The Bible and the Story

Diego Velasquez, "Supper at Emmaus"
Diego Velasquez, “Supper at Emmaus”

Today I was trying to do a quick dive into Luke 24 to grab a couple of details about reading the Bible. It’s a great place for it. The tldr is basically: don’t read the Bible for what it says unless you think it says Jesus.

But have you ever strolled through the Emmaus story? Have you ever slowed down, not to hear what Jesus says to the “foolish, hard-hearted” companions, but to listen to what they say to him?

They tell the whole story.

All of it.

Jesus of Nazareth.

A man, a prophet, mighty in word and deed before God and all the people.

Our priests and leaders handed him over to a judgment of death and crucified him.

It’s been three days.

Women went and didn’t find his body.

They say they saw angels who said he was alive.

These are Jewish people who know their Bibles. And they knew Jesus. And they knew the entire story of mighty life, suffering, death, three days, and reports of resurrection. But they could not see that what God had done in their midst was the thing that scripture was talking about.

Not Enough

This story tells me two things at the same time: (1) the Bible is not enough—we have to know the right story to find in it if we are going to be dialed into what God is doing, and (2) the story is not enough—we have to recognize things that God is doing as being testified to by what God has already given us.

Of course, the story shows us also that Bible and story together are not enough: there must be a dramatic opening of our eyes if we are to see the suffering and glorified Christ as what God really was up to all along.

Depending on which Christian community you find yourself in, your people probably lean toward one or another end of the Bible vs. story of experience spectrum.

Maybe this story is a nudge.

Maybe that thing we could never think is God’s work is God’s work after all.

Maybe that thing that is absolutely not what the Bible was talking about has a scriptural witness if we have eyes to see.

Maybe we need just a bit more of the illumination in the broken bread to hold it all together.

"Interesting, I wonder which contemporary issue you might be talking about. Hmmmm."

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