Exposed – An Imaginative Re-telling of John 8:1-11

Obvious but I‚Äôm gonna say it anyway: this is a creative re-telling of a Scriptural story. Please do not take my imaginative musings as Scriptural truth. haha. K thanks. ūüôā¬†

Exposed.

There was no escape now. The servant boy had snooped into things that should not have been his concern, things that should have been kept secret. The boy had notified her husband, who came quickly at the accusation. She would never forget the look of betrayal on her husband’s face – he had choked back an angry sob, turning away from the scene of impropriety.

As if suddenly repulsed by the woman who just moments ago he had so tenderly embraced, the man caught with the adulteress shoved her off of him. He scrambled to put on his robes and retain some semblance of dignity.

In the span of a few moments, the woman’s ecstasy had turned to panic. She managed to put on her own clothes before her husband grabbed her by the arm, digging his fingernails into her soft skin. It was then she realized with a stab to the heart that he could never, would never, love her again.

Her husband threw her to her knees in the midst of the religious leaders. He had taken her to the Temple, undoubtedly for her humiliation and punishment. Seething, he explained the situation, ending with kicking her mercilessly in the side. The woman didn’t cry out, or else it was indistinguishable amid her endless sobbing which had persisted since the scandal had been discovered.

“This is a perfect case for our new ‘prophet’ to judge, I should think,” said one Pharisee maliciously, wrinkling his nose in contempt at the woman before him. A bloodthirsty crowd paraded the adulteress into the presence of Jesus, who was in the middle of a teaching. By now, the woman was preparing herself for the pain of a humiliating death, likely by stoning. Jesus looked at the woman with compassion and turned to the leaders to hear their judgment.

“This woman has been caught in adultery. You know what the Law requires. What would you have us do?” one leader asked, lifting the woman by the hair, for she had been hiding her face in the dirt, identifying with it in her shame. The woman could not bear to meet the gaze of the Teacher, the Prophet that some rumored to be the Messiah. She closed her eyes in utter despair, tears still streaming down her dusty cheeks.

Wordlessly, Jesus came close, bent down and scrawled something in the dirt.

“What is that supposed to mean?” cried the leaders angrily, as the woman opened her eyes and read the message. She could not read, but somehow He had opened her eyes to recognize this one word. What looked like meaningless scribbles in the dirt to others who looked on, was a message meant for the eyes of one woman alone, the word: Emmanuel. God with us. What could this mean? New tears filled her eyes, this time of a wild, inexplicable hope.

As it seemed Jesus was not going to respond, the Pharisees pressed him again. “This is nonsense, you are playing in the dirt like a child. What would you have us do with her?”

Jesus smiled at the woman and then stood with the authority of a great Prophet, or perhaps something more. “Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone!”

There was not one face turned towards the shameful scene that was unmarred by the ravages of grace. Again, Jesus stooped down and wrote another message on the dirt to the woman – what looked again like meaningless lines to the stunned crowd. But as clear as the bruises on her body from this fateful day, the words revealed themselves in the woman’s mind: I AM.

Suddenly both afraid and relieved, confused and confirmed, the woman threw her face back into the dust in a gesture of worship before Jesus. Jesus took hold of one of her hands and looked towards the crowd – but they had dispersed like feathers in the wind. Sobs were wrecking the woman’s body and heart. She was at the mercy of the only righteous Judge, the Great I AM.

She knew in her heart that she deserved death. Yet even if she managed to escape condemnation, could anyone possibly love her now? Her husband had not filled the gaping hole of longing in her to intimately know and be known, love and be loved. Every grasp at human affection had been tainted by unmet longings. It was why she had an affair in the first place (and only after a prolonged attempt to restore the spark that once existed between she and her husband.)

Perhaps if she ran off now in secret to another town, where no one knew or expected anything of her, she could be moderately happy. Perhaps given another chance in another lover’s arms, the longing in her heart could be satisfied. Men had not proved themselves capable of real love thus far. Maybe she was looking in the wrong places. Women, after all, had always been her solace, had always allured her with their beauty . . . in the arms of a woman, there could be mutual comfort and understanding, an intimacy so wonderful and —

“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

The woman jolted out of her brooding thoughts. She still did not dare lift her eyes. “No one, sir,” she whispered in quiet astonishment.

“Daughter, look at me,” The woman rose to her knees. It was some minutes before she could bear to look at Him, but when at last she dared to do so, her desperation and shame were again met with Love in the eyes of the Teacher. “I don’t condemn you either,” He said, smiling with blessed assurance. “Now go and leave your life of sin.”

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Saving the Best for Last

Remember those days when you were a bouncing, energizer-bunny kid and you saw (or thought you saw) the shape of your most-wanted Christmas gift under the tree? When you just about rocketed out of your socks from the anticipation? I don’t know about you, but even though I always wanted to unwrap that most-wanted gift first and foremost, I would, counter to all my emotions, save it to open last.

However much I want to eat dessert before the main meal (let’s face it–sometimes I do,) open my longest-anticipated present first, give my most-thoughtful gift from the miniature wealth of my first few months of income right at the start, I wait.

nativityIn my deepest heart of hearts, I think I know that somehow, saving the best for last is most gratifying. Can it be that I secretly like the waiting, the anticipation, the advent of the season?

God, over and over again, has chosen to save the best for last. On the sixth and final day of creation, he created humankind in His image, and finally could proclaim everything He had made very good. Sarah, far from the brightness of youth,when everyone assumed that she was cursed for not bearing a child, conceived a son that would carry the bloodline of Jesus. After years of slavery and bondage, God raised Moses to shine His light to a people who had lost hope. After four hundred years of prophetic silence, when most thought that God had finally given up on them, the greatest miracle in heaven and earth broke the silence with a soft whisper of a baby that would grow into a cry on the cross and a shout from the grave.

Even Jesus’ first miracle mirrored his heart for advent, for a stalwart hope in the unseen.

John 2:9-10 (emphasis mine)–

9¬†When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over.10¬†‚ÄúA host always serves the best wine first,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThen, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!‚ÄĚ

God is faithful. His advent, our birthing, groaning, crying waiting, never disappoints. Jesus knows right when He needs to come, to maximize impact, to bring the most hearts to Himself as is possible.

Let’s celebrate God’s faithfulness together this season and every season, because though waiting for the best for last can be frustrating and seem endless, He is coming. He will come again. Look at the baby in the manger and jump forward into the unreachable future to a time when unyielding perfection will finally heal our deepest wounds.

The best is still to come!