We all enjoy a good story. It’s the reason we read and re-read favourite tales, join book clubs, listen to podcasts, scan the social media feeds, and chat around the water cooler.
Story draws us in, and connects us to something beyond ourselves. It gives opportunity to learn, explore, and grow.
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Story-telling is also a prime way to share the Gospel!
Jesus once told the Jewish leaders, “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” (John 5:39).
What Christ did for us on the cross is the heart of the Gospel, but the story didn’t actually start with the birth of Jesus. It doesn’t end with His resurrection, either.
The Gospel is the whole story of the Bible; the good news of God’s great rescue plan for His people, from the moment of creation, through the Old and New Testaments, all the way to today and beyond.
And if you look closely, you’ll see Jesus is the connecting thread throughout it all!
Noah? Samson? The Good Samaritan? Paul and Silas in prison? Pick any Bible story and you can connect it to the central message of the Gospel. Here are a few simple examples, although often you’ll be able to make more than one connection!
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Before creation, God was there. (Genesis 1:1) God is good. God is holy, special and set apart. God is three in one: Father, Spirit, Son. How does the Bible story you are reading reflect God’s character?
Story Tip: Jesus is baptized. (Luke 3:21-22). In this story, we see that God the Father is pleased with Jesus, His Son. The Holy Spirit comes down like a dove. All of these point to who God is, special and set apart.
God creates all things for His glory in an orderly manner. He creates man in His own image (Genesis 1-2). How does the Bible story you are reading connect to the creation account, the first “chapter” in God’s story?
Story Tip: Jesus tells His followers not to worry, referencing God’s care for flowers and birds (Luke 12:22-31). To point back to creation, you could say, “God created these amazing things and takes care of them. He also created you, and will take care of you!”
Man decides to go his own way and the relationship with God is broken. Sin enters the world (Genesis 3). How do the characters in your Bible story experience this?
Story Tip: Saul persecutes the Christians (Acts 9). You could say, “Saul knew about God, but he hated the followers of Jesus. He wasn’t following God; his relationship with God was broken. When we sin, we can’t be with God.”
God’s great rescue plan is put into motion! He will not leave man without hope of a Saviour, One who will defeat sin and death and make a way for man to be with God once again. Many stories in the Old Testament point to the promise of the coming Messiah; the New is the fulfillment of that promise.
Story Tip: Moses leads the people of Israel from Egypt. (Exodus 12) Very simply, you could say, “Just like Moses led the people away from slavery, Jesus makes a way for us to be free from the slavery to sin.”
The good news! This is the payment of the debt, and freedom from sin.
The Old Testament points towards the perfect redemptive work of Jesus on the cross, and the New Testament tells that story, assuring us that salvation has been accomplished.
Story Tip: Saul meets Jesus and repents (Acts 9). You could say, “Saul’s relationship with God was broken; but that changed when he met Jesus! When Jesus died on the cross, he took the punishment for the wrong things Saul did, and for the wrong things we do, too. Just like Saul, if we ask Jesus to forgive us, and to come into our life, He will!”
When Jesus went back to heaven after rising from the dead, He gave us an important job to do. We are to tell others about the good news of Jesus!
Story Tip: Job praises God. (Job 19:25-27) You could say, “Job lived a long, long time before Jesus was born, but he knew that God had a great rescue plan in mind. Job told others about the hope he had, that His Redeemer (Jesus) lives! We can do that, too.”
The relationship between God and man is restored. Jesus has power over nature, disease and sickness, and even over death. We look forward to the day when God re-establishes perfect order with the creation of a new heaven and new earth.
Story Tip: Joseph and his brothers meet in Egypt (Genesis 45). You could say, “Joseph forgave his brothers for what they had done, even though they didn’t deserve it. The family was together again. When we ask Jesus to forgive us, our relationship with God is put back together. The Bible tells us that one day we’ll get to be with Jesus forever!”
Approach each story with the goal of finding at least one Gospel truth to share. It doesn’t need to be a long, drawn out observation. Rather, make this your goal: take a moment to marvel together at the power of the over-arching Gospel story and how it points to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelly Rempel is the Director of Creative Communications for One Hope Canada. She also serves as Preschool Team Leader at her church, and as the social media coordinator for Awesome KidMin Community.