Understanding Why Jesus Wrote in the Sand (2023)


Crossroads CEO Dr. John Hull talks to Joe Amaral about how Jesus did some unusual things but if you understand the culture it makes sense and has deep meaning.


Joe we're grateful for you because we've been able to watch your ministry career launch.

Some of it began the early beginnings here, humble beginnings here on 100, Huntley, Street and now understanding Jesus, it's just done so well and you're becoming so well known and we're just thrilled like we knew Joe back when.

But now here you are a global communicator of truth.

Well, I'm world-famous, Milton, Milton Ontario! Well, the book understanding Jesus takes us into stories of Jesus, not just what he did through biblical accounts, but also what Jesus did through a cultural lens.

Yeah and we've been spending the past few days.

Are we talking about that fascinating content? Yeah? Let's talk about the the next! If you will kind of mysterious unusual context moment where there's some handwriting going on in the sand.

What's that all about yeah well, first of all, Jesus does some weird stuff in the New Testament, and we don't like to say that because we don't want to say anything weird, but he does some things.

Maybe a softer way to say it is unusual, odd or odd conventional.

No, he spits on the ground throws mud in people's face.

He tells a lame man, you know to jump in a pool and if he doesn't get healed is gonna drown.

Yeah I mean he does things that we don't always understand yeah.

What's that all about yeah? Well, it's because we don't really get the culture.

You know I said it earlier this week that the authors of the Bible were Jews and they were writing to a Jewish audience, and so they wrote in a way that they knew their audience would understand, and so Jesus as a rabbi.

Remember he's not a pastor he's, not an evangelist he's, not a Christian teacher traveling, the countryside he's a Jewish rabbi and sometimes when I speak in churches, I tell people that Jesus wasn't the Christian and everybody gets all kind of freaked out.

You know.

What do you mean? He wasn't a Christian he's Jesus.

Well, hang on a second: what's the Christian Right somebody who follows the Christ? That's right! So what was he? He was a rabbi.

Therefore he traveled and he taught in the methods in the ways that rabbis taught in those days and one of those ways, is something called Ramez that you know I mentioned in the book.

It's REM easy Ramez.

It means it means to hint to to to gently push somebody in the right direction, see because rabbis don't like to give the full answer, because then the student doesn't have to do any work, dad.

Let's hear the answer and they move on, but they like it when they can give it just a little bit a little bit and you put the clues together and then you arrive at that monumental kind of WoW moment and it's much more powerful.

So Jesus does this here.

The context is that John says on the last and great day of the feast that Jesus goes to the temple right and I.

Don't know about you, maybe a lot of people watching today.

Don't know what the last and great day of the feast is mm-hmm, I sure didn't I I knew about Christmas and I knew about Easter, but I didn't know about the other feasts I didn't know.

They existed, I thought they were Old, Testament yeah, you know, I thought they're for the Jewish people or Jesus did away with them, but here's John, saying on the last and greatest day of the feast first thing I had to do well what feast has a last and a great day once I did that I was able to kind of deconstruct the passage and arrive to what he wrote in the sand.

What you learn? Well, if you don't know what the feasts are, you'll, never really understand the impact of that Ramez of that hints when he wrote in the sand.

The Feast of Tabernacles has what's called a last and great day and on that day, what would happen is the priest would leave the temple area and he would walk down to the pool of Siloam an earlier.

In the week we talked about living water being being important in the Jewish culture because it came from rain from Springs or from rivers, so the pool of Siloam was spring fed, so it was filled with living water.

So, every year, on this last day of there's a great Feast of Tabernacles, the priest would leave the temple area and they would march down to the pool of Siloam and they would take a jug or a pitcher of some kind and they would dip it into this pool and fill it with living water, and then they would march back up to the temple and during the ceremony that the priest would take this and he would want people.

Imagine just him pouring out water splashing on this cold stone altar.

At the height of the dry time in Israel mm-hmm, the priest is just throwing water away and people are saying what are you doing? We could have used that you know for our animals or for something, but while the priest is doing that as he's pouring this living water on the altar, the Bible says that a young rabbi from Galilee came in through the back and as the priest was asking God to send his living water.

Jesus comes in and he says I'm the living water and he says drink of I see your eyes.

He says drink of me and you'll, never thirst again and then, unfortunately, the people didn't accept him as the living water did.

They they reject him.

They kick him out of the temple area and when he gets out there, he meets this woman who was caught in the act of adultery, and they want to know what Jesus is gonna do.

