the big storyThe Big Story is a story of wonder, hope, despair, and finally renewal. The Big Story spreads across the entire Bible. It is a story that begins with the creation of the world and carries us all the way to God recreating a world where we and all of creation are redeemed, liberated, and made new. Come and experience God’s Big Story as it unfolds as a drama in 6 acts.
The Loving King, God, Establishes his KingdomGod creates the world good and whole, marvelously prepared for people to live in and to flourish in. In this beautiful world, God creates people in his image. They are made to be in an intimate, amazing relationship with God and to unpack the wonders hidden in his creation, and to take care of this place of beauty. They are partners with God in the next steps of building his creation. It is an awesome and amazing vocation.
Rebellion in the Kingdom
Early in human history, there is a rebellion against the loving and gracious king. We decided we did not want to be daughters and sons of the great king and so we went our own way. This is what is called sin.
The results of sin are tragic. Everything in the world gets twisted by evil. Our relationship with God, with others, with the world are twisted. In our twistedness, we give ourselves over to idols. While idols sound like an old and outdated idea, idols are simply things we trust in alongside of or in the place of God. We allow these things to rule our lives—some of the idols we recognize most quickly are “isms”, like consumerism or nationalism or individualism. These demand our time, energy, and resources and take over our lives, leaving us empty and broken, longing for something more.
The Loving and Gracious King Chooses IsraelWhen people fell, God started on the long road of redemption. God chose Israel to bless the world. (Redemption began) But God loved the world too much to leave it this way. God's love compels him to begin the long road to redeem people as his children and the world as his kingdom. As he begins, he chooses a people, Israel, to show the world how He wants things to be. He calls them to be a blessing to the world. He rescues them from slavery in the Exodus and brings them into the promised land of Israel, where they are to be a showcase to the nations of how wonderful it is to be sons and daughters of the great king, our Father. They show this by living a life of shalom or “peace” as represented in the 10 commandments—God’s road map for a just and whole society and people. The calling of Israel informs the rest of the story: what God longs to do, what is important to God, and how he will carry it out. Israel tells us that God partners with his children to bring shalom — just as he partnered with Adam and Eve at the beginning. Sadly, too often they fail at being this showcase and blessing to the world.
Jesus Comes as KingRedemption culminates in the coming of Jesus: his life, death, resurrection, ascension as king and ruler. The coming of Jesus as king marks a new day and a new reality. Although Israel fails, God uses them to bring Jesus, the king, into the world. When Jesus comes into the world it is the beginning of a new day, a time when good news is declared—that God is on the move to set the world to rights in a new way. Jesus does a number of amazing things to show and live this good news. He shows us what it is to have a deep and amazing relationship with the Father. In his life and teaching he shows us what it means to live as a child of God. He shows us what the world is supposed to be like and how we are to live. In this, he finally does what Adam and Eve failed to do and what Israel failed to do. Jesus is the culmination of the story. In his suffering, both in his life and then in his death on the cross, he takes on all the damage we have in our own lives and that we bring into the world. On the cross, he defeats the spiritual powers that have kept this world in captivity so things are not the way they are supposed to be. When Jesus takes on all the damage and defeats the spiritual powers, it means that nothing now stands in the way of his deep desire to make us his brothers and sisters. In his long planned new creation, nothing stands in the way of us and all things being transformed to the way they are supposed to be. His resurrection shows his victory and it begins God’s renewal of the world in earnest. His ascension tells us that he is now ruling over the world as king. This too is good news. Jesus is now about every rule, power and authority. God will have his way with the world and one day all things will be made right. The box in the picture reminds us this is the center point in history, the hinge point in which God is beginning to rule and reign as king in a new way. This is the reality we now live in, we can accept it or reject it, but it is reality.
Spreading the King’s Good NewsJesus establishes his new community where people are restored to God as his adopted children and are redeemed to heal the world. Jesus establishes a new community by sending the Spirit into the world to fill his people and empower them. In this community, people are restored to God as his adopted sons and daughters; they live in joyful, amazing relationship with him and share in the benefits of being His. They serve one another and gratefully respond to their adoption by being a people who bring God’s peace (shalom) to the world. He empowers us to be part of this by sending his Spirit into our lives. The Spirit transforms us, gives talents and strengths to us to work toward bringing peace (shalom) to the world. He calls us as a people, the church, to do this work. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith and practice. This is not a solitary journey.
The Return of the KingJesus will return one day and marvelously restore all things. The good news is that Jesus will return one day and on that day all will be restored. This return of Jesus is crucial. As we said earlier, we can imagine a world where things are the way they are supposed to be. The truth is that even with the first coming of Jesus there is still a lot of emptiness and brokenness in this world. The story doesn’t end with Jesus and his followers working to make things the way they are supposed to be. The story ends and then continues with Jesus returning and God making all things new. We will live in deep and wonderful relationship with God as his sons and daughters; we will see lives and the creation healed — on that day all will be made new. We will be with God from that time forward living and thriving in our calling to care for God's new creation in a world marvelously restored.
The Cross of ChristThe death of Jesus on the cross connects the entire story together. Without Jesus’ death on the cross that defeated the powers and his coming to life three days later in the resurrection, there would be no big story.
Becoming a Part of God's Big Story
Remember that God has begun a new thing in Jesus Christ, a new way or ruling and reigning in the world.
God is not about offering us a bit of good advice, nor is he about just getting us into heaven; he is calling us to become his adopted children in his kingdom who live his kingdom ways and bring healing to the world.
We are act 2, where people have rebelled; the world is twisted by evil and we allow the things that have power in our lives to destroy us.
But how do we become adopted by God as a son or daughter and so become a part of his kingdom and his community that is redeemed to heal?
The way we become adopted children of God is through Jesus Christ.
God calls us to rely on Christ Jesus as our personal Messiah, Savior, and Lord. He is both fully human (and so lives the perfect life we could not live) and fully God who gave his life as a ransom for many and for me - a ransom that means my sins are forgiven and I enjoy Christ and all his benefits.
I now have a fresh start with God as his child and enjoy peace with him right now. When we rely on Christ, he takes us in our brokenness and sin and forgives our sin; he makes us part of God’s family by making us adopted children, and empowers us by his Spirit to live our lives for him as part of his new community that is redeemed to heal.
All of this is by grace and leads to a life of gratitude where we live out the ways of God as Jesus did, with self giving love.
Do you want to become part of God’s new community as an adopted child of the king?
If you do, tell God about your desire. God will certainly accept you through Christ and make you a part of the Big Story.