Summary: Why is so much of God’s word narrative? Why did God chose story to instruct us and call us to Christ? There is power in a story. God’s story has the power to save us.
As we study through the gospel of Luke, or any of the gospels for that matter, we find God’s word communicating with us on a different level than direct instructions. God has chosen to use a wide range of literary genre as he inspired his Word to us. The gospels are more than historical stories about Jesus. Of course they are historical, but more than that, they are also designed to inspire faith, define discipleship, confirm accuracy, and reveal mystery. The gospels instruct us and inform us as they tell us the story of Jesus.
Stories can be very powerful. The book Uncle Tom’s Cabin told a story that some say started a civil war. When Movies were first invented they were called moving pictures. Soon after theatres began to open and moving picture shows began to gain popularity, many Christian leaders recognized the power of these to impact culture and the morals of society. They moved to enact censorship and set guidelines for what could and could not be publicly shown. They believed that viewing movies could powerfully shape culture and influence society because many realized the powerful potential of a story. Thus several rules were set up to protect the public from this danger. These guidelines stood for many years. Cursing, nudity, graphic violence, indecent behaviors and other “dangerous influential matters” were guarded against in the movies and later TV shows that were censored.
In 1936 the movie Gone with the Wind came out, it was widely criticized as immoral and indecent largely due to Clark Gable’s last word to Scarlett. On January 6, 1957, when Elvis Presley was on the Ed Sullivan Show, his gyrations were not allowed to be seen on TV because they were considered indecent. On the early I Love Lucy show, Ricky and Lucy Recardo were married but were not allowed to be viewed as sleeping in the same bed on TV.
The 60’s came and brought free love and freedom of expression and in the midst of the confusion, many cultural, moral and decency boundaries were pushed back or completely destroyed. The entertainment industry moved to push the limits of censorship further and further into moral decadence and indecency. Think about this. Today’s teenagers were born and raised in an entertainment culture where the decency bar is so low they can’t imagine the standards many of us grew up in. My question is this: What will the next generation face?
Does anyone here honestly believe that the media and entertainment industry has not impacted our culture and society? Are they not shaping our values and social patterns? Divorce, abortion, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, corruption, filthy language and plain indecency are normal. And how has this happened? Part of it is through communicating the ungodly message within stories! What power is there in a story?
When God started the church with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles in Acts 2, what was it God used to convict and convert the multitudes? There were miracles, and they drew the crowds, but they didn’t convict and convert anyone. What happened that began to cut the hearts of the people and compel them to cry out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” I’ll tell you. It was the story of Jesus, preached by Peter. The miracles got their attention, but it was the preaching of Jesus that cut their hearts with conviction. It was the story of the cross the tomb and the resurrection that caused them to come to their senses. It was the direct accusation of their sins in crucifying the Christ that converted them. God knows that a well told lie couched in a story will do more damage than directly telling someone to sin. God also knows that well told truth in a story has the power to save our souls. That’s why Paul told the Romans, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe, but the Jew first and also the Greek.” Romans 1:16.