His gaze looks so distant and distracted, sitting upon the bare earth. His back leaning against the ancient brick wall. His mind is an endless show-reel of memories and visions; memories of the recent past. “So close”, his mind echoes, “but it wasn’t the right time.” Not yet. So he sits and thinks. He is thinking about the right time. He is thinking about the future, Jesus is thinking about his awaited hour. He recalls how they fruitlessly tried to trap him, but he had seen through their folly and slipped through all their nets. Now, he contemplates the future. And as he contemplates, he begins to draw.
Removing his right hand from under his cloak, he pokes a finger into the brown sand. His nail digs into the earth like a hook, and then he starts to drag, scratching, scribbling. Suddenly he remembers why this action feels so familiar. He’s done this before. This wasn’t the first time he’s gotten his hands dirty. Yes, the first time he dug, he created the Rift Valley. The last time he drew on earth, he brought into shape the earth’s amazing rivers and lakes. And most recently, he used a spit-and-mud paste to restore a blind man’s sight. He’s obviously done this before. But now, as his dirty fingers move across the earth, the only thing he gets is dirt under his nails. He is tempted to think that maybe that’s all his efforts have been, brown dirt under the nails. The miracles, the teachings, the signs, all of these seem in vain. The Pharisees are after his life and the guards are calling him crazy.
A slight commotion causes him to stop mid-doodle and raise his eye-brows, attentive. Muffled voices soon transcend into incoherent angry outbursts. A shuffling of feet and a confused chatter of voices fill up the courtyard. The crowd forms a semi-circle around Jesus. He raises his eyes slightly, just enough to see an array of feet. He scans the horizon of toes and straps: sandaled feet, bare feet, smooth feet, cracked feet. From the left edge of the crowd, he scans the feet until the foot-parade is interrupted by strands of smooth, shiny, pitch black hair matting the brown ground. She is so feeble, so wide-eyed, so shaken. Christ’s eyes settle upon the crouched form of the condemned woman. She looks so ashamed and scared. That’s when an elderly voice distinguishes itself from the low murmurs;
“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8:4-5 NIV)
That’s when it hits him. Another instance where he had carved upon the face of the earth; that day on the mountain as he gave the laws to Moses, he had etched ten commandments on stone tablets, brown stone tablets. Slowly, his gaze falls from the accusing faces and back to the ground as his fingers do what they do best, carving, drawing, creating. He senses their impatience, he can sniff their blood thirst, he is hoping that they will see their folly. But they don’t, they cant. They are too blinded by hypocrisy. So he points it out, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7 NIV).
One by one, the stones leave the accusers’ hands, but none of them lands on the accused woman, they all descend back to their origin, the hard brown earth. Thud, thud, thud, each thud is like a heartbeat. Heartbeats of redemption for the woman. Heartbeats of glory for the savior. Heartbeats of hope for me and you. Reminding us that no sin we may have committed, is able to separate us from the love of God. Nothing, not even six feet of the dark and dreaded brown earth upon the grave.
The savior continues to draw in the sand, and this time his art-form takes a familiar shape. This time he is drawing the answer. Upon the ground, between the feet of Christ, is the impression of an old-rugged-cross.
The brown wooden cross.
Jesus scans the ground around him, and he sees rocks meant for disgrace, surrounding a forgiven woman, as pillars of grace and hope. Then he looks at the cross on the ground before him, and smiles at the irony. A tool of torture becoming a symbol of life.
He looks upon what me and you should look up to… and aim at.
Have you set your sights on His Cross? Are you a heir of His Kingdom?