I heard a news story that caught my attention yesterday.
In the aftermath of the horrific tornadoes that ripped through the southern part of our country on Sunday, one reporter was filing a story from Mayflower, Arkansas.
He stood in front of a church that had been destroyed. All that was left of the church was one wall, which had been the front of the sanctuary.
The reporter declared that a Sunday night Bible study at the church had ended at 7:00. By 7:30, the tornado struck and in a matter of seconds, that church was no more. Thankfully, he told us, the church was empty at the time.
I thought about that story long afterward.
As those people met to study the Bible, how many of them honestly considered that they could be meeting the Author Himself in less than half an hour?
The term “Bible study” is so incredibly bland.
Invite an unbeliever to a Bible study and I imagine that they would rank such a thing right up there with taking the SATs or visiting the dentist. It sounds so boring and unappetizing, does it not?
When I read the following description of Jesus, the truth of who He is takes my breath away:
He is the exact likeness of the unseen God…it was in Him that all things were created in heaven and on earth…all things were created in Him and for Him…He Himself existed before all things and in Him, all things are held together…
In the beginning, before all time was the Word (Christ)…all things were made and came into existence through Him…in Him was LIFE…and the Word (Christ) became human and lived awhile among us, full of grace and truth.
For out of all His fullness (abundance) we have all received one grace after another, spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, and gift heaped upon gift.
He was a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief…He was despised and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him. Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows and pains…He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and by the stripes that wounded Him, we are healed and made whole…we had all wandered away like sheep. We had gone our own way. And yet the Lord put all our guilt on Jesus.
Those who saw the living, resurrected Jesus described Him as follows:
*His eyes flash like a flame of fire
*His voice is like the roar of rushing waters
*He was sitting on a throne made of beautiful blue sapphire stones.
*From His waist up He seemed to be dazzling like fire and from His waist down He seemed to be entirely flame
*There was a glowing halo like a rainbow all around Him
“I am the First and the Last. I am the Ever-living One. I died but see, I am alive forevermore.”
THIS is the One who we get to know when we open the pages of the Bible!
We don’t study the Bible like we study for an exam, to learn a bunch of dry facts.
We read the story..HIS Story..within its pages so we can have the immense privilege of getting to know this Glorious One who authors all of our stories and offers us the beauty of redemption!!!
He is our Rescuer who saves us from death.
He is the Restorer who gives us beauty for ashes.
He is the Healer, who makes us whole.
He is the Hope in the midst of the mess.
He is Peace in the turmoil.
He is your Creator, who knew you before He made the world.
He is the blazing Light that forever shatters our darkness.
He is the Author of our faith that moves mountains and slays giants.
He is our Courage in the face of heart-melting fear.
He is the Savior of the world.
He is the perfect Judge and He will execute divine vengeance one day on all those whose sins are not covered by the blood of His perfect sacrifice on the cross.
He is the Singer who joyfully sings over His own.
He is our Joy that surpasses and triumphs over the very worst this fallen world can dish out.
He is the ultimate and perfect Lover of our souls.
He IS LIFE itself.
So, my question is, do we believe this?
When we open the pages of our Bibles either at home or in a formal Bible study, do we approach the treasure inside those pages with expectancy and excitement because we are getting ready to hear from Jesus Himself???
Do we realize how tenuous our life is, how truly fragile we are? None of us are promised tomorrow, not even the next minute. Eternity is just a breath away and then we will all see Jesus: either as Savior or as Judge.
When those dear ones in that church in Mayflower, Arkansas gathered for that Bible study Sunday night, what if that tornado had struck at 7:00 and carried them into eternity? Would they have been prepared to see the face of the One they were reading about just moments earlier?
Are you simply collecting facts? Checking off a “quiet time” box? Treating the Bible as if it were any other book rather than the living Word of the living God?
Rather than inviting someone to a Bible study, why not follow the example of the disgraced woman at the well? (John 4:1-42)
Jesus met her right where she was: married four times and living with a fifth man, ostracized by the people in her community, and living daily with a sense of suffocating shame and broken dreams.
Jesus was not repulsed by her sin, nor did He sidestep it. It grieved Him to see her selling herself short. He loved her. He honored her and treated her with dignity. He revealed Himself to be the awaited Messiah and then He offered her forgiveness and freedom.
She took it. And joy and life rushed in and overflowed a heart that was at one time bruised and sad and battered and dead.
She then left us all a wonderful example to follow. She ran from the well into town and gleefully said, “Come see a Man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out! Could this be the Messiah?” So the people left the town and set out to go to Him. (John 4: 29-30).
Think of the lost who populate your world.
Rather than inviting them to a Bible study, invite them to come see a Man in the pages of Scripture. Let Him speak to you and reveal who He truly is. And be forever changed.