Body Language: The MovieTwo years ago while studying the New Testament I was struck by the body language that Christ was exhibiting in chapter eight of John, as he said hardly a word. I inserted the text and placed in italics his physical movements and quickly the cinematic quality of the moment jumped into my mind. This gave me the impetus to write it up as a tiny screenplay. As a writer I found it a thrill. Let me know what you think. Don't hold back.
(On a side note, our church produced a new series of bible videos centering on the New Testament, and recreated this famous moment. I claim no production affiliation.)
1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.FADE IN:
2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
THE MOUNT OF OLIVES - EARLY MORNING.
There’s a road, more like path, beaten down by feet and hooves over the decades, perhaps centuries. Nothing that the Romans have improved upon.
We hear a rooster in the far off distance. A dog barks.
From out of the brush and trees, a figure emerges down the hill, and onto the road. He’s wearing sandals and a robe. With the long hair and beard, we sense who this is…JESUS CHRIST.
EXT. JERUSALEM - EARLY MORNING
THE STREETS are nearly empty, except for the occasional woman sweeping, or dumping wastewater into the dust-covered streets.
JESUS walks down the street. The morning is cold. The breath comes out in small puffs. He smiles at those on the street.
EXT. TEMPLE - DAY
Outside the temple steps sit a group of men in the chilly morning air. They too wear beards and thick heads of hair. One of these men looks off in the distance, smiles and stands up. The others recognize it too, and rise to their feet, as...
JESUS WALKS up and greets them warmly, clasping their arms. Together they enter the temple…
INT. TEMPLE - DAY
Jesus sits with his disciples, talking to them, and they listen intently. Occasionally, some break in with questions and statements, to which Jesus listens with a fierce, yet loving determination in his eyes.
A NOISE, a woman sobbing. Angry male voices demanding that she "quit struggling" and "you've brought this upon yourself".
THE DISCIPLES leap to their feet and face what’s coming. Jesus remains nonplussed, neither glancing towards the commotion, nor standing up.
SCRIBES and PHARISEES hold an ADULTERESS, by the arms. Pushing, pulling and shoving her, they bring the terrified woman before Jesus.
PHARISEEANGLE ON JESUS, seated quietly. He looks up at the woman.
Master, this woman...she was taken in adultery, in the very act. Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. What sayest thou to this?
CLOSE UP OF WOMAN. Her face is tear-stained. She is terrified, knowing she is about to meet a horrible death.
JESUS leans forward, and with his finger, draws in the sand on the floor.
THE PHARISEE and other clerics stare at Jesus, then glance at one another in confusion.
THE DISCIPLES glance at the Pharisees, then Jesus, who continues writing in the sand. It's an uncomfortable silence.
PHARISEEON JESUS -- still writing in the sand.
Master...this woman—she was caught in the very act of adultery! The very act! What so you to this? What should be done with her?
SECOND PHARISEEJESUS RISES to his feet, and GIVES THEM a look.
Master, the law of Moses commands us that she be put to death!
JESUSTHE WOMAN lets out a bleat of terror.
He, that is without sin among you… Let him cast the first stone at her.
THE PHARISEE stares blankly at Jesus, as do the Scribes.
C.U. ON JESUS, kneels down and resumes drawing the sand.
THE DISCIPLES eye the Pharisees in suspense.
THE WOMAN eyes Jesus, shivering and crying. Her eyes glance at the disciples.
THE FIRST PHARISEE watches Jesus intently. His eyes slowly glance over at the woman, whose arm he clasps.
E.C.U. OF PHARISEE'S HAND. Slowly his fingers unfurl the woman's arm.
C.U. of SANDLED FEET shuffling away towards the temple door. Then another pair. Others follow.
JESUS, who is drawing in the sand, looks up.
ANGLE ON THE WOMAN. She stands all alone. Gone are the scribes and Pharisees.
JESUSTHE WOMAN can not feel more gratitude, as tears pour down her cheeks. Nodding, bowing, she quickly exits.
Woman, where are those who accuse you? Hath no man condemned thee?
(shakes her head)
No man, Lord.
Neither do I condemn thee. Go, and sin no more.