Instead of seeing the face of God and feeling His breath of life, the Pharisees were staunch in their wrong beliefs… in the God that Moses presented in the law. Believing God was like them, demanding wrath and justice instead of mercy and love.
So they brought a woman that they caught in adultery and threw her at Jesus’ feet demanding her death because their societal justice (law) required it. But the Father, expressing Himself in and through the Son, simply looked at both the woman and her accusers with eyes of compassion and love and began to draw in the dust.
I don’t believe He was stalling for time, nor was He writing the sins of the accusers as some have suggested. But in writing in the dust He was declaring Jeremiah’s words to them.
We may not have made the connection to Jeremiah 17 when we read John 8, but the Jews of His day would have seen Him writing in the dust and asking who is without sin and they would’ve made the connection.
They would realized that they were not without “sin.” They had forsaken Him (Jer. 17:13)… that they had abandoned Him in their understanding and had departed from Him. They had turned away from Him and served “other gods.” It says of them in Jeremiah that they “shall be ashamed.”
These scribes and Pharisees who were used to honor and respect from all, probably felt great shame as they realized they weren’t as “sinless” as they thought they were and probably with a tremendous feeling of defeat…. Feeling the sting of self-condemnation, they dropped their stones and walked away.
But He wasn’t pointing out their shortcomings by writing in the dust. He IS love, and all He can pour forth is love. He IS a life-giving spirit, and all He can release is life. These Pharisees and Scribes were His very own! He loved them and desired that they walk in abundant life.
When He would say things to them that we think were harsh rebukes of disapproval and judgment, things like “Woe, to you hypocrites,” it was the cry of the Father. In Greek, it is a word uttered in grief. In Hebrew it is the word oy which means a lamentation (a passionate expression of grief; weeping), it is a crying out after; and its ROOT is to crave or much desire or long after; to covet.
And a hypocrite means an actor, a pretender; one who decides, speaks and acts under a false part; — one who is walking in a mistaken identity… not walking in their true nature, who they were created to be.
When He spoke to them, it was always with a passionate longing after them. It was rooted in His desire for them to walk in who He created them to be. Instead of hearing “judgment” and “disapproval” we are to hear with ears of LOVE. Love that says “this is not who you are so come back to the knowledge of who you always have been IN Me — image and likeness of God.”
Jesus writing in the dust was a declaration that this One standing before them, He IS Yahweh, the Hope of Israel and the Fountain of Living Water (Jeremiah 17:13). Jesus was declaring to them and to her the end from the beginning. Saying to them that I AM He who was with God and is God. I AM He who was and is ONE with Father and Spirit….and one with you!!!
Although Scripture doesn’t say it (and it’s pure speculation or imagination on my part), I can see Jesus writing the names of everyone standing there in the dust, just like Jeremiah said. And then the Breath of Life, Himself, gently blowing into the dust breathing life once again on the names of those who had forsaken Him because they had lost their way. Reminding them that He had once breathed into that dust and formed a divine one filled with all of the fullness of God. Formed in Hebrew means completed and connected. Man has always been complete and a connection of heaven and earth… of the realm of spirit in this earth realm.
And this Yahweh would heal them and save them (Jeremiah 17:14) from perishing…. From a living a life of non-existence. He would not leave them in the dust realm! Yes, they had turned away from Him because of Adam’s transgression… forgetting who God was and who they were. But His plans would stand firm, His will before the foundation of the world would be done. They had been created by Him in the very image and likeness of Elohim, and they would once again remember they are gods and live out of that divinity.