Have you ever noticed that there’s a pattern for the greatest and most popular stories – movies, books, television shows, games – of our time? Everything starts off great in the exposition… and then something (possibly everything) falls apart. Without that inciting incident, there would be no story. But the next part of the tale is important too. The part where characters make plans, go on adventures, or simply try to survive, all in an attempt to solve the problem which began in the opening section. Ultimately, the protagonist makes a grand sacrifice – or even dies – to do whatever it takes to fix the world.
If this pattern is broken, like in a recent, popular movie franchise (spoiler averted), we struggle to find closure and to process the implications of what we have just witnessed.
I have always been fascinated by interconnected stories. Some of my favorite books growing up were a set of three series that were woven together in such a way that it was like a puzzle to find all the points in which they met. And I think the popularity enjoyed by the aforementioned movie franchise is proof that I’m not alone in enjoying this blending of stories. We are mystified by the intricacies as characters that would not have otherwise interacted are pulled together by circumstances and plots, often as the world literally falls apart.
And maybe, just maybe, there’s a reason for this fascination.
The more I study the Bible, particularly the Old Testament stories and prophecies, the more connections and parallels I can see which relate directly to the life of Christ. If human storytellers can weave stories together with power and drama, God is the greatest storyteller – the Great Storyteller.
Everything is connected. From the stories of creation and moment when everything falls apart in Genesis to the climax in the Gospels to the resolution in the final chapters of Revelation, the Bible is a story of epic proportions. It follows the pattern of all the greatest stories of all time. Actually, it may be more accurate to say that it is the pattern for all the greatest stories.
And it is filled with connections. Even the sections which are not prophetic in nature point to Christ. As Joseph is thrown into a pit, betrayed by his own brothers, we can see Jesus, betrayed by his own and laid in a tomb. As Abraham is asked to sacrifice his own son only to have God provide a ram to serve in his place, we can see Jesus, serving as the ultimate sacrifice to stand in place of all of us. As Jonah sits within a fish for three days, we can see Jesus, dead in a tomb for three days. Jesus himself cites this as a sign, telling the Pharisees that they will be given the “sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matt. 12:39).
Even outside of the Bible, Jewish traditions point to the coming of Christ. Passover is probably the most obvious, as the blood of a lamb is used to protect the people from death. Even Hanukkah features the menorah, the central candle of which (called the Shamash, the servant candle) symbolizes the light of an undying flame which lights all others. Jesus – the light of the world – sound familiar?
And this is only the beginning. The connections are endless – I couldn’t begin to describe them all – and it’s even more fascinating because, unlike the stories that we create, these stories are real.
And God orchestrated it all.
And the best part is that the story isn’t over yet. Sure, we can read the end of the story in Revelation but the small details which are parts of our own lives are also part of the greater story.
And I can’t wait to see how everything connects.
I’ve been offered a longer term position at the Ranch! Starting in the fall, I’ll be teaching Learning RX, starting a fine arts program (Using my degree!!!!), and filling in for some other administrative-type things. I still don’t know a lot of details about how this is going to work out but I’ll be moving permanently (for the time being) to Tennessee to keep working with the kids here. I’m excited to see what the future holds here!
Grace and Peace,