My journey with the bible
I grew up in the church and I liked the Bible what I assume is the normal amount for a teenage boy. Which is basically indifferent.
That all changed when one of my best friends Luke and I started studying bible together.
We’d sit around for hours and hours debating eschatology, and the rapture, where are the dinosaurs in all this? And the gap theory? And the canopy theory. And yes Jonah was able to breathe in the fish, because there was a gas bubble.
A number of my opinions about that stuff has changed.
But what has changed MOST significantly is HOW I read the Bible.
The method you use to interpret the bible
If you look at all the denominations. There are currently over 34,000 different denominations.
Many of them with their own way of interpreting the Bible. With the vast majority being in agreement with the larger church, but certainly many differences as well.
Jesus – teaches – how – read.
Well what if I told you : Jesus himself teaches us how to read the Bible?
The idea of the series is this:
If you want to get the Bible right, you have to read it through Jesus colored glasses.
Jesus says whole Bible is about him.
In Luke 24, we find my favorite post-resurrection appearance by Jesus.
Easter Sunday : 2 disciples leaving town.
It’s Easter Sunday and there’s these 2 disciples and they’re leaving town. They’re not waiting around for any resurrection. They’re sad and morose.
And Jesus has risen from the dead but they don’t know that.
And he shows up and begins to walk with them, but they don’t recognize him. It’s hilarious.
He (Jesus) asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. (Luke 24:17)
One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” (Luke 24:18)
“What things?” he asked. (Luke 24:19)
3 days ago – tortured / killed / buried!
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! (Luke 24:25)
Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” (Luke 24:26)
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)
… “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24:44)
Whole Hebrew bible, whole Old Testament.
They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)
Our hearts were burning when he opened the scriptures to us.
That’s what we’re wanting to do in this series.
Not just a bible study for bible study sake, but that our hearts would begin to burn for Jesus as we learn to read the Bible like Jesus.
These were not isolated incidents.
He’s been telling them:
Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. (Luke 18:31)
He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; (Luke 18:32)
they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” (Luke 18:33)
The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about. (Luke 18:34)
Besides talking about himself in the 3rd person, Jesus is pretty clear here.
… The prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, (1 Peter 1:10)
trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. (1 Peter 1:11)
The Spirit of Jesus was at work in the prophets
LOTR – Two Towers
Jesus is at work through the entire story. It’s not like the Lord of the Rings the two towers where everyones back is against the ropes and the ocrs are gonna kill everybody and all seems lost and then FINALLY Gandalf shows up with the huge army and the tree people. No Jesus is not the character that just shows up last minute to save everyone, he’s been at work from the very beginning.
So all scripture is ultimately pointing to Jesus.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:2)
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)
Ok, so right off the bat at the very beginning of the Bible you have God creating. In many places in the Bible, when it says ‘God’, it’s highlighting God as father.
And then in verse 2 it says that the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. So here you have God the Father, and the Holy Spirit.
So the question then is this: Where is Jesus in creation?
The answer is found in John 1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
He (note: he switches to the pronoun ‘he’) was with God in the beginning. (John 1:2)
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:3)
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. (John 1:4)
So here John says that in the beginning was The Word.
Now what is he talking about there? He’s talking about Jesus
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. (John 1:10)
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. (John 1:11)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)
Jesus is the creative force in Genesis 1 – The word of God.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (Colossians 1:15)
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:16)
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17)
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, (Hebrews 1:1)
but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. (Hebrews 1:2)
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. (Hebrews 1:3)
Jesus is the creator and sustainer of all creation.
So what’s amazing is that in Genesis 1, right away we have the trinity. We have God the father, speaking, and we have Jesus that is the word going forth into creation, and we have the Holy Spirit that hovers over creation. So when we go through the creation account, God creates light, that’s Jesus. God creates land, that’s Jesus. God creates sea, that’s Jesus. God creates animals that’s Jesus. God creates mankind, that’s Jesus.
Think about this:
Jesus is the creative force creating the world in which he himself will come into and die.
