Original Post Published 7/29/2010
I remember thinking, sometime between ages 12 and 14, that I could never write a story that took place before Christ. Or which dealt with people after Christ who never heard his message. “I just couldn’t do it,” I recall thinking. “I’d be wondering about their salvation the whole time.”
Well, I stuck by that for a long time. And when I began writing Jewel of Persia, that aspect didn’t really occur to me–until my husband, reading along as I wrote, said, “There’s just one thing that concerns me–you’re targeting Christian readers with a book that isn’t going to mention Jesus once.”
Too true. Kinda hard to mention someone still 450 years away from being born. But as I studied the books of the Old Testament I was appealing to, it struck me: salvation isn’t a theme unique to the New Testament. The people in the OT prayed constantly for salvation–duh, right? Read the Psalms. Yes, most of the time it was for immediate salvation–the saving of life, or even of the nation, so that it be preserved for future generations.
Last night at Bible study (I had recommended this topic months ago, and love that we got to it the week after I finished Jewel of Persia
, LOL), the most awesome example we found, though, was how Moses crafts the bronze serpent and holds it up, so that anyone bitten by a poisonous snake can look at it and be saved. Then in John 3, Jesus references that to say (in the Roseanna-paraphrase version) “Just like Moses lifted that snake up, so is the Son of Man being lifted up. The people were already bitten, already dying. They had to have faith to look up and be saved, and it’s the faith that saved them. Well, people, you’re already bitten. But God loves you so much that he sent his son–and just like that bronze snake, if you believe enough to look toward Me, you’ll be saved. I’m not condemning y’all–you’re already condemned. Already bitten. But I’m here for your salvation.”
Oo, I love that. Love that Jesus himself took this Old Testament idea of salvation and moved it into New Testament, eternal realms. Awesome, isn’t it?
In my book, I’m constantly tossing my poor heroine into situations she needs saving from. Each and every time, she cries out to the Lord her God, and Jehovah comes through. Then at the end, the whole people of Israel are calling out for salvation from the scheming of Haman. It’s a theme for me–more of one, strangely, than it’s been in A.D. books, perhaps because I was so aware of it. And you know, even though they’re still looking forward to Jesus, they don’t know his name, they don’t know when he’ll come, it’s still a matter of faith. Kasia must have faith that the Lord will preserve her, and that she’s where she needs to be. Faith that her God can use her love to move the mountain of a stubborn man. And Esther, of course. Esther must have faith that this is her purpose and that even if she dies, God will still use her to save her people.
My last sentence has the word “salvation” in it. I end on that note hoping it’ll leave people thinking about it and moving naturally in their thoughts to the ultimate salvation, the One who came and updated our definition of the word, who offered it to our souls. “Jesus” is never in my book. But the Spirit is–and just as He speaks to us now, he spoke to my characters. (Maybe not exactly like, but He did.) It’s the same spirit, the same God. Which means the same Jesus was there, waiting. Waiting, ready to offer himself for these people.
Some things transcend time.