What Would Jesus Write
So, the Christmas season is upon us.*
Shops are open for longer, the Germans have invaded our high streets with their markets, and Noddy Holder has awoken from his 11-month slumber to the sound of his royalty cheque being posted through the front door.
But of course, we know that Christmas isn’t really about all that. It actually has quite a lot to do with Jesus. We can tell that because his surname is in the title. Just like Clint Eastwood and Easter.
Yes, I know that Jesus’ surname isn’t actually Christ. It was a joke. And now you’ve ruined it. Are you happy now?
Anyway. You may not know, but much of Jesus’ best work actually came outside of the so-called Christmas period. A particular favourite of mine is Jesus and the woman caught in adultery.
Let me paint you a picture. Jesus is hanging out in the temple when the Pharisees bring a woman to him, who has been caught in adultery
How they managed to catch a woman in adultery without also catching a man in adultery at the same time remains somewhat of a mystery.
So, the Pharisees say to Jesus, ‘look at this adulterous woman; the law says we should stone her. What do you reckon?’ They were trying to catch him out you see. They loved catching people out.
But Jesus is nobody’s fool. Just like Albert the fifth musketeer. He knows what these sneaky Pharisees are up to and he’s not about to play their game. In fact, he full-on ignores them and instead starts writing in the dust on the ground. When they keep pestering him, he performs one of his patented divine eye rolls and says ‘Fine. Let him without sin cast the first stone.’ Then he goes back to the dust-writing that they’d so rudely interrupted.
These Pharisees are stubborn but even they can’t claim to have never sinned. So gradually they all file away, mumbling discontentedly. Having finished his writing in the sand, Jesus looks up and sees that it’s just him and the woman and he tells her to ‘go and sin no more’.
Apart from being a wonderful picture of who Jesus is, this encounter has always been a bit of a mystery. Because the Bible never mentions exactly what Jesus writes in the sand. Over the years, countless scholars and academics have debated what it could have been. Was it the ten Commandments? Was it a list of the Pharisees’ sins? Or a divine game of hangman?
Well, in-keeping with the rest of the internet, I decided it was time for someone entirely unqualified to wade into the debate. So here are my – pretty extravagantly left-field – suggestions as to what Jesus was writing all those years ago:
- The lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody
- A Brexit withdrawal deal that everyone can agree with
- That cool ‘s’ symbol that we all used to draw in school
- A collection of limericks about the Pharisees’ mothers
- Ed Balls
- An original screenplay for a feel-good movie where Michael Cera plays a lovable-but-awkward fisherman
- The teamsheet and tactics for the disciples’ football match against the Roman Army’s reserves due to take place the following Saturday
- All of the Pharisees’ embarrassing middle names
- Just the words ‘Screw Flanders’ over and over again
- A family recipe for the perfect beef stew. The secret ingredient is wine that used to be water
- A brief overview of Darwin’s Origin of Species
- The first draft of the never-to-be-told parable ‘the white girl and the gingerbread latte’
Maybe you have some of your own ideas as to what Jesus might have been writing in the sand? If you do, please do not write them in the comments section, I have no desire to read them.
* Yes, I know that it’s technically Advent, not Christmas yet. But I’m not going to ruin the flow of my writing just to please some pedants and an Anglican or two.