Love and stones and schemes and forgiveness (part 1)

by Craig on December 31, 2010

She was caught.

She was dragged,

little doubt, very violently.

She must have resisted,

pleaded innocence,

begged for mercy…

but there would be none.

She would have been bruised, and bleeding, and her body barely covered,  by the time they got to the temple area.

I can see them throwing  her down like so much garbage – expecting that Our Lord would be repulsed by her. And they didn’t have justice on their minds, only the killing of a woman to gain a victory over this uneducated “Rabbi” who was not part of their club.

There must have been some look of Our Lord, some action, something not written in the Gospel of John (8:1-11). Something  must have told them he didn’t see garbage in front of him at all.

So they knew they would have to fight for their vendetta.

There would have been a crowd of men, with only a few Pharisees and Scribes leading the way.  I can see one shouting at Our Lord, “Don’t you know the Law?!  You, a teacher of the people?  This woman has transgressed; she must be condemned under the Law!”

But no words from Our Lord. Did he shake his head? Eat a fig? We don’t know. But we know he wasn’t quick to respond.

The shouting would escalate, “This is the way we live, the way our forefathers did, this is the covenant.  It is our way!  The Law has been violated, broken, the penalty must be paid, according to the Law.”

I see a silent Jesus writing in the sand with his finger.

But they came for a response. They came to set him up. A silent Jesus of Nazareth would not serve them well. So I see another leader with a jagged stone in his hand. He desperately continues the argument. Frothing at the mouth he would shout, “Don’t we have the right to stone this woman?”

Silence.

“She has sinned, committed adultery!”

More writing in the sand.

Maybe now they got closer into him – circled him, like hyenas. They needed a heated confrontation. But they weren’t getting their way.

“She is nothing but a harlot, a sinning harlot! She deserves this penalty.  It is our right, our duty, she must be stoned — now!”

I see more writing in the sand, no lifting of the head now, just scribbling in the sand. What was he doing? Why wasn’t he listening?

So maybe another approach…

He was silent, so maybe they’d be too. They waited for the wrong words to come from his mouth, waiting to catch Him in error.  They had set the trap. It had to work. I can see pride in the expected undoing of the street preacher – and some worry because he didn’t seem rattled.

Their eyes would be fixed on him, doodling in the sand. With their gaze they’d be saying in effect, “Well Rabbi, what now?  Have you an answer for this one? — Well?”

Our Lord, always calm under fire, would answer — quietly.  There would have been too much shouting already. There would be no more rage unleashed around this wounded, bruised, bleeding, and used, woman.

Even their silence would go unanswered.

So they began a new round of argument.

Which was ended before it started, as Our Lord rose up.

And maybe what he had scribbled was revealed, at least to the leaders. Church tradition suggests that it was a list, names of the leaders, and sins they had committed. Their eyes were fixed on him, so they would have been able to read the scribbling.

“Let the man among you who has no sin be the first to cast a stone at her”.

Rocks began dropping. Maybe the first few were aimed at the scribbling in the sand. That needed to be erased – and quickly.

They left, “…drifted away one by one, beginning with the elders…”

Of course the “elders” left first. I would have skidaddled too – maybe dragging my feet over the sand to make sure the scribbling was erased.

“This left Him alone with the woman, who continued to stand there before Him.”

Part two is the part I really heart. Please come back next Wednesday as we link with Ann again for…

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymuss December 31, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Jesus’ response in this story is so awesome. I love how you have painted this story picture-how you have fleshed it out, Craig! The two images you have chosen, also, are very, very good ones. I need to go and spend some time with Him now. My spirit tank has a big leak.

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Craig December 31, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Thanks A. Seriously, sometimes it takes me longer to find and place “just so” the pictures – as it does to write. They do really help the reading – and they can add so much – makes me wish I was an artist. But all I do is words. God Bless.

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Michelle December 31, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Words are Art too. Beautiful art.

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Craig December 31, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Michelle. Thank you for that. That was a blessing. I’m humbled – and grateful. Really grateful. That was a truly nice thing to say. Thanks. Just. Thanks.

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Sharon @ Hiking Toward Home December 31, 2010 at 5:14 pm

I always wondered what he had written in the sand. The prospect of him writing their names… that is convicting… So often when I am blasting my kids for something, he quietly whispers, “isn’t you doing____ the same thing?”
You gave a lot to think about here, Craig.
Looking forward to the rest…

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Craig December 31, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Sharon thank you so much for reading. And that whisper? I’ve heard it too. God Bless you.

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Susan December 31, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Will be waiting…am sure you figured it out,it’s too perfect. Gotta be…so will try to wait with the patience He would expect and embody. Thanks :) -s-

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Craig December 31, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Thank you Susan. It’ll be a cliffhanger until Monday :) God Bless. Happy New Year.

