I love to tell stories and one of my friends let me know that he thought this was one of my special gifts. For some reason, I seem to have a story for almost any occasion and I think I could tell a story on almost any subject that someone may mention. In the beginning, as a kid, I could easily recall phone numbers and dates – I think this is when my ability to remember things started! As I have aged, I still can recall thousands of events in my past and I have made a habit of teaching our children and grandchildren stories from our family in the hopes that these memories will go on for generations.
In fact, with more than 1550 posts that I have now written, Transitions by The Book has become something of a repository for the many subjects and events that I have been able to recall and teach as a part of this ministry. Because God uses our everyday lives to reinforce His love for us and as a way to get through to us. That has been one of my goals since the beginning – to show God in our daily lives and to live expecting God’s guidance and interaction with us throughout eternity.
As I learned in seminary, and has since been reinforced by years of teaching and, to some degree, preaching, stories are the easiest way to connect with people. And when the story can be woven to highlight a promise of God or a God-centered truth, people can identify with things in their own lives. I have found this way of reaching others to be most effective throughout the years. Stories also help differentiate us from one another. Usually, we can identify with someone else’s story and apply it in our own lives, while understanding that each of us has travelled a different path to get to where we are.
Jesus was the greatest storyteller who ever lived. He used parables, or stories, to teach His disciples and anyone who is familiar with the Bible knows how effective they were – and continue to be. We all can still learn lessons from the parables of Jesus. The Good Samaritan is the story of loving one another, even when that may be difficult to do. The stories of healing have to do with trusting God and having faith. No matter what story we hear, the Holy Spirit helps us, as believers, to understand the message that Jesus was trying to convey to His audience – and to us…
But what was the central message that Jesus was trying to teach us? Many of us would say that Jesus was trying to make sure that we understood that we can be saved and enjoy eternity with Him in heaven. Others may have the idea that we are to love one another. And still others may focus on the various aspects of prayer and connecting with the Father. Of course, we all know that Jesus came to do the will of His Father and subordinated his own desires to accomplish the goals of God the Father. And while all of the lessons that Jesus taught are important to us, one rises above the others.
In truth, Jesus came for one primary reason and the good doctor, Luke, recounts the reason for the mission of Jesus in his Gospel. As our verse tonight, we are told, in Luke 4:42-44, “At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.”
So that’s why Jesus came – to preach about the Kingdom of God and that it was imminent. If you remember, John the Baptist also preached this message, as he announced the coming of Jesus. And in another Gospel, the one written by Mark, we are also told about the Kingdom of God. In Mark 1:14-15, we read, “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
My encouragement tonight is that Jesus used stories to teach us that the Kingdom of God was at hand. That means that we don’t have to enter heaven to start our eternal lives – as believers, we have already started that eternal journey. The Kingdom of God is among us, here on earth. My prayer is that we will all tell stories as a means of sharing our faith and as an encouragement to others. As my friends know, there is no greater introduction than to say, “That reminds me of a story”… Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…