I love stories! I love reading books, watching movies, experiencing performances, and listening to others share. But today, I want to walk you through something I like to do with the stories of the Bible–I put myself in the middle of the action. When I do this, I’m looking for three things:
What does this story teach me about me?
What does this story teach me about God?
What does this story teach me about the world?
I like to read through the story once so I can get a feel for the lay of the land.
Then I read it again imagining the perspective of one of the characters.
And I repeat this again until I’ve seen it from all the different characters of the story.
Have you ever done this before?
I’m so excited to try this with you today! We’re going to take a look at one of my favorite stories of the Bible: the woman with the issue of blood.
First, read the story: Luke 8:43-48.
What do you think of the story?
How did it make you feel?
What questions do you have?
Do you empathize with anyone in particular?
Next, read the story from one character’s perspective.
I would choose the sick woman.
How do you think she felt in the story?
What do you think drove her to do what she did? And would you have done the same if you were in her shoes?
What does her story tell us about the character of God? About human nature?
What do you think she did after this encounter with Jesus?
Now, pick another character’s perspective.
I would pick Jesus.
How do you think Jesus felt in the story?
Why do you think Jesus did what he did? Would you have done the same?
What does Jesus’s reaction teach you about who God is?
Do you think Jesus feels the same way for you as he did for this woman? Why or why not?
Let’s choose another character.
I would pick Peter.
How do you think Peter felt in the story?
Why do you think Peter responded the way he did? Would you have done the same?
What does Peter’s response teach us about the world? About ourselves?
What do you think Peter did after she left?
I can think of another important character.
How do you think the crowd felt in the story?
How would you have responded if you had been in the crowd?
What do you think the crowd did after this encounter?
That’s a wrap!
This is a much slower way of reading the Bible than many of us are used to but, whenever I sit down and pour over a passage like this, I always walk away with new insights and a fresh take on the events. When I am able to imagine the crowd pressing against me, my hand trembling and voice squeaking as I fess up to touching Jesus, and the release when I hear him kindly say “Daughter”, I better understand all that Jesus has done for me.
The Bible is more than just a story–it’s my story too. I am that woman with the issue of blood in desperate need of healing, Peter the know-it-all, and the crowd who followed fickly.
I encourage you to do this with one of your favorite Bible stories this week and see what you uncover!