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Renegades December 31, 2010 at 10:08 pm

I think it’s a message that so many people miss that we all have sinned. That the only one that is able to cast the first stone is he without sin. I know I have a very religious Aunt who when she heard of my sucicide attempt asked me if I wasn’t afraid of damnation. I simply told her life racked with anxiety doesn’t seem like living and I believe in a forgiving God.

Perhaps I’m wrong to believe that. I do believe that God recognizes this as an illness and he wouldn’t send someone with diabetes to hell for dieing from it.

However, I’m fighting the good fight. I have to much work yet undone to go yet.

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Craig December 31, 2010 at 10:13 pm

You are fighting the good fight. You have an enemy and you are fighting. I am glad our words crossed paths. You are brave. God bless.

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Alida January 1, 2011 at 3:36 pm

such powerful and vivid images… I had to read it twice to take it all in. May God continue to bless your writing!

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Craig January 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Thank you Alida for the kind words. I have to read my stuff again and again too, so I think it’s that I don’t write – flowy. I work at it though. God’s joy to you Alida.

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Scott Wolf January 1, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Craig you have that uncanny ability like Max Lucado to make the Bible come alive. Once again great job. If you are taking requests how about the woman at the well?

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Craig January 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm

oooohhhh and I forgot – thank you – that is a HUGE compliment. I appreciate the thought.

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Scott Wolf January 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Here you go she had five husbands. She was looking for love in all the wrong places.

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Craig January 2, 2011 at 1:43 pm

I thought about this for a little- hmmmm. But the hubbies were the only ones who could divorce then. Hmmmmmmmm. Maybe THEY were not appreciating the love they had? What do you think? And maybe they went to the wrong places. Can’t move forward with this until I hear you.

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Scott Wolf January 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm

She had a desire for true love but could not fulfill it in wrongful earthly relations. She not unlike a lot of good intentioned people make bad earthy choices. Christ can to save her. I will think about some more and get back with you.

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Craig January 1, 2011 at 4:19 pm

It has to fit in with “Love” Scott, I’ve been writing and thinking all day – my brain is dead – if you find me the “love is…” in it – I’m on it :) Give a brother some help :) God Bless.

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Joyce L Gibson January 1, 2011 at 4:35 pm

You painted a heaart-moving picture with your words. As I read I recoiled from the hating and self-righteous accusers. “I don’t know anyone who could have an attitude like theirs,,” I thouught. Then another picture entered my mind, a picture of office gossips who have destroyed someone’s career. I have been a bystander of such cruelty that but have never until now so keenly felt our Lord’s compassion for the accused. Thank you for opening my eyes and touching my heart.

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Susan January 1, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Pssst (no I didnt spring a leak) I know u prefer tweets& despise txt, but cudja wudja do me a favor &pop me an email so I can fwd u a cpl e’s I need some help with? (horrid grammar but quick) I cant find your e (on porpoise?)& stoopidphone wont let me sign into twitter. ARGH! And one I love from my college chaplain “JudasPriest!” helps with aggravation. -s-

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Craig January 1, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Sure Susan. I’ll email you right now and then you’ll have my email address. I love looking at Bible stuff. Honored that you’d ask.

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Lisa notes... January 1, 2011 at 7:10 pm

You’ve done Part 1 very well, Craig…. Isn’t this a powerful story? I’m so glad it is included in our Bibles.

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Craig January 1, 2011 at 7:17 pm

It’s an amazing story Lisa. We have all been this woman at one time or another haven’t we. Not the adultery part – but the trapped, being judged, being accused, being attacked and condemned part. Thank you for coming by. God Bless.

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Kim January 2, 2011 at 12:15 am

Thank you for introducing yourself over at my place today, Craig. I’m so glad to have found your blogs. I’m following both and look forward to reading more.

I’ve always wondered about what Jesus was writing about in the sand. And never thought about the power of his silence in the midst of that crescendo of self-righteousness. Thank you for putting this story in a new light for me….can’t wait to see what you do with Part 2!

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Craig January 2, 2011 at 9:15 am

First of all thank you so much reading.. I haven’t written part two yet, but we know the story – the climax has taken place already, what’s left is the denouement. The power of the silence thing? That crept up on me AS I was writing. This is the same Lord who was decidedly NOT silent as he was turning over tables. Our Lord was smart. God Bless – and thanks again for reading me.

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Lynda January 2, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I am so happy you stopped by my blog to leave such a wonderful comment. I love your writing and may incorporate it into my son’s homeschool Bible Study. Brilliant post! Thank you for sharing your gift with us. Blessings to you, and I look forward to reading so much more.

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Craig January 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Linda,

Thank you so much for reading. And thank you for the kind words. Happy “reclamation” New Year. God Bless.

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Rae January 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Brilliant. I look forward to part 2.

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Craig January 2, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Rae, you were here! Makes me smile. And a compliment like that who writes so well – like a Pillsbury crescent roll – with butter – fresh from the toaster oven. God Bless.

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Stephanie January 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Thanks you for your comments on my site. Your site blows me away. I will be back. I just can’t get enough of the Lord. I wish I didn’t have to work. My heart aches to be in the Word and spending time with the Lord. Thank you for your beautiful words and pictures. I am blessed to have found you.

