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A WORD FOR TODAY, July 23, 2021
“You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me. Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life. I don’t receive glory from men. But I know you, that you don’t have God’s love in yourselves. I have come in my Father’s name, and you don’t receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, who receive glory from one another, and you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God?” John 5:39-44, WEB
Dr. Alvin Granowsky is a children's writer who has taken old stories and given them a new twist. The books are called “Another Point of View” stories. He gives his own rendition of stories such as “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and “Jack in the Beanstalk.” The original versions of these stories are seen from the point of view of the Bears and Jack. They make Goldilocks and the Giant out to be nasty and bad.
But every story has two sides. Dr. Granowsky has rewritten the stories from Goldilocks’ and the Giant’s points of view. We have heard the stories one way for so long that it is somewhat disturbing to hear the other perspective. When I used these books for a story time, one little girl commented, “I wonder which one is true?” Since these stories are just stories, not historical reporting of a real time event, it really does not matter. Yet, there are often times when the truth gets lost in the opinions and points of view of individuals. This is perhaps more true today than ever with mass and social media. The amount of misinformation is overwhelming. The hard part is knowing which reports are really true or false.
This is nothing new. By the time of Jesus, a proper understanding of God’s Word was lost in the confusion of human interpretation. It was hard to know what was true. God gave His people promises and laws to live by, but over the years they put their own point of view to the story. They interpreted the promises and laws to fit their own expectations. They guessed at what God meant when He spoke through the prophets. By the time Jesus appeared, they were so messed up with their understanding of God that they needed to see another point of view. Jesus turned their world upside down.
The children did not expect a book that told the story from another point of view. Goldilocks and the Giant have always been the bad guys in the stories. To hear that Little Bear and Jack were liars and thieves was shocking, because it goes against every understanding of the story. When the story is just a story, it really doesn’t matter, but when it comes to faith the truth is vital.
Unfortunately, the Jews were relying on their own interpretation of God’s Word and they were looking for the wrong sort of Messiah. They wanted a King, one who would defeat their enemy and rule them by the Law as they had come to know it. When Jesus came preaching the Gospel, the good news of the Kingdom of God, they were shocked and offended. Jesus didn’t even follow the Law according to their interpretation! Jesus came to turn their world upside down, to bring them to repentance and back into a proper relationship with God the Father. Everything the Jews believed pointed to Jesus Christ as Savior, Redeemer, and Messiah. Yet they did not believe. They knew God’s Word, every word of it as written in the scriptures. They knew it in their head, but they did not know it in their heart. When Jesus came, they did not recognize Him, because He did not fit their expectation.
Has Jesus turned your life upside down? Do you see another point of view when we hear the stories in the scriptures; do you hear the Good News of Jesus? Or do you still try to make God’s Laws fit your own expectations, just like the Jews? Do you believe Jesus?
Dr. Alvin Granowsky held a radical view of the events in those stories, and so did Jesus. Our Savior came in flesh so that we could see what God is really like, and then He died so that we could live with Him for eternity. The Jews wanted was a king, but when the King showed up on their doorstep, they did not recognize Him. But thanks to God and His wonderful grace, we do recognize our Lord because the Holy Spirit helps to turn us right-side up to see the truth. Jesus Christ shines the glory of God; He has revealed the truth to us, and through Him we will know God as He is, not as we want Him to be.
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