I have read that the British are especially fond of historical novels: well that’s good because all the biblical stories are historical, and they have much to teach us that is relevant today.
There are quite a considerable number of people who love science fiction and fantasy. The Christian writers C. S Lewis -"Perelandra" and "Narnia", and J.R.R Tolkien "The Silmarillion" and " The Lord of the Rings "are examples. And then we have J.K. Rowling’s "Harry Potter" and Isaac Asimov’s "Foundation" series.
They are all fiction, of course, and imaginary, but the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as recorded in the gospels, goes way beyond them all, and it actually happened; it is history.
God in his essential ‘essence’ or ‘being’ is way beyond our imagination, inevitably when we think of God it falls far short of the reality. He is God and unique, there is nothing and no one remotely like him; he is incomparable -
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one - Deuteronomy 6: 4, and yet he reveals himself as a trinity -Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Because God is unfathomable, the Bible makes no attempt to describe him in detail the very first words of Genesis it just says -
"In the beginning God" - Genesis 1: 1- How can you describe the indescribable! You can’t!
Yet this unfathomable God became man, took upon himself human nature, the very nature that he had created, and he came and lived among us! It is unimaginable and beyond belief!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing that was made has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men - John 1: 1 to 3
Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, taught unmatched moral precepts, suffered a sacrificial death, and three days afterwards rose from the dead to an endless life. There is nothing as extraordinary and unique in the annals of all history and he said that he is coming to earth again in what will be the most dramatic event of all time.
The story of the life of Jesus Christ is by far the most important in the Bible. Nevertheless, the Bible abounds in great stories.
We read the book of Genesis that when Abraham was old and the son of his old age, Isaac, had grown to be a fine young man, he sent for his chief servant and told him to take camels and servants and travel to the land and the people from where he had come; and seek there a wife for his son.
It was a long and hard journey, of many days, but at last the chief servant and the men he taken with him arrived at their destination, and the Bible then says -
May it be that when I say to a girl, "Please let down your jar that I may have a drink, ‘and she says, ‘Drink and I’ll water your animals too’ - let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac.
Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. The girl was very beautiful, a virgin
The servant hurried to meet her, "Please give me a little water from your jar,"
"Drink, my Lord," she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink. After she had given him a drink, she said "I’ll draw water for your camels too." -
When the camels had finished drinking - he asked, "Whose daughter are you? Please tell me is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?" She answered him, "I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milca bore to Nahor." And she added, "We have fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night."
Then the man bowed down and worshipped the Lord, saying - "The Lord has led me on the journey to my master’s relatives."
The girl ran and told her mother’s household about these things.
The servant and the men with him then stayed the night with Rebekah’s parents and he told them the whole story of how the Lord had blessed his master and his son, and what had happened at the well.
He gave the presents that Abraham had sent to Rebekah and some to the family too. They agreed to let her go to be Isaac’s bride, but asked that the girl might stay with them for ten days and then go; but then Abraham’s servant said to them -
"Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way that I may go to my master. Then they said, "Let’s call the girl and ask her about it." So they called Rebekah and asked her, "Will you go with this man?" "I will go," she said - So the man took Rebekah and left.
It was a long and tedious journey, not without its difficulties and dangers, but each night around the camp fire or at the caravanserais, the servant would encourage Rebekah when she sometimes felt tired and discouraged, and tell her more about Abraham and Isaac, and how God had appeared to Abraham, and promised him a son and heir in his old age; it was a long journey indeed, but at last it ended, and so we read -
Rebekah looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from the camel and asked the servant, "Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?"
"He is my master," the servant answered. So she took a veil and covered herself. Then the servant told Isaac all that he had done. Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
This is a beautiful and romantic story in its own right, read the whole of it yourself in Chapter 24 of the first book of the Bible, Genesis. But, as so often in the Bible, there is a figurative and prophetic message in it as well, because it speaks of the Holy Trinity and the church.
Abraham represents God the Father, who wants a bride to share the inheritance with his Son, a miracle child like Isaac, for Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary. And after Jesus’ life death and resurrection God sent the Holy Spirit to the earth to find a bride from those creatures nearest to him and to testify about the Father and the Son.
God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them - Genesis 1: 27
Abraham sent his chief servant to find a bride from his relatives in the land he came from. God has sent his Holy Spirit, to be his Viceroy on earth, to illuminate the Scriptures and bring a people to Jesus Christ, the Divine Bridegroom, from every tribe and nation world-wide to be his bride - the Church.
Christ’s inheritance is glorious says the Apostle Paul, and that God wishes believers to know that -
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints - Ephesians 1: 18
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus - Philippians 4: 19
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him - 1 Corinthians 2: 9
God sees mankind as a relative because he created them in his likeness and Christ came to earth as a man uniting the divine and human natures forever; as the apostle Paul says -
We are members of his body, of his flesh and bones - Ephesians 5: 30
Paul then shows how this is represented by marriage -
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh - Ephesians 5: 31
Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her - to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies - Ephesians 5: 25 to 28
Do you read the Bible regularly with its great teachings and wonderful stories? If not, why not now? Ask him to come into your heart and life and thereby save your soul, and then join a church, where the Bible is read and taught; and also read it for yourself.
Read of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the gospels, the story of the call of Abraham in the book of Genesis, Read about Joseph who was sold as a slave by his brothers, and what became of him. Read the story of Ruth and how she found happiness with her husband. Think of King David, the least of his father’s house, and how, after many adventures, he became the greatest king of Israel.
And, of course, there is much, much, more.
May the Lord’s blessing be with you as you read this article!
God bless you!!!
Pastor Gordon Guillermo Burgess
Alicante Church Of The Good Shepherd