One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Strength

The shouts rang in her ears and echoed in her head as rough hands bruised her arms. But it was the sharp, disapproving glances and whispers that cut into her soul.

When she was finally tossed to the ground, it was a relief. She didn’t have to live this way anymore. She had always known it was going to end like this—her blood being spilled by the very same people that had always rejected her. It was no surprise and to her surprise, there was no fear. Just relief.

“We caught her in the very act of adultery! The Law of Moses says that we must stone her!”

The hard faces of the church leaders made her flinch and then turn away. But where could she look? She couldn’t look at the people who still whispered behind self-righteous hands. And she had heard about this rabbi—she knew he was good—too good for her to put her eyes upon. Her gaze rested on his feet—dirty and cracked within his well-travelled sandals.

Another voice stabbed the air around her. “So, Jesus, what do you think we should do with her?”

The crowd grew silent around her. She could feel them leaning forward, holding their breaths, waiting to hear the pronouncement. Still, she knew no fear. What worse could death be than what life had already inflicted upon her?

But then, she saw the rabbi move. Was he going to reach for a stone? Was he going to run? Was he going to snatch her up as the others had done and beat her before this bloodthirsty crowd?

She heard his breath as he leaned close to her ear. But he never spoke, only began dragging his finger through the dirt.

What was he doing?!

He was drawing in the dirt.

Why only children did that! She and her own brothers had done that when they were children. For one moment, she almost felt like a child again and for that moment, this rabbi almost seemed like her brother. But no!—

The grumbles around her grew stronger, louder, closer, more demanding and her eyes dropped again.

Please, God, if you are there, please just let this be over quickly!

The rabbi’s hands stilled and she felt him look at her. Meeting his eyes for the very first time, she knew.

He brushed the dirt from his hands as he stood to face the angry men.

“Yes, the Law of Moses says that she must be stoned.”

Her heart dropped to her stomach. He was a righteous man. He had to do this. She closed her eyes as she heard the people around her shuffling to find their stones.

“But he who is without sin must cast the first stone!”

The silence around her was complete. The rabbi knelt, began drawing in the dirt again like a worriless child. She watched his long fingers brushing through the dirt and pebbles, was fascinated by the strength in the hands of this man. What was he drawing? It didn’t matter. Those hands that had the power to crush her and end her life were simply fiddling in the sand. And when they stilled, she realized that they were alone.

“Where did everyone go? Is there nobody left here to accuse you?

She stole a glance over her shoulder and saw no one, but her throat was tight and dry. She shook her head and watched as he brushed the sand from his fingers and then lifted his hand to push her hair back from her face. She felt a tear slide down her cheek before she knew that she was crying.

“I’m not going to accuse you either.”

She felt his hands slide gently under her arms and she let him pull her to her feet.

“You may go and from now on, you don’t have to live in sin. You’re free!”

***

Man’s idea of strength is a death sentence. Jesus’ idea of strength is to set us free from sin and death.

This blog post is part of the regularly scheduled One Word at a Time Blog Carnival at my friend Bridget Chumbley’s website. For more incredible posts on “Strength” please go visit her site.

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. Great retelling of the story, Sarah.

  2. Loved the way you told this, Sarah. So much gentleness in His strength… what a blessing for us sinners.

  3. Beautifully written and touching. It’s interesting how one can feel the emotions of all involved. :)

  4. Great retelling! You’re right- our definition of strength and Jesus’ are very different. I think I’ll go with Jesus’ definition over my own.

  5. The strength of His love knows no bounds.

    Love your storytelling approach to his passage!

  6. Great post! His strength… so different from the world.

  7. Best post EvEr! Seriously.

    You gave voice to such a special story!

  8. Wonderfully told, Sarah.

  9. Beautiful. A great post in every way. Thanks Sarah.

  10. I love the way you retold this story Sarah. I felt like I was watching it.

  11. Sarah Salter says:

    Thank you ALL for your comments today! I’ve never really branched out into fiction on my blog. But as I was searching my brain for scriptures on strength, this scene kept coming to my mind. I LOVE this scene and though I did take some artistic license with it, this is how I see it and it makes me fall in love with Jesus every time I see it. I just love Him, y’all and I’m so thankful that He loves me, too!

  12. How beautifully told.

    Thank you.

  13. Sarah, may I say (as a biblical fiction author and reader) that this is one of the finest and insightful scenes I’ve ever seen on a biblical event. It’s absolutely stunning.

  14. Truly amazing retelling! I’m reading this late at night while the house is quiet and still (not easy when there is nine of us here) I’m glad I got to read this, it really showcases His strength.
    Thanks for sharing!

  15. This made me feel like I was right there. Beautiful, Sarah.

  16. You kept me jumping along… even though I knew all the characters, all the answers, all the endings … a gift.

  17. Loved reading this.

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