The Bible has the distinct honor of being the only book that is alive. Sounds strange, I know, but it’s true. It is active. It pierces us.
And yet even as a collection of more than five dozen books featuring various types of literature, written by forty authors spanning 1,600 years, this Book is actually — drumroll! — the telling of one single story. We will see Jesus woven (yes, intended) throughout every single bit of it. And that’s the part some people have missed about the Bible and about him. (I know I had.) He shows up in places we never knew to look.
But truth be told, you’ve already got everything you need for understanding it. And I’m truly, deeply grateful that you’re here. It’s the most amazing story. And you ARE going to understand it.
But in all seriousness, I’m praying for you right this second. I know you’re going to love the way the Bible is woven together.
When I started reading the Bible for that Bible study, I planned on adding it to my résumé of adventures and education. What I didn’t plan on was falling in love with Jesus.
All of a sudden I realized there was a story in the Bible.
And from there, anchored around those pins, I could start to draw lines tying them together. And the more lines I drew — between more and more of these happenings and sayings and key moments that stood out to me from the Bible — all those loose, straggly threads of connection began to flatten out for me, weaving themselves (oh, my gosh, I cannot stop — is there a hotline for this sort of thing?) yes, weaving themselves around each other.
That’s when I saw it. It was all one story. It is all one story. Sixty-six books, and yet all one story.
Tell God you truly want to know this story, not so that you can hold your own in Sunday school or Bible study more confidently, but simply because you want to know him.
When you believe the wrong things, you’ll do the wrong things.
We had it. We blew it.
But then the unexpected.
Jesus had more than enough people working against him. But everything was going exactly according to plan, every last inch and stitch of it.
Jesus’ suffering and death — all of it — was all in God’s plan.
Jesus would take the place of all of us.
The spotless, righteous Lamb of God must suffer. Like this. And die. Like this. Our job is not to get in between God and his timeless plan for our salvation. This was the plan agreed upon by both the Father and the Son. Yes, the Father sent his Son (Jn. 20:21; 1 Jn. 4:14), but at the same time, the Son also overtly volunteered (Jn. 10:17-18). And the Holy Spirit? He empowered it all. The Trinity was in perfect agreement over this, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t think trying to get in the way of the Trinity’s plan for something is ever going to work out well.
Our job is only to sit back and wonder, and worship, and believe that the One who tied this whole story together and into our timeline has done it because of that same passionate pursuit he’s been showing us in Scripture since the Garden of Eden.
Yes, the Lamb of God had paved the way, by his blood, for anyone in all the world to come and be forgiven. Of everything.
Among the parts of the gospel that make it so magnificent is one which, up until Paul’s day, would’ve been considered completely irrational. It’s this: the good news of God’s love and favor extends to ALL who believe. Not only the Jews but also the Gentiles.
And, again, we citizens of the twenty-first century simply don’t have a real frame of reference for understanding how radical — R-A-D-I-C-A-L — this idea sounded at the time.
The chief enemy that every one of us faces is the enemy of our own indwelling sin. Doesn’t matter who we are or where we come from. And when Jesus came and died on the cross, his sacrifice of blood defeated that enemy. For all of us.
The way we gain access into this heart-changing, mind-changing, entire-destiny-changing experience is not by keeping the law of Moses, or by filling up the check boxes on our religious score sheet and working to become good people. Jesus, having fulfilled the law perfectly, invites us to let His perfect righteousness be counted as our perfect righteousness. And so by faith in Him, as opposed to working for Him, we are freed to live in real-time victory.
The gospel is open to all, my friend. To all who receive his grace by faith.
The curtain has been torn.
So the next time someone tells you that they’ll take Jesus, but the church they could do without, now you know that the two can’t really be separated. Jesus won’t do without his church, neither will Paul, and neither should any of us. The church is who Christ died for — including me and you. If Jesus was that committed to His people, and Paul was this set on starting them and then ministering to them in their moments of need, shouldn’t we assume there’s no way we can do without the church?
That the law, the temple, the priesthood, the sacrifices were all just period pieces. God’s intention for them all along was that only in Christ would these things find their fullest, greatest, ultimate expression. Jesus and his new covenant with the people of God are superior to everything that came before.
God wins. Evil loses.
And it’s all made possible because of this Woven story we’ve witnessed — the story of how God in his love continued seeking us as his lost and sinful people, refusing to let our sins be the death of us. Choosing instead to be life for us. That’s the thread. God’s pursuing love. Irresistible. Unstoppable. A story of rebellion that he gracefully transformed (and continues to transform) into a story of redemption.
So here’s my version of what God was saying to Adam and Eve (and us): “The state you’ve placed yourself in is temporary. But out of my deep love for you, despite how little you deserve it, I will bring a solution to bridge the chasm between us. The one who tempted you into this condition will bite at your heels for a while, yes, but I’ll bring someone along that will knock his block off once and for all.”
Or to put it another way: the God who pursues us is not pursuing to punish us but to provide us a plan for his loving redemption.
Prepare to see this heart of God at work all through the Bible. Sin always earns consequences for sinners — horrible, hurtful, heartbreaking consequences — and yet our God keeps on coming. Coming to save. He takes the initiative to draw His people back into the circle of His protection and blessing. He responds to sin with forgiveness and restoration. He stands in the path of destruction and holds back the hopelessness that makes it feel so final.
And though the enemy has continued to attack us, and though we’ve remained a too-easy mark for Him, and though we really should’ve learned by now from the damage and discomfort we’ve already borne as a result, God never loses sight of where we are.