What Christ Wrote in the SandMay 3rd, 2012 by Constantine Kulakov
Editor’s Note: The following post is from Constantine Kulakov. He is a student at Washington Adventist University. We are pleased to welcome him as a contributor to the Cross Connection website.
There is only one instance that records Jesus as writing. It is the story of the woman caught in adultery. With an onslaught of questions aimed to corner Him, Jesus stooped down and wrote in the sand. The woman was forgiven. The wind blew the words into nothingness. And to this day, we do not know what our Christ wrote in that Palestinian sand.
Thus, from very early on, we realize that Christ stresses the Spirit over the Letter. This is dramatized in the story of the Samaritan woman: “But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth… For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23). And “So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven” (Matthew 12:31). This is because “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6).
At this time of international, partisan, and inter-religious hostility, when clashing ideologies and agendas are rampant, it is time that we reflect on the consequences of the Spirit of God. Instead of advancing with the weapons of stronger religious ideologies and words, it is time that we are reborn of the Spirit, living according to this Spirit with our actions and not just our words. Again, Jesus was not just a preacher, but a living sacrifice Himself. Paul writes, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7).
But this demands a radical humility. Christ tells in the Gospel of John, “The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Thus, the time is ripe that we approach the stranger (whether they are of a different subculture, political party or religion) knowing they may be responding to the Spirit of God more than we are. For it is as wind. Paul writes, “Even the Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts” (Romans 2:14)
Now as ever, we are in an age of prejudice through words. We are prepared to isolate ourselves from other cultures, political bodies, and religious bodies based on words, and most dangerously, in the name of God. We want to feel we posses more truth, more God, limiting God and each other with words so as to build ourselves up. But fortunately, God is beyond all words. He is Spirit, like wind. And nothing can separate Him from His love for all of humanity. “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:11-21).“God is Spirit” (John 4:23). And like wind, He blows wherever He wants. If we fully reflect on these words before we advance to our “enemy,” whether they are an enemy soldier, a person of a rival faith, a church member with differing views, let us remind ourselves that the Spirit of God may dwell in them because the Law is “written in their hearts” (Romans 2:14). Our duty is to, as a community of different cultures, political parties and religions, call each other to reflect this Spirit of God more fully, not just by our words, but by the example of our actions.
Remember, we may never know what our Christ wrote in that Palestinian sand. But we do know that Christ, demonstrated, by his actions, as James Londis said, that the “path to power is through weakness, the path to glorify is through humility, the path to life is through death.”