All in Broader Literary Context
Over the past few weeks we have been in a series on “6 Ways to Transform Your Reading of the Gospels.” First I suggested that we Read Matthew, Mark, and Luke from ‘the Earth Up’ and John ‘from Heaven Down.’ Last week we looked at how to Read Each Gospel for Its Unique Perspective. Our third principle, the topic of this post, is As we Read the Miracle Stories Ask, “What Does this Tell Me about the Identity of Jesus?”
Let me be honest. At this stage of life, I sometimes struggle with fear. That gut-wrenching, cloud of dread that descends in the dead of night, shooting “what ifs” at my mind and heart. I can fear for my wife, my kids, myself. I am tempted to be afraid about finances, or illness, or the future. I fear incompetence, or making mistakes, or insignificance. Do you know what I mean?
Let's be honest. Certain parts of the Old Testament can seem just plain weird, "recurringly odd and unaccommodating," as Mark Coleridge puts it. And no part of the Old Testament seems more foreign than those sections that detail God's laws for Israel.
Harold Goddard writes, "The history of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in." As we live in the modern world, we see the evidence of Goddard's statement all around us. People have particular views of the world, and those views often are driven by the stories they have embraced.
God wants to pull us into his Story and shape us by it. You may not be terribly familiar with the Old Testament stories, which play a vitally important role in telling the Grand Story, but there are a number of reasons why we should read those stories (which make up a bit less than 50% of the Old Testament).
When wrestling with Hebrews 13:2 (“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares”), it is easy to wonder, Have I ever talked to an angel without knowing it? Or, Maybe that lady who caught my baby buggy, keeping my child from rolling into the street, was—well, you know.