“Once upon a time”… four simple yet, for most of us, magical words transporting us straight back to our childhoods. This February, the first week of the month, sees the National Storytelling Week celebrated in clubs, theatres, museums, schools and hospitals up and down the length of the country. With stories of daring adventures, heart-rending tragedies and comic tales magically weaved to fascinate and intrigue, I’m again reminded of the power of a good story to captivate hearts and minds.
We all love stories. I love to tell them. In fact, I think storytelling is part of our DNA, part of what it is to be human because we were made in the image of the Original Storyteller – God. For me, Jesus was the greatest storyteller of all time. He told astounding stories packed with meaning and significance using humour, intrigue, exaggeration, shock and pathos. These stories resonated with Christ’s audience at the time. They were totally relevant to their everyday lives, concerns, questions and most importantly carried lifechanging truth with their timeless eternal insight.
Dr. Simon J. Kistemaker, an American theolgian and writer wrote this: “By using open-ended parables, Jesus drew His listeners into real-life situations and presented them with the need for a decision on their parts. Allegory in Jesus’ parables brought people into familiar surroundings and highlighted the mercy of God toward sinners… The parables Jesus taught are timeless and universal. Throughout the centuries they have addressed and continue to address people of all ages, nationalities, and races.”
All of the best stories are captured in the Bible and profoundly get to the heart of what life is really all about. It’s why the Bible, God’s word, is still so relevant after thousands of years. It’s the story told of people, places and events, written in many genres, by multiple scribes. Yet it has one true Author, one unifying story, and one singular theme – the Great Storyteller who wrote himself into the greatest story of all history: God becoming man. The author became incarnate, lived amongst us taking on human flesh, for you and me, in order to save us all. Good conquering evil, a dragon defeated, love triumphant. That’s why it’s the bestseller!
Yet history shows us that the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is historical, verifiable, and trustworthy. This is no child’s fairy-tale – it’s the real deal. It’s the greatest epic adventure, the boldest escape story, the wildest serial and the most profound love story ever told.
It is both beautiful and true. Both factual and soul-searching. Both history and story – which of course is the point, because it is after all, put simply, ‘His story’.
The Bible chronicles the history and fall of humanity and the long foretold coming of a king, a deliverer sent to save the world. The story tells of Jesus’ life, death and supernatural resurrection to save us from death: a story of a life laid down so that ours can be taken up. It’s the remarkable chronicle of our redemption, rescue, and restoration. The story of our history, healing, and hope. It is the centrepiece of all stories and the one from which all good stories draw.
Jesus embodied God’s commitment to storytelling and that story beautifully continues to be told in you – even as you read this today. So this year, may you increasingly find real joy in re-reading and resting in His word, captivated again by a story where your life is woven into the epic ongoing Greatest Story ever told.
Love Tim x