The hand that wrote this

The year was 1089. A scribe sat down to finish his current project: a handwritten copy of the gospel accounts in Greek.

He wasn’t the first to do it, and he wasn’t the last. He was a single link in a chain stretching back nearly a thousand years before his birth, and has now continued stretching forward for nearly a thousand years after his death.

His name and his story are lost to time. But his contribution to the great chain remains. His manuscript is a link to the days when Jesus Christ and His disciples walked the earth. He and others like him were part of a generational effort to preserve something precious beyond words. Although the original manuscripts have long since crumbled into dust, this scribe—along with those who came before him and those who came after him—helped ensure that the message survived.

No ancient book has been more carefully preserved than the Bible. Not even close. Generation after generation, dedicated scribes sat down and painstakingly copied the word of God, letter after letter, line after line, to ensure that those who came after them had access to the life-changing truths breathed out by the Creator of the universe. They didn’t want the message to crumble like the papyrus and parchment that contained it.

And it hasn’t.

That’s incredible in its own right. But the reason I care about this particular manuscript from 1089 isn’t just because of the God-inspired truths it helped preserve.

I care about it because of the colophon that comes at the end—a short, personal comment from this nameless scribe who lived and died halfway between the gospel account of Christ and today:

“The hand that wrote this is rotting in the grave, but the words that are written will last until the fullness of times.”

It gives me chills.

He knew he was just a link in the chain.

He knew the message was bigger than him.

He knew he was preserving words that would outlast his own physical existence.

He knew he was a part of something that mattered. The thing that mattered.

I think about that, and I think about me, and I think about God’s truth, and I think about the connection we all share as sons and daughters of God—not just connected to each other in the present, but connected backwards and forwards to those who came before and to those who will come after.

Unless God returns in the next half a century or so, the hands that are typing this will one day be rotting in the grave.

Your hands, too.

What will we have contributed to the chain—that great chain that links us back to the Savior who told us to come to Him, because His yoke is easy and His burden is light?

We know those words, in part, because of a hand that has long since rotted in the grave—and many other hands before it.

What are we going to leave behind for those who come after? What examples of faith and trust? What templates of what it means to believe and obey?

The continued existence of the Bible today doesn’t depend on any of us actively writing it out.

But we are called to live it.

To breathe it.

To feed on it.

We carry with us the words that will last “until the fullness of time.” They are as precious now as they were the day they were spoken. The way we engage with those words today will impact how they are received by the ones who come after us.

When you and I are waiting in the grave for our change, what message will we have left behind?

Until next time,

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