This week in our series, Looking for Jesus: Learning to Read the Bible and the World Through New Eyes, we’re answering the question: What does the Bible do? And our theme is children. These two things actually go together so well, that I’m just going to combine them for today’s sermon rather than taking them sequentially.
The Bible is a Fairy Tale that Creates Children
The Bible opens like a fairy tale, and it closes like a fairy tale. It opens in a perfect, beautiful garden, and it closes in a glorious, towering garden city coming down out of the clouds of heaven. And it’s filled with childish stories. There are talking snakes and talking donkeys. There are old women giving birth to babies. There are old men with sticks that command the forces of nature in the name of the God. Sometimes people walk on water, and sometimes the waters part making a path through the water. Bread comes down out of heaven, water gushes out of rocks, cities fall down when the people march around them shouting and blowing trumpets, men walk in a fiery furnace unharmed. There are giants and dragons and (depending on your translation) unicorns and satyrs. Burning bushes, rainbows, evil spirits, miraculous battles, sometimes the sun stands still, sometimes men pray and it stops raining for three years, and they pray again and the rain comes. One man apparently vanished into thin air because he walked with God, another man was taken up in a fiery chariot, and another man appeared and disappeared and reappeared in various places by the power of the Spirit. Many talked with heavenly beings whose appearance made you want to die with fear. Many people have spoken with angels, seen glimpses of God, and visions of the glories of heaven and the angelic armies. Bread and fish multiply, the dead are raised, men speak in unknown tongues, the lame walk, the blind see, arrogant kings judged, slain, eaten by worms, and the hero is a child born of a virgin, betrayed, rejected, and murdered like a worthless criminal.
This is no reasonable book. This is no book for serious, color inside the lines, paper-clip counters. This is the kind of book to make serious scholars mad. This is the kind of book to make certain kinds of scientists throw it down in disgust. This book is a fairy tale, and it is full of fairy tales. It’s a book of childish stories, beginning in a garden with two innocent, perfect children who break the rules and bring a spell of darkness on the earth. And the story climaxes after many twists and turns with the birth of another child who obeys the rules and breaks the spell that was cast over the earth, and brings light back into the world. The hero-child goes down into the cave of death, slays the dragon, rescues the harlot, making her his virgin bride, and finds the way out again alive. And the story closes imagining the whole world as a cosmic fairy tale, a Marvel Comics meets Beowulf, an apocalyptic vision of the reign of the Child King who is also a Lamb who is also a Lion who goes into battle, slaying the dragon and all his accomplices with the sword that comes out of His mouth while rescuing His Bride through the flames, through the sword, through great peril and bringing her at last to the great Wedding Day, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Continue Reading…