A few weeks ago, I had my yearly physical. One of the sure signs you are beginning to age is when you know medical terms intimately like you have graduated from a school of medicine. Even just a few years ago, all I knew about cholesterol was the fact it was found in butter. Now, I know the “good kind” as well as the “bad kind.” However, as this visit came to an end, I was left to discern something for myself…the doctor’s handwriting! I cannot help but believe that most of what a pharmacist learns in school is how to decipher the language of a doctors writing. How can so many years be spent securing an education but it not provide them with legible penmanship? Either their teachers must stand embarrassed at their failure, or in the fast-paced society we live in this speaks of how unimportant our handwriting has become.
In John 8, there is a scene that captured my heart. A woman is brought out into the street as a convicted adulteress. As the crowd prepares to stone her, they arrogantly ask Jesus for His opinion on the matter. What happens next still leaves the modern-day Pharisees speechless; “…but Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground…” Jesus wrote! Spoken words can be forgotten or misheard, and our tones misunderstood, but Jesus saw this as a moment most needful for Him to write. Have you ever wondered what the handwriting of Jesus looked like? Handwriting experts tell us they can look at one’s penmanship and tell us about their character traits and personality. If only we had an example of Jesus’ handwriting…or do we? What could we learn about Jesus in His penmanship?
His writing tells us He is perfectly understood. As Jesus wrote in the dust, His penmanship must have been perfect and His message clear. Good written communication is dependent upon proper punctuation and spelling. None in the crowd had to ask what He meant or what a particular word was. His writing was simple, accurate, and convicting. It is amazing that a vast majority of Christians say they struggle knowing God’s will for their lives. Perhaps the crowd has obscured our vision, or the stones we carry have burdened our perspective. The disciples did not see Jesus write everyday, but in the course of their pursuit of Him, they did see it eventually. Here, the word “wrote” carries the idea, “to describe in detail.” If you would dare to follow the path long enough, somewhere Jesus will pause and stoop to write in the soil of your heart, and the message will be clear and distinct.
His writing tells us He is permanently uncompromising. In Exodus 31:18, Moses was given “…tables of stone written with the finger of God.” I still remember a discovery I made as a five year old when I wrote on my parents’ white leather couch with an ink pen: the endurance of your message is determined by what you write it with! The word “written” means to engrave. It’s permanent. When Jesus writes, it is never with a Sharpie nor a magic marker. It is ALWAYS with His finger! When describing this moment later in 32:16, Moses uses the word “writing” which is the picture of a king’s edict or a completed poem. Both are a finished work not to be added to. Should Jesus write upon the tablets of your heart, His “it is written” is meant to be both a personal and permanent act.
His writing tells us He is passionately unavoidable. In Daniel 5, Belshazzar saw the “…fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote…upon the plaster of the wall…” Have you ever noticed that when a child learns to write, they write on anything and everything? I’m so thankful that in moments of my life whether the surface of my heart was shifting sand, muddy soil, hard stone, or walls of plaster, Jesus still made it a canvas to get His message through. Like a bottle drifting at sea with a note inside, sometimes His storms are to bring His handwritten love notes to our shore.
If you and I should practice tracing another’s handwriting, in time, we can learn to duplicate it.
You may say, “but I haven’t seen the handwriting of Jesus.” Look around you at the “walking scrolls” and “serving manuscripts.” Look within you at the “fleshly tablets” and the “calloused canvas.” You may find it is just what the doctor ordered.
©2003 Alan Stewart
Alan Stewart: Dr. Alan Stewart has served as Senior Pastor of Rechoboth Baptist since December 1999. He attended The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Moody Bible Institute, Covington Theological Seminary, and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.
Prior to pastoring the Tennessee church, Alan was an evangelist for 15 years. He has preached revivals/pastor’s conferences in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. He also preached crusades/conferences in India, Hungary, and conducted a crusade in South Africa in August of 2009. Pastor Alan is married to Jeanne, and they are blessed with two children – Sierra and Seth.