Which opens up a whole new way of understanding the creation.
…(Jesus is) the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. (Revelation 13:8)
Before the world was made, Jesus knew he was going to be the sacrifice that would save humanity.
If the plan of redemption came before the creation, in Genesis 1-2 the Redeemer is creating the arena of His redemption. (David Murray OT Professor)
When you go through the creation story
Water. : As Jesus is creating this substance that all life is dependent on, he’s thinking ‘When I come, I’ll refer to myself as the living water.’ Just like how you need water to live, if you want eternal life you must drink of me.
Land. : Different kinds of land, and Jesus is thinking ‘I’m gonna talk about how you can build your house on the rock, or on the sand.’
Trees. : These tress sustain life. And Jesus thinks ‘I’m gonna hang from one of those. And in doing so, I’m gonna bring new life.’
Grapes. : Jesus is thinking ‘I’m gonna talk about the new wine of the gospel.’ ‘I’m gonna turn water into wine.’
Made in God’s image. And even in our desire for community and intimacy, we reflect the intimacy of the trinity.
Fish / Birds / Sheep / Goats / Flowers. : Jesus would go on to use them all as ways to teach us.
And so now, I don’t just read the Bible differently, I look at the world differently.
Jesus didn’t just come into the world, he’s the creative force behind the world. And creation itself speaks of Jesus.
Skip forward to Genesis chapter 3 and we find that humanity doesn’t even make it a full page without messing everything up. This beautiful creation gets corrupted by sin.
Eve eats the fruit, Adam eats the fruit. The realize they’re naked, they hide. It’s a distaster.
In v15, God has arrived and he pronouncing judgement on the serpent.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
So there’s going to be damage done in both directions.
You will bruise his heel, but he’s he’s gonna crush your head.
So who is this ‘he’? It’s Jesus.
Theologians call this the ‘Protoevangelium’ which is a fun word to say. Any word that ends in ‘gelium’ is alright by me.
- “Proto” means first.
- “Evangelium” in latin means ‘The Gospel’
So this is the first instance in the Bible of ‘The Gospel’.
As soon as Adam and Eve fall, Jesus is already at work bringing about healing and redemption. Through the bloodline of this woman, there will come a man who will crush the serpents head. He will take damage too, but he’ll recover. But the serpent. He’ll be beyond repair.
3 Practical Steps
I’m about done, but as I close I’ve got 3 practical steps.
1. Learn to read the Bible like Jesus did
When reading any part of the Bible, tie what you are reading to Jesus and the Gospel.
Ask yourself these questions: ‘How is this setting the stage for Jesus?’ and ‘How is this a picture of Jesus?’ and ‘How might Jesus be at work here bringing about redemption?’
2. Learn to see Jesus in the world around you.
When going through your daily life, tie what you are experiencing to Jesus.
- Jesus is the life behind all life.
- Jesus is the beauty behind all beauty.
- Jesus is the joy behind all joy.
3. Remember that we have work to do.
Remember what God said about Jesus crushing the head of the serpent.
Look at what Paul said about that:
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. (Romans 16:20a)
Satan was defeated on the cross but there’s still work to be done.
Under who’s feet? YOUR feet. God does the crushing, but he uses your foot. Think about that.
Think about this beautiful partnership. Where God crushes the devil, but uses us (the church) to do it.
We have a part to play. How? By bringing light into the world. (By the way that’s how your cast out darkness, by bringing light it.)
- Every time you want to keep a grudge, but istead forgive.
- Every time you want to be stingy, but instead you give generously.
- Every time you want to fight, but instead you act as peacemaker.
You’re partnering with God to crush the head of the serpent.
Ok, we’re gonna receive communion.
This is an opportunity for you to meet with Jesus.
And as they pass the elements, what I want you to focus on becoming aware of the presence of God that is around us every moment of every day. Jesus is the sustainer of all life.
And your ability to see my face, and hear my voice, and breathe in and breathe out, that’s all held in place but the sustainer of all creation: Jesus.