Jesus and Stories

20 Apr 2019

How is it that nobody has articulated any moral advance since Jesus’ teaching? What is it about this remarkable teacher? And the fact that none greater has emerged or even looks like emerging? Not only is He the greatest teacher who ever lived, He is the source of all great teaching and all truth.

And his preferred mode of teaching was storytelling.

Take for example the following:

  • His story of the farmer, seeds and soils is not so much about how the farmer planted the seed as it is about how the soil received it. It’s about hearts – it seems only a few believe and produce fruit.
  • The point Jesus makes in the story of the Samaritan who helped his neighbour is not that the Samaritan was good, but that he was the outsider, the only one in the story who was not Jewish. Peoples of every ethnicity have key roles in God’s kingdom agenda.
  • When teaching about the lost people, Jesus tells a story about two lost boys; one is lost outside the house and one is lost closer to home. No matter where people are, they can experience the love of the ever-searching Father.
  • Or take another story: Jesus says a woman loses a valuable coin somewhere in her house and, when she finds it, she calls all her friends together to celebrate the good news. She sets about a strategy to find something of enormous value to her. And thoughtful followers of Jesus, knowing precious people are lost without Christ, do likewise.
  • Stories about mustard seed and yeast resonate with people working in their homes. Stories about wheat and weeds testify to agriculturalists about the danger of living without discernment and care. Stories about fish and fishing nets remind audiences that there is an urgency connected to God’s work in the world – things will not always be as they are today.

Simple. Powerful. Genius.

In the four gospels there are 16 major stories for which Jesus is most remembered; 67 analogies where he does quick comparisons of his truths to ordinary things; and in John’s account there are another 16 metaphors where Jesus refers to himself as bread, light, water and the Good Shepherd.

Stories Connect.

They make big ideas relatable. Stories present lofty ideas and tremendous truths in ways that illuminate the mind, challenge the heart, and inspire a response. Heavenly principles have earthly use.

What’s your story? What is being written about your life, your character, your part in God’s plan to connect others to the world’s greatest storyteller? Believe me, your story of faith in Christ, as modest as it may sound to you, has the power to change a life, a community, a people.

– Simon Longden, Director of Pioneers Australia.

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