surely gets a seat at the table… NO?

        So… how about we cross examine it a bit.

        I gotta say, the Gen 2 passage where God forms the dust into the shape of a man and blows his Spirit in the nostrils seems like the farer fetched hypothesis to me, BUT it’s getting enough traction in my mind to give it a chase. At least a bit of a chase and see if any other birds are in those bushes.

        For starts, bending down and forming dirt into a body is how God made the first man. It is a CREATION thing. And John has already hung out a neon sign saying, “This is the story of New Creation!” with his opening prologue. We see evidence of echoes off Genesis all through this Gospel. Jesus meets a whore at a well, which resonates with lots of other passages too, but perhaps the blindingly obvious one that is ironically easy to miss is when Abe’s servant goes looking for a wife for Isaac. Shoot, even Moses finds a wife at the well.

        Jesus finds a whore there. At first blush, she is not a good match for a wife. Even the disciples are uncomfortable with Jesus talking to her.

        Here we have Jesus saving another whore. Is he creating a wife?

        This almost sounds to far fetched even for me, but I have read ahead. I know that when Jesus is crucified, the centurion stabs a spear in his side to see if he is dead yet. Out comes water and blood. And this seems waaaaaay off base, I know, but when you think about God putting The Adam in a DEEP SLEEP and doing Divine surgery on his ribs and forming a wife, suddenly the wife thingy starts resonating with the crucifixion/coronation. And that too fits neatly under that New Creation umbrella we find in the prologue.

        To my mind, there is enough smoke here to say FIRE. But this in no way makes me the expert. I don’t have it ironed out, but a little like looking into one of those old Magic Eye posters you used to find back in the 90’s, you can almost make it out, but then lose it, then almost make it out, then lose it. Finally, you see the space shuttle, but not for a long time of trying first. Well, I am in that long time of trying first level of seeing this stuff in John.

        Going the other route (not that they are mutually exclusive at all), I think the Finger of God thing holds more water too. It just seems to jump right off the page! Is Jesus’s finger in the dirt not the Finger of God??? The same finger that writes the 10 Commandments???

        Surely it is.

        And, it is the same finger of God that hardens Pharaohs heart.

        What sparks fly between these passages now?

        Is the law not there in John 8? What does the law say???

        These idiots think they can quote God’s law back to him and force him into a heard hearted response. They are remaking God in their own image. But he hardens their hearts. They are going to be ashamed by this tete-a-tete. They will seek to kill Jesus next chance they get, but Jesus will have set this whore free.

        Not that this is how the puzzle piece fits, but surely we have a puzzle piece that goes here… no? Just keep turning it until it lines up and makes a clear picture.

        We have law and hard hearts, we have the finger of God writing in dirt/rock. I don’t believe the shear poetry of this is lost on the Holy Spirit who inspires this stuff.

        And this brings me back around to the wife thing, and creation of a wife suitable for the Last Adam… The church, before she was a bride, was a whore. A wayward whore who Jesus recreates from water and blood (which resonates with water and wine which is another story we find AT A WEDDING which was the FIRST SIGN.

        Of course I really could be completely wrong. just out of my mind to make these connections. I really could be. And if we can say that, we just might be able to sleep easier knowing God is not out of his box again.

        But… like I say… I don’t have it figured out, but that doesn’t mean we should pretend we are not meant to chase these trails.

        You are BY FAR not the first to find this finger in the dirt an interesting nugget. But what if its not the cul de sac we so easily accept???

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I certainly see the finger of God in multiple places in John relating back to other places in the OT. Not just to Genesis, but Daniel as well…

          As for some of the bride vs the whore., that may take a while to develop. Much of that would apply in a John, it is the most symbolic of the gospels for sure. But that exploration seems pretty heavy duty at this point, at least to me. May be a lot of rabbit holes to chase down before we get to any fruit. I’m sure it’d be worthwhile, but I’m not sure I’m prepared to chase it down right now.

          Like

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