Sunday, December 9, 2012

Advent Reflections on the Ultimate Story (Part 2)

(Part 1)

“Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

2. The Gospel, the Most Multifaceted Story

Critics also fail to remember the way prophecy works when they are critiquing Isaiah 7:14. Prophets tend to see the future with a deep focus. They can’t always tell when the things they see will occur in relation to each other. Things years and centuries apart may appear to be a part of the same picture.

Another way of looking at this concept is story related. A choice or an action may have multiple impacts on multiple plot lines. In real life, God tells very sophisticated stories. As we become more “sophisticated” in our culture, we do so too.

Take a look at television from a few decades ago. Most shows told simple stories with one or at most two very closely related plots and, outside of soap operas (that can hardly be accused of having any plot) they didn’t carry many stories from one episode to another. Even then the multi-part shows that did would have tremendously long and detailed “recap” intros. We simply didn’t trust audiences to grasp or follow complex stories. Today things have changed tremendously. TV series will have long, complex multi-plot mythoi. People want to make the connections and enjoy seeing stories intertwine. It is more like the stories we piece together in real life. God’s stories.

God tells the most complex of stories. Many go unnoticed by more than just a few people. You have to be watching for them to see that they have happened. When you do, you usually share them with excitement. Here in Isaiah 7:14, God has two storylines going at once: the Judah under duress story; and the overarching Gospel narrative where He is making salvation available to all of creation.

The Gospel is the most complex of stories, because—beyond the main plot points summarized in part one—it involves the personal stories of every single individual that has encountered God and received His grace. It involves the stories of everyone who has told the story and spread its impact.

Part 3

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