You, Jesus, You alone deserve all glory!
Our lives unfold, embraced within Your story;
Past, present, future – You, the same forever –
You fail us never!
Saints, See the Cloud of Witnesses
Lutheran Service Book 667:6
Human beings are storytellers. From the time we get up in the morning and take that first sip of coffee until the time we go to bed at night, our daily lives are full of stories. It may be the short story told by your teenage son or daughter. “How was school today?” you ask. “Fine,” they reply. Or, it may be an epic poem told by your 5-year-old son about his daring adventures around the living room with his streak of tiger paws. Whether we’re at work, school, home, or leisure - even as we scroll through social media - every day, in everything we do and experience, we are busy hearing, seeing, and telling stories. To be sure, life is full of sad, tragic, and heartbreaking stories. Some stories are downright evil and false. Still, many stories are good and true and point us to the one true story: Jesus’ death and resurrection to save sinners.
Every day, in everything we do and experience, we are busy hearing, seeing, and telling stories.
Human beings are storytellers because God himself is the greatest storyteller. He is the gracious narrator of the most excellent story ever told: Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for the life of the world. And so it should come as no surprise to us that when God delivers his word to us, he does so by means of a story. “In the beginning,” begins Genesis. John the Evangelist ends his Gospel by proclaiming to all who read and hear this great story:
“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).
In God’s gracious imagination, he speaks to us and delivers his Word both in what he speaks and in whom he sends to us. God not only speaks his Word to us, but he enfleshes and incarnates it. Jesus is the Word made flesh who dwelt among us and still does in his word, water, body, and blood.
His word comes to us in Scripture, both as many stories, and one story. God’s word is the story told of many people, places, and events, in many genres, and by many authors. And yet Scripture with all its genres, metaphors, and similes has one Author, one unifying story, and one singular theme - that of the Great Storyteller who wrote himself into the greatest story of all history. God became man. The author became incarnate. Jesus took on human flesh for you.
Jesus: whose word is truth. Whose word is spirit and life. Whose word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Whose word does not return void but accomplishes what he purposes.
Whose word is sharper than any two-edged sword. Whose word of Gospel is the power of God for salvation. Whose word endures forever.
The story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is historical, verifiable, and trustworthy. All of it is true.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal 4:4-5).
The story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is historical, verifiable, and trustworthy. All of it is true. And this story is also the greatest ever told. It is both true and beautiful. It is both factual and meaningful. It is both history and story. It is the story of Jesus’ death to save us from death. The story of Jesus’ life laid down for our lives. The story of our redemption, rescue, and restoration. The story of our comfort, consolation, and confidence. It is the story of all stories and the one to which all good stories point.
It is also the story we hear, see, read, learn, experience, and grow in throughout our Christian lives. This great story of Jesus’ death and resurrection comes to us throughout the Scriptures, in catechesis, liturgy, hymns, and in the life of the church, where our Lord continues to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his crucified, risen, gracious love for you. But those are stories for another day.