Written in Dust

There is only one account in the Bible that Christ ever wrote anything. In the Gospel of John chapter 8, Jesus writes something in the dirt.

This they (the Scribes and Pharisees) said, testing Him, that they might have
something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground
with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him,
he raised Himself up and said to the, “He who is without sin among you, let him
throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the
ground. (John 8:6-8 NKJV)

In the text, He almost appears to doodle, scratching something in the dirt “as though He did not hear.” Exactly what He writes is not specified—a word, a phrase, a symbol. We can assume that His words were quickly removed by wind, rain or traffic. Nowhere else in the Bible do we ever see Jesus writing. Why? Surely, words as important as His, needed recording. Surely, Someone as significant as Him, required a biographer.

Christ entrusted His message to the type of life He lived, rather than the amount of words He wrote. Furthermore, He entrusted the record of His life and words to others. And He did not require an advance or demand publishing rights.

How unlike us.

I wonder, in the end, if “getting my book done” or “selling my story” has any eternal significance whatsoever. Will my "breakout novel" withstand the wind, rain and traffic of time? Will I? Sometimes I’ll toil for hours just to string together the right words. So you had better believe, when it sings, I’m saving it to disk. Yet the Son of God did not require a hard drive, or parchment. Just dirt.

Isn’t that what we’re made of? Dirt? God formed Adam and Eve out of the dust of the earth. “He stooped down and wrote on the ground.”

Maybe what I write is not as important as on whom I write it.


Gina Holmes said...

Hey Mike. Great post. Never thought about what Jesus actually wrote himself. Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

CFisher said...

I've often wondered about what Jesus wrote. I've heard a preacher or two make the interesting suggestion that he was writing the names of all the men in that lynch mob who had slept with the adulteress, but I think that's quite a leap from the text. :)

'I wonder, in the end, if “getting my book done” or “selling my story” has any eternal significance whatsoever. Will my "breakout novel" withstand the wind, rain and traffic of time?'

I've also pondered questions like these quite a bit lately. Until I read something from Brother Lawrence: "That we ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of GOD, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed."

With my writing, I've always equated "greatness" with publication and renown--a very shallow (and selfish) way to look at it. I think sometimes we write to try to gain some kind of earthly immortality, which is really a kind of sorcery, if you think about it. But even the most successful writers will only be remembered for a few generations or so. In the end, none of it'll matter. My best, most successful novel will likely be forgotten soon after I'm dead. But God who looks on the heart will remember my motives for writing it and award accordingly.

Anonymous said...

A thought that I heard... person brought up the possiblity that Jesus was writing the Ten Commandments on the ground before asking the people about their sins.