Long road trips in 1973 were very different from their contemporary counterparts. We had no DVDs, no mini-vans, no cup-holders, no electronic devices and no headphones. My sisters an I would sit together in the back seat of our Galaxy 500, with its 2-60 AC (two open windows at 60 mph) and rough textured upholstery. My father was impervious to the childhood lament, “we’re bored.” It was up to us to come up with games to pass the time. My dad drove very slowly and we absolutely never stopped unless it was a bona-fide health emergency. We worked our way through the alphabet on road signs, searching diligently for that elusive word that began with ‘X.’ We counted Volkswagen Beetles. And, our course, we played “I Spy.”
Today, “I Spy” has evolved into a series of elaborate picture books in which the items to be found are displayed in plain sight in a photograph littered with thematic clutter to distract and disguise the visual scavenger hunt. One item always proved most elusive. Once found, it seemed remarkable that it was so difficult to spot. There it was, right on the page, not hidden or obscured, just surrounded by a thousand curious and compelling distractions.
The Bible can often feel that way for some. Filled with names and dates and historical context, foreign to our education and experience, and with cultural practices so different from our own, we are often derailed by a thousand curious and compelling distractions, so that we don’t see what is there in plain sight. Even the religious leaders of Jesus’ day viewed the Bible as a mere system of morals, of individual do’s and don’ts, such that they missed the picture because all they saw was brushstrokes. Jesus rebuked them saying, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” (John 5:39)
The Bible reveals God’s nature and His promises. It shows us our brokenness because of sin and the means of healing and wholeness through faith in Christ. From beginning to end, the Bible bears witness about Jesus – his nature, our need of him, his finished work, his sufficiency. Yet sometimes we can’t see the picture for the brushstrokes. This is especially true sometimes in the narratives of the Old Testament. An ancient pastor, Augustine of Hippo, once wrote “the new [testament] is in the old concealed; the old [testament] is in the new revealed.” This is so poignantly pictured in the story of Joseph as he comes to power and provides food for the people during the years of famine. Joseph, the Jew, rejected by his own and condemned by the state, by God’s miraculous providence, becomes a temporal savior of the world. When the hungry come to Pharaoh for provision he sends them to Joseph as the only way to find life-giving provision. The picture of Joseph feeding the victims of famine is a picture of the greater Joseph, Jesus, who as the bread of heaven feeds men’s hungry souls and gives life.
Join us this Lord’s Day, May 6, as we examine the continuing story of Joseph feeding the people during a severe famine and consider how this story points to a greater Joseph, the Lord Jesus, who gives life to hungry souls. We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock. Click here for directions.
Come with a friend you and join us for fellowship and conversation. We look forward to seeing you there.