Is he gonna call for her death? Is he gonna call for her to be excommunicated? What's he gonna do and instead of responding now remember this woman's life is in his hands whatever he says, they're gonna do if he says let her go, she's gone if the, if he says, put her to death, they're gonna put her to death, but instead of reacting instead of responding, he does something unusual.

He Stoops and he starts to doodle in the sand.

It'd be the equivalent today of somebody said: hey Joe, should we let this guy go or not? If I was to take my phone and start to check my Twitter feed instead of answering your question, I mean Jesus is just kind of doodling and I said.

What are you doing? If you don't know what the feasts are and you don't understand romance the hinting method? You're gonna miss this? Are you ready? Okay, hey it's Jeremiah Abbott here 1713 now, I'm gonna read it because this is very, very powerful.

This is Oh Lord, the hope of Israel.

All who forsake you will be put to shame those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken.

They have rejected the Lord, the spring, the source of living water.

You can say Wow they're, all, that's an amen, that's an amen and oh wow.

So as he was writing in the sand, you talk about Ramez.

He was calling them back to a time where God would send his living water to the temple.

Men would reject him.

God would write their names in the dust of the earth and God is doing that right.

There God in human form, absolutely one flesh.

Now you can understand why they put down their stones and they ran away.

That's insight from Joe Emeril and all God's people said amen and wow wow.

We need some louse and aimed at our church services and on 100 hundred, if you would love to get deeper in the word and understand biblical truth from a cultural context, Joe's just a master doing that in this book, understanding Jesus, that's that story is even more detailed in this course, and we would love to get it to you when you call us and you commit to being a partner.

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This is the kind of material, the kind of messages, the kinds of guests that we want to continue to bring your way in the coming months, and your financial support is absolutely critical for us to be able to do this with quality and with conviction.

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Why did Jesus write on the sand? ›

St Augustine thought that in writing on the ground Jesus was establishing himself as a lawgiver, echoing what God did in writing the 10 commandments on tablets of stone. Others think he was just doodling, and that it was a kind of displacement activity to take the heat out of the situation.

What was Jesus writing in the sand when the woman was caught in adultery? ›

This is the only time the Bible mentions Jesus writing anything. One scholar speculated that he wrote "Where is the man?" If this woman was caught in the act of adultery, there had to be a man but the Pharisees only bring the woman to condemn. It would not have been equal justice to punish one without the other.

What did Jesus write in the sand in the Bible? ›

O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake thee shall be put to shame; those who turn away from thee shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living water.

What does the line in the sand mean in the Bible? ›

The line Jesus draws is a line between acknowledging him before others and denying him before others.

What does it mean to write in the sand? ›

Untrustworthy promise. Anything written in sand can easily be blown away or readily obscured. “Don't trust him, his promises are all written in sand.”

Why did Jesus write on the ground? ›

The writing on the ground demonstrates that Jesus was “grapho-literate”—that is, he had attained the highest level of literacy available in his day—a point so crucial that this pericope was added to the Gospel of John after initial publication, perhaps as a response to those who denigrated Jesus— lack of formal ...

What did Jesus mean when he talked about adultery? ›

According to the laws of the time it was not adultery for a married man to sleep with an unmarried woman. Adultery was interpreted as a form of theft, and the harm came from stealing another man's wife. In Matthew 5:32 some feel Jesus will challenge this view.

What does the story of the woman caught in adultery teach us? ›

This lesson also teaches us, like the story of Pahoran, that we should be slow to judge, and quick to forgive. We too can seek to forgive others and lay down our stones of judgment and accusations.

What scriptures are on the line in the sand? ›

At the end of Matthew 7, we see Jesus drawing a line in the sand separating those in the kingdom of God and those outside the kingdom of God. He does this by laying out two paths, two trees, two confessions and two foundations.

What is the sand covenant in the Bible? ›

Likewise, the promise of God to Abraham was a covenant of sand. In Genesis 22:17, God told Abraham, “I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore.”

What did Jesus write in the dirt? ›

Not so, for Jesus's parting words to the woman are “go and sin no more.” By his writing the commandments in the dirt Jesus teaches us instead that the Law points us back to the ideal for which we were originally created: a life of justice.

Where does Jesus write in the sand? ›

Jesus famously wrote something in the sand, the specifics of which are not recorded in the Bible. What did Jesus write in the sand, and what parallels are evident between this account in John 7:53-8:11 and the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15?

What does the sand represent in Matthew 7? ›

For the sand signifies all evil, or even worldly goods. For as the Devil's house is overthrown, so such as are built upon the sand are destroyed and fall.

