In the Bible, there is only one account of Christ actually writing something. This seems to surprise a lot of people. After all, Scripture is about Him. So it often comes as a shock to learn that Jesus did not write parts of the Bible. In fact, He barely wrote anything.
In the Gospel of John chapter 8, the scribes and the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in adultery. “The Law commands she be stoned,” they demanded. “What do you say we should we do?”
This they 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 them, “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)
This is the only biblical account of Jesus ever writing anything. But it wasn’t penned on parchment or chiseled in granite. It was scratched in dirt. In the story, He almost appears to doodle, scrawling something in the sand “as though He did not hear.” Like I child, whimsically preoccupied, Jesus tinkers in the dirt while a woman lays accused. Exactly what He writes is not specified — a word, a phrase, or maybe a symbol. Either way, we can assume that His script was quickly removed by wind, rain or traffic.
Nowhere else in the Bible do we ever see Jesus writing anything. But why? Surely a signature as important as His needed saving, framing, poster-izing. We’re talking the actual inscription of God here! I mean, that’s gotta be worth more than, say, the original Gettysburg Address or J.K. Rowling’s autograph. This is the Finger of the Almighty carving words in Earth!
But those words were never published.
In today’s Twitter-ized economy, one’s words can be broadcast to thousands with a push of a button. But Jesus did not Share His writing. Instead, Christ entrusted His message to the type of life He lived, not the amount of words He wrote. In fact, He relegated the record of His life and His words completely to others. His was a true biography — there was no auto about it.
No wonder Jesus wrote in the dirt — His legacy was etched elsewhere.
How unlike us. As writers, we pine for publication. Forget writing in the dirt, we want parchment with felt, linen, weave, laid, or vellum cover stock options. Why scribble in the sand when we can go straight to Publish? Yet no amount of burned backups or “copies in print” can ensure my breakout novel will withstand the wind, rain and traffic of time.
The Son of God did not require a MacBook or a whiteboard. Just dirt. Why? Because it was the disciples’ hearts He really wrote on.
Maybe what I write is not as important as on whom I write it. Saving it to Disk is not nearly as abiding as Taking it to Heart. In the end, perhaps our legacy is not about how many best-sellers we write, but how many hearts we write them on…