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Craig January 2, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Stephanie, thank you for this gracious comment. I am thrilled to have you here. Thank you for reading. I am blessed you found me too. Happy New “deeper still” Year

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Debbie January 2, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Well, you certainly don’t need a comment from me here! :) And I love that. And this post. Thank you for taking the time with Him to do this for us. I reminds me of the book 3:16 by Max Lucado. For God so loved . . . God bless you and your love of Him!

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Craig January 2, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I will ALWAYS need comments by you Deb.

That’s the second Max Lucado reference, I know of his stuff – and I am thankful for the kind comparison. But between you and me, I’ve never read a word. Shhhhhhhh.

And yes, I do so love the one who made me. I do :)

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Joyce L Gibson January 2, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Hi Craig, this is a PS to the comment I left yesterday.

I read something today that piggybacked on what I wrote about the killer instinct in office gossipers. “Backstabbing at the highest levels of management was elevated to an artform, an elaborate corporate kabuki.” (Dominique Browning}

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Kris August 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Thankful for this word today, Craig. I hate that I am both the crowd and the woman (figuratively, as I have not had 5 husbands, nor sold my body in the understood sense of the text). But I have been her, looking for all the wrong things to fill the void- and how sweet the arms that have helped me up, no condemnation, only sweet grace and forgiveness… thank you for this, and eager for next week….

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Craig August 17, 2011 at 4:24 pm

we have ALL been her, Kris. I know I’ve been her – and the second part to this story is my absolutely favorite – maybe one of the favorite things I have ever written. I don’t think I can write better than part two. I really do hope you come back for it – I so, so, so, heart part two. God bless you Kris – and as always, thank you my friend. Always alleluia!

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Blue Cotton Memory August 17, 2011 at 10:20 pm

I wish I had that ability to remain quiet, to let life unfold, to let others words circle around themselves. This has always been one of my favorite stories – his silence and then his wisdom that so disarmed his enemies.

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Craig August 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Mary, as for me, I do a very good job the remaining quiet, alert, and the voice of reason for everybody else – it’s just my inner storms, and inner “words” that send me scurrying. I heart this story – I always have. Please come back for part two next Wednesday – I really think it is one of the better things I have ever written. I promise you’ll heart it.

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Christina August 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Love your retelling of this story. I was captured and can’t wait until next week:)

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Craig August 18, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Christina, thank you. And really do come back for part number two – I heart part two of the story as much as anything I’ve ever typed out. So much better than part one. But then I won’t take too much credit – it’s not my story ツ God bless and keep you Christina!

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Connie Mace August 18, 2011 at 11:03 pm

I love how GOD forever weaves mystery in His Word…calmly writing in the sand then saving her life.

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Craig August 20, 2011 at 6:27 am

Amen Connie – I heart your wording “forever weaves mystery in His Word” – heart that! And it is astounding how he sat there so calm – so peaceful – so quiet while they all raged – and then changed everything. What an astounding human being God was ツ part two – next week – is one of my most favorite things I have ever written – I hope you come back for it – I heart it much more than I heart this one – and I hearted this one a lot. God bless and keep you Connie.

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Nacole@sixinthesticks August 26, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Hi Craig!

this was amazing…i love, love, LOVE it. this is one one my favorite stories, if not my fav, in the whole bible. Jesus’ love is so powerful. you fleshed it out, to be sure, and i love your take on it. i will tell you what first so inspired me about this passage–it was the first time i watched The Passion of the Christ–if you havent seen it, most def rent it 😉 –the way they do this scene is abslolutely amazing and gets me every time.

i almost didn’t read because i was running out of time…im with my girls tonight. i havent had a chance this week to read any of the lists, or forgiveness posts! all due to my over-anxious self and much debating and hesitating over my writing on forgiveness. *sigh* but, i DID IT! i hope you are proud–haha. i took your advice–and here it is:

http://sixinthehickorysticks.blogspot.com/2011/08/forgiveness-at-bloody-tree.html

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Craig August 27, 2011 at 11:29 am

you know, Nacole, I still haven’t seen the Passion of the Christ – maybe next Easter – I’ll be thinking of you when I watch the scene ツin this post – this story – I think it’s written the way that you would’ve written it. I had to get inspired for something like this – and really pray – and really think – not so much for part one – but for part two – which is one of the most favorite things of mine that I’ve ever written. I think your heart would’ve gotten it right off the bat. God bless you and Nacole.

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Nacole@sixinthesticks September 1, 2011 at 12:00 am

thank you, Craig–really. that was a great and very humbling compliment–which you are very good at.

i am glad that you wrote prayerfully. proud of you. you are able to write from the very life of Jesus and inspire people and wake them to new thoughts they have never had–that is truly amazing. nothing can inspire like the gospel. if we can get hold of that, Satan can’t stop us.

i just write about my mess of a life but happy that you heart it. 😉

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