What does grain of sand symbolize? ›

There's a saying in Spanish “Mi granito de arena” — My little grain of sand. We use it to refer to a small contribution to a collective goal. When we all pitch in something — time, resources, money — to a common goal, we can make great things happen. Think about it — a grain of sand when multiplied can stop a flood.

Why is writing in sand important? ›

Writing in the sand at the beach might seem like just a bit of fun, but it also has a number of developmental benefits, including: Helping your child develop the skills and confidence to form the connecting lines and curves, as well as the vertical, horizontal and zig-zag lines that form the basis of letters.

Where did the line in the sand saying come from? ›

In the US, it is commonly accepted as a reference to the action of William B. Travis, who, in 1836, while commanding the defenders of the Alamo and contemplating a demand for surrender, drew a line in the sand and asked those willing to remain and defend the Alamo to their deaths to step across.

What is the proverb of draw a line in the sand? ›

To draw a line in the sand means to establish limits, going beyond these limits will bring consequences.

What does the word ground mean in the Bible? ›

(1) "Ground" is in the King James Version the translation of 'adhamah, "the soil," the ground so called from its red color, frequently also translated "earth" and "land" (Genesis 2:5, etc.; Exodus 3:5; 8:21, etc.); it is more often the translation of 'erets, which means rather the earth, most often translated "earth" ...

What was written above Jesus when he was crucified? ›

The initialism INRI (Latin: Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum) represents the Latin inscription (in John 19:19), which in English translates to "Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews", and John 19:20 states that this was written in three languages—Hebrew, Latin, and Greek—during the crucifixion of Jesus.

Did God or Jesus write the Bible? ›

The Bible's origin is both human and divine—not just from God and not just from humans. The Bible's narratives, poems, histories, letters, prophecies, and other writings come from a profound collaboration between humanity and God.

Can a wife divorce her husband for adultery in the Bible? ›

What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”6 Then Jesus states clearly the exception, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” The second biblical ground for divorce is desertion by an unbelieving mate.

What are the three types of adultery? ›

Here are five sorts of adultery you likely didn't think about.
  • Passionate Adultery. ...
  • Energetic Adultery. ...
  • Mental Adultery. ...
  • Visual Adultery. ...
  • Spiritual Adultery.
Jun 20, 2018

Is it adultery if you are not married? ›

If you are not married but are co-habiting with someone else and have penetrative sex with someone else, then this is not adultery. You may be cheating. You may be unfaithful.

What did Jesus scribble in the sand? ›

Jesus was writing their names in the dirt which is a reference to this passage.

What is the prayer footprints in the sand? ›

"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, You would walk with me all the way; But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why in times when I needed you the most, you should leave me.”

What verses are about grains of sand? ›

Psalms 139:17-18 New International Version (NIV)

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.

Which woman committed adultery in the Bible? ›

Introduction. King David committed adultery with a woman named Bathsheba who consequently became pregnant. Upon learning of Bathsheba's condition, David tried to cover his sin and eventually arranged for Bathsheba's husband, Uriah, to be killed in battle.

What was the test of the unfaithful woman in the Bible? ›

In the Hebrew Bible, the ordeal of the bitter water was a trial by ordeal administered to a wife whose husband suspected her of adultery but who had no witnesses to make a formal case. It is described in the Book of Numbers (Numbers 5:11–31).

Who was the woman to be stoned in the Bible? ›

Israel was a symbolic female spouse who became an adulterous woman and thus betrayed the trust and honour of a loving God, who was presumed to resemble a faithful husband. According to Ezekiel 23:46-49, this God ordered that Israel be stoned to death because of her infidelity and as a warning to all women.

What does God say about the sand? ›

saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand [for] the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?

What does dust symbolize in the Bible? ›

The very first mention of dust in the Bible is mind-blowingly positive—in Genesis 2:7 we read that God formed the first person, Adam, from dust, and God blessed him. Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

What does sands of the sea mean? ›

1. : sand of the sea floor or seashore. 2. sea sands plural : a sandy seabeach.

What are the 4 unconditional covenants in the Bible? ›

There are several covenants in the Bible, but five covenants are crucial for understanding the story of the Bible and God's redemptive plan: the Noahic Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant, The Mosaic Covenant, the Davidic Covenant and the New Covenant.

Where in the Bible does it say build your house on sand? ›

In Matthew 7, Jesus said everyone who hears his words and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Then he went on to say everyone who hears his words and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand (Matthew 7:24-26).

What is the most important covenant in the Bible? ›

Abrahamic Covenant

. He promises Abraham a huge family that will inherit a piece of land in Canaan and bring universal blessing to all humanity. ), a symbol that sets Abraham and his family apart and shows that their fertility and future lay in God's hands.

