Sometimes I think I am a good Dad. I change diapers, I wash clothes, I fix bottles, I feed babies, I wrestle with my children, we play outside, I take them places, and they seem to like me when I come home from work.
Other times, I know I am a lousy Dad. I sit on the couch when my kids want to play, I look at the computer while they are trying to tell me something, I ignore them when they are crying, I leave diapers on for way to long, I don’t correct them every time I should, and teach them horrible habits. I know it isn’t ideal, but it is true.
The other night, my “good dad” switch must have been turned off, because I had to be instructed by Knox that it was time for bed. He told me that he wanted to go lay down and read the Bible. When I heard those words it wasn’t hard for me to come back to earth and do what he had asked me.
We lay down in his bed and began to read the story of Joseph. As I began to read, Knox stopped me and asked, “Where is Jesus?” Without even thinking, I answered that he was not born yet. I wasn’t fully prepared for the question, but Knox seemed somewhat satisfied with this answer and we continued to read the story.
As I began to think about his question later, it dawned on me that I had not answered him completely and accurately. The answer I gave was a right answer. It was true that Jesus was not born at the time of Joseph. He would not be born until much later. However, Jesus was there. He is on every page of Scripture. The entire Bible is about him. In the Old Testament we see Jesus Christ concealed, while in the New Testament Jesus Christ is revealed. In the Old Testament, God makes promises to his people and in the New Testament he keeps these promises through Christ. As Sally Lloyd-Jones writes in her Jesus Storybook Bible,
“It’s like an adventure story about a young Hero who came from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne, everything to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that have come true in real life.
You see, the best thing about this story is—it’s true.
It takes the whole Bible to tell this story. And at the center of the Story there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle—the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.”
In John chapter 8, Jesus tells the Jews that, “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” The then Jews replied to him and said, “You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus responds clearly when he says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” At this, the Jews picked up stones to stone him. (John 8:48-59). Jesus was not simply saying that he was older than Abraham. He didn’t respond with, “Before Abraham was, I was.” He clearly identifies himself with the great I AM. Jesus is the eternal word who was with God in the beginning (John 1:1). He is the image of the invisible God through whom and for whom all things were created (Colossians 1:15-16). In Christ all things hold together (Colossians 1:17). This is especially true of the Scripture. Christ holds all of the Scripture together. He is the centerpiece and the focus.
As Christians, we must read the Scripture with Christ in view. Otherwise, we could descend into a slippery slope of moralism. Whenever we sit down to read the Bible, we would do well to ask the question that my two-year old asked me, “Where is Jesus?”
Some helpful resources:
How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture by Michael Williams
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones