They had already finished when we rushed the room. But it didn’t matter. Everything was still in place and there was no question. John jumped up faster than we had seen a grown man move before. He knew why we were there. And so did she. There were a few blows exchanged and, true, they may not have been necessary. But we wanted her to know we meant business.
The dozen of us filled John’s tiny room but his wife still managed to weasel her way in. She had heard the commotion from down the street and had come running like Jehu to Jezreel. She went straight to yelling and hitting him with his shoe (with his own shoe!).
That’s when Simon, the old softy, grabbed our woman’s dress from the floor and shoved it at her. She pulled it over her head and wiped the bedstraw from her arms. No “come hither” left in those eyes. None of us had to touch her much after that.
We left the house in perfect formation, with our barefoot prize in the middle and poor John whimpering behind us. Gabe had said we should have our rocks ready. (“That way, the woman won’t bust free when we stop to pick some up along the way.”)
Good thing we took that advice. When we stepped onto Tyropo Way, we couldn’t have reached the ditches if we wanted. The whole street was packed with keeners, all scrambling for a spot on our bandwagon.
It was glorious, striding into the temple like that. Everything was finally coming together and we could feel it.
He saw us coming, of course. But we weren’t about to let him get away. Not this time. We marched straight up to him and presented our sobbing heap of evidence for everyone to see, plain as day. Philippus delivered the quote perfectly (Phil is a faithful scholar) and there was really no way around it: Either she was going to get it or he was.
Then there was his silly writing in the dirt business. Fool was probably just stalling. This was supposed to be an execution, not a Hebrew lesson. But there he was: The Big Man Himself hunched at her feet, fiddling in the dust. In hindsight, that was our chance to get them both.
That’s when he started on about who could throw the first stone. Since when was he in charge? (He is very arrogant.) And where exactly does it say we have to be “without sin” to do what God wants? Like he would know! But he hung it all on that, and just stood there beside her with that smug look of his.
It wasn’t like he had won. It was just a momentary setback. If Simon and Josh hadn’t caved like Samaritan booths, we could’ve rallied a proper answer. Hardly time for us to unroll a scroll, and those geezers just dropped their stones and sulked away.
They were supposed to be our leaders. They were supposed to be strong enough to do what’s right – to not get bogged down in fancy talk and technicalities. Everybody knows God hates sinners and everyone ’round here knows this guy is a sinner’s poster boy. Well, those fogies had their chance and they buckled. They buckled and he walked.
And that was that. We split up and haven’t seen each other since.
Now here’s my little secret: I didn’t drop my rocks that day. I kept them and have them right here, ready. I have plans for these rocks, and God help me if a whore-loving smooth-talker from the boonies is going to get in the way. I may not have the longest beard but I know the truth. Nobody is without sin, and somebody has to do the dirty work.
Problem is, people are fickle. A bit of hype and a couple tricks, and they’ll follow anyone. And no wonder – they sleep through synagogue and couldn’t tell a Maccabee from a bumblebee. They have no clue what the Coming Messiah will really be like.
My apologies if I’ve been too casual with this. I can prepare a more formal report later. (This one is off the record.)
You wanted to know what happened, and now you do.
Saul of Tarsus