When I was younger I didn’t get a lot out of Bible stories…I think this reason for this was that they were presented as “Bible stories” and not as nuanced accounts of actual situations. From personal experience I have found that in order for a reader to dive into stories they require shading of character and subtleties between speakers, the characteristics of a work seen as relatable art! As I have matured in my faith and grown in years it has been amazing to see how much beauty, depth and insight can be found in the pages of His Word. It became apparent to me that it wasn’t impossible to ask for revelation and build off of stories from the pages of the Bible. Why not?
During your devotions I encourage you to go a mile deeper with His Word and experience it for the enrapturing tales found between the pages.
Here’s how to go it:
a) Ask the Lord for a passage of Scripture to read or find one that has been on your heart.
c) Ask God to help you see, taste and feel what it was like to be Jesus, standing on the shores of Galilee looking out at the crashing wave or King David overlooking the city of Jerusalem from his magnificent palace then read the verse again.
d) Write what comes to mind after you’ve read the passage. Aka: list characteristics of those you have read about, no matter how ridiculous those characteristics may seem. For example: Solomon had red hair and a long nose… doing this will help bring the Word alive to you. It will help you feel as though you are there! I promise.
Here’s an example of what I’ve done with the baptism excerpt from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It was tonnes of fun!
Yehoshua Ben Yossef’s journey to the Jordan River had taken him no more than two days, the average for a grown man with no accompanying relatives. Although quite eager to reach his destination he had halted his journey to stand atop a small hill and look down unto the river where his cousin, John, was baptizing his followers. Despite the distance, he could hear John’s characteristically loud voice declaring the wisdom of their choices and the brevity of time that would pass before the Kingdom of Heaven would be fulfilled. As Yehoshua listened, his dark face broke into a wide grin. John was, without a doubt, the most passionate man he had ever met. Even as a boy he was filled with zest for his mission and for the people he would one day lead. To this day, John chose to do everything wholeheartedly. This is exactly what Yehoshua’s Father had designed and destined. John was following the call on his life and the Father was pleased.
Yehoshua took a large drink of water then pulled down on his thin head covering. The distance towards a pinnacle step in his mission was not that much farther but the sun beating down on him was scorching. He glanced at the gushing river once more before beginning his descent from the withering dessert into lush vegetation. His camel hide sandals caused a crunching sound as they landed on top of an unsuspecting locust. Contrary to his excitable attitude as a boy towards that kind of incident he paid no mind and continued to walk the slow decline of the dusty road.
It took about ten minutes for Yehoshua to reach the rocky beach on which at least a hundred people stood, looking out at the water; watching and listening to John speak. Yehoshua stepped over stone after hot stone until he stood but a few yards away from the Baptizer. He watched as his cousin’s eyes met with his own and widened. A guttural cry rose from the Baptizer’s throat.
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Yehoshua did not stop walking but slowed his pace. Many of the people turned to watch him then allowed their gaze to flicker back to John, the man whose strong arms were now thrown into the air, his jaw slacked in awe. Some kept their eyes trained on John, too frightened to look at the approaching spectacle. The Baptizer started walking towards the shore, almost stumbling over something in the water as he did. He straightened himself and began to address to the large crowd.
“This is he of which I said, ‘after me ranks a man who is before me, because he was before me.’ I did not know him but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
The crowd parted as Yehoshua walked through. Relief flooded him as his feet touched the cool water. Horror glazed John’s eyes.
“Who am I to baptize you? I am not worthy.” Yehoshua lifted his eyes towards John’s and spoke gently but firmly.
“Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” John lowered his head in consent then waded with his cousin into deeper water. The stream coursed around them, shimmering and sparkling in the sun. Yehoshua drank in the beauty, closed his eyes and began thanking his Heavenly Father. John listened for a moment, smiled, then slipped his arm behind Yehoshua’s back. With one quick motion he dipped Yehoshua the Son of God into the swirling stream. As Yehoshua emerged his lips continued moving. The crowd watched him and gasped. A large portion of the blue heavens split, revealing streams of ethereal light. Upon those beams rode a bright light that overshadowed the rest with its brilliance. As it approached members of the crowd could see that, by an act of Elohim, that light had been compounded into a feathered, white creature. The delicate dove settled gracefully onto Yehoshua’s shoulder. As it did so a loud voice from heaven boomed magnificently, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Many of those who were watching fell to their knees. Others stood with their mouths agape. Small children stared up into the sky, pointing and whispering to one another.
“The Son of God? The Messiah?”
“Look! Look! The gap remains! The light remains!”
John and Yehoshua stood side-by-side and stared into the sky. They watched as the blue canvas sealed into place once more and the brilliance faded and the small bird with it. Despite the change in aesthetics, a glowing warmth remained within the hearts of the two men. After they embraced, Yehoshua thanked John. John pulled back, desperate to say something that could express his own gratitude. Lost for words he grabbed his cousin’s shoulders, as he would do when they were boys. He tried searching Yehoshua’s eyes for words but none came. John dropped his hands and shook his head in disbelief. Yehoshua smiled and turned back to the shore from where he had come. John stared out at Yehoshua for a moment then back at the sky, enamoured by the glory he had just experienced. A reverent prayer slipped from his lips.
“Thank you Elohim, God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.” For minutes John, son of Zechariah, didn’t care to count, John would do nothing but stare into the brilliant sky, exceedingly thankful that he would not be the last to have such an encounter with the Light of the world, the Living God.
Thank you for reading ❤
All yours, KP