What are the four kinds of soil that Jesus talked about? ›

In both Luke 8 and Matt 13, Jesus tells “The Parable of the Sower.” In the passage, Jesus describes someone planting seeds into four types of soil; the hard path, rocky, thorny, and good soil.

What does each soil represent in the Bible? ›

Jesus later explains to his disciples that the seed represents the Gospel, the sower represents anyone who proclaims it, and the various soils represent people's responses to it.

Is footprints in the sand about Jesus? ›

“Footprints in the Sand” is a Christian metaphor for having faith in God even when times are tough. The one set of footprints in the sand means God has not abandoned us but has been carrying us when we could not walk for ourselves.

What did Jesus face in the desert? ›

At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights and afterwards was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.

Where is it written that Jesus is the light of the world? ›

Light of the World (Greek: φώς τοῦ κόσμου Phṓs tou kósmou) is a phrase Jesus used to describe himself and his disciples in the New Testament. The phrase is recorded in the Gospels of Matthew (5:14–16) and John (8:12).

Where is it written in the Bible that Jesus is the? ›

John 20:28 “Thomas said in response, 'My Lord and my God! '” John 21:17 [Peter said,] “Lord, you know everything….” Colossians 2:9 “In Christ the fullness of deity resides in bodily form.” Colossians 1:15+16 “He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creatures.

Why was the man who built his house on the sand thought to be foolish? ›

A foolish builder would build his house without thinking about what kind of foundation there was. He might have liked the way the building site looked. Perhaps he decided to ignore the warnings of people who had experienced past floods.

Where in the Bible does it say life is like a grain of sand? ›

18 I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! 18 I couldn't even begin to count them - any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!

Why does the wise man built his house on the sand? ›

If you hear God's Word but don't do what it says, you become a foolish builder who builds his or her house on sand. That house will be crushed in a storm. But when you hear the Word of God and obey it, you become a wise person who builds his or her house on solid rock. That house will stand up to any storm.

What does the sand represent in life? ›

The sand in our life represents the tasks, to-dos and activities that we do every single day, and the pebbles represent the materialistic possessions that we purchase. The rocks represent the foundation to our success—they are our deepest and most important values in life.

What does writing in the sand mean? ›

Untrustworthy promise. Anything written in sand can easily be blown away or readily obscured. “Don't trust him, his promises are all written in sand.”

Does sand symbolize time? ›

The amount of sand determines the amount of time that passes as the chamber is emptied. The image of the sand being emptied in the hourglass creates a visual metaphor for the limited duration of human life, and for the inevitability of change in the world as a whole.

What does the sand represent in Matthew 7 24 27? ›

Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. Sand is a terrible foundation. It is always moving and is easily washed away in a flood. And when it moves it causes whatever is built on it to crack and fall.

What did Jesus wrote in the dirt? ›

Not so, for Jesus's parting words to the woman are “go and sin no more.” By his writing the commandments in the dirt Jesus teaches us instead that the Law points us back to the ideal for which we were originally created: a life of justice.

What verse talks about number of sand? ›

Psalms 139:17-18 New Living Translation (NLT)

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

Who drew a line in the sand in the Bible? ›

At the end of Matthew 7, we see Jesus drawing a line in the sand separating those in the kingdom of God and those outside the kingdom of God. He does this by laying out two paths, two trees, two confessions and two foundations.

What verses was Jesus in the desert? ›

Matthew 4:1-11

He fasted for forty days and forty nights and afterwards was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.

What is the lesson learned from Matthew 7? ›

We should seek the guidance of the Spirit in our decisions. We should limit our judgments to our own stewardships. Whenever possible we should refrain from judging people until we have an adequate knowledge of the facts. So far as possible, we should judge circumstances rather than people.

What is the main message of Matthew Chapter 7? ›

Jesus promises radical attentiveness, from God, to the prayers of His children. Every one of God's children who asks will receive. Those who seek from God will find. To those who knock, God will open the door.

What does Matthew 7 24 mean knowing Jesus? ›

To conclude His sermon on the mount, Jesus reminds His audience to remember one simple rule: Listen and obey "these words of mine." Those who serve in military and law enforcement are extremely familiar with the principle of listen and obey, for the sake of their safety and the protection of others depends on it.

What does the soil represent in the parable? ›

Jesus used this analogy in the Parable of the Sower. The soil that the seed fell on represents four categories of hearers' hearts, four different reactions to the Word of God: the hard heart, the shallow heart, the crowded heart, and the fruitful heart.

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