Introduction to the Story of God

Day One in Around the Bible in Eighty Days

Texts: Romans 16:25-27; Luke 24:44-49

The message is called gospel (good news) and the announcement (heralding) of Jesus the Messiah. Like an imperial proclamation of good news for the Empire, God announces good news for both Israel and the nations. Before this revelation of the work of God in Jesus by the Spirit, it was a mystery. This does not mean mysterious but unknown. Now, however, it has been revealed–it is now known.

This revelation comes through the appearance of Jesus the Messiah. At the same time, it is also made know through an exposition of the prophetic Scriptures. The prophets anticipated this moment, and we read the Scriptures in order to understand the outworking of this mystery in Christ.

God’s eternal purpose is to generate an obedient faith among the Gentiles. Paul heralds this good news about Jesus for the sake of bringing the salvation of God revealed to Israel to the ends of the earth and strengthening the faith of the disciples of Jesus. For this work, among many other things, God is worthy of praise.

The commission at the end of the Gospel of Luke affirms that the Scriptures—the Torah, the prophets, and the Psalms—tell this story, and we ought to search those texts for an understanding of how what was revealed there came to its fullness in the life, ministry, death, resurrection, and enthronement of Jesus of Nazareth. We listen to the story of Scripture to hear a word about God’s Messiah and the salvation God’s servant brings.

This salvation begins with the proclamation of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and in the name of Jesus, it produces repentance and the forgiveness of sins for all nations. The story of Israel is not confined to the Scriptures of Israel but continues in the work of heralding the coming of the Messiah and God’s salvation. That work continues in a community, first gathered at Jerusalem, scattered among the nations empowered by the coming of the Holy Spirit. The story continues through the witness of the church.

When we read Scripture, we are looking for that story. It is the main plot in Scripture. While we may become interested and even distracted by many particulars in the story, the main thrust of the story is the revelation of God’s mighty acts of redemption and salvation, which are first present in Israel, then fulfilled in Christ, and proclaimed by the church.

It is a drama on the world stage. It began in creation, was entrusted to Israel, climaxed in Jesus, is embodied by the church, and will be restored in new creation. These are the five acts of the drama: Creation, Israel, Christ, Church, and New Creation. I call it a theodrama because the main plot is the work of God, that is, what God is doing for the sake of the creation. God creates. God choses Israel. God becomes human in Jesus. God dwells in the church. God renews creation as a new heaven and new earth.

That is the story Around the Bible in 80 Days seeks to unfold. But the goal is not only for information but for formation into the image of God and participation in the mission of God.

Day One is the first step in the journey.

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