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Measuring Up

In John, Chapter 8, we see again Jesus challenged by Pharisees.  They bring before him a woman who was caught in adultery.  (Where is the man?)  Jesus responds by not responding — at least not initially.   He bends down and begins writing in the dirt.  What was He writing?  Was He doodling?  Or was it a message to the Pharisees?  Many homilies, lectures and discussions have guessed at this subject.  This page contains my ideas, not so much a guess as a speculation.

Recall another hand writing in the Bible.  In Daniel, Chapter 5, it describes a great banquet thrown by King Belshazzar for a thousand of his lords.  Belshazzar used for feeding his guests the gold and silver from the Temple, holy objects intended for worship and giving glory to G-d.  Much in the same way, the Pharisees attempted to use a tool meant to bring  His people closer to G-d — the laws of Moses — and used them for an unholy purpose, attempting to trap Jesus.

A hand appeared and wrote on the wall:  MENE, TEKEL, and PERES.

Daniel translated for Belshazzar:   MENE, God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it;TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting;PERES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

So many parallels!  I wonder if the educated Pharisees reacted as Belshazzar.  He blanched!

If Jesus wrote Mene, Tekel, Peres, then the Pharisees would probably understand the writing’s significance.

Mene:  the leadership of Israel is divided and ending.  Tekel:  the Pharisees have been weighed and found wanting; “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Peres:  the Romans now have your land.

These words were units of measure.  In a sense, the Pharisees were trying to measure Jesus’ worth and found themselves being weighed and measured.  As typical in the early days, units of measure were often associated with currency or exchange.  This concept is consistent with Jesus offering Himself as the ransom for all sins and sinners.

So I first set out to write a story with this supposition as its basis but from the perspective of various actors.  The story, however, began to grow so I am doing this in parts.  Each post will have the category “Measuring Up.”


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