When I became a Christian I immediately started reading the Bible…or maybe I became a Christian immediately after I started reading the Bible…I’m not sure which came first. Anyway, I was very ignorant and a number of the questions I remember asking back then remind me how little I knew.
Fortunately, the Word is tremendously powerful and I still took a lot away from what I read and it changed my life. Those early days (I’m writing like I’ve been a Christian for decades) were exciting. I still love reading and studying the Word – in many ways even more than I did back then – (you can read about it in a recent blog I wrote entitled “Overwhelmed”) but I’ll never be able to read Genesis or Matthew again for the first time if that makes sense. I still love listening to sermons, and reading and studying, but I’ll never be able to hear a sermon on the Prodigal Son again for the first time. I knew the story, but hearing that the father in the story was supposed to be our Heavenly Father, and his love for his son pictured the love our Heavenly Father has for us – not when we’re obedient, but when we’re rebelling – was a special, unique time in my life. I could write weeks of bulletin letters just recounting amazing passages I read and sermons I heard in that season. Some of the sermons I’ve even gone back and listened to years later just to try to capture the feeling I had at the time. I think when Jesus mentioned leaving our first love (Rev 2:4) He’s encouraging us to keep the passion in our relationships with Him that characterized our lives soon after conversion. Obviously it’s reminiscent of our relationships with our spouses and how we want to make sure that love is there years and decades later.
I mentioned all this for one reason: there were three passages of Scripture I vividly remember thinking, “I can’t believe everyone doesn’t know this”: the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 to 7, the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37 looking forward to Israel becoming a nation again, and finally – and probably even most dramatically – there was Daniel’s Seventy Weeks. It used to depress me (and still does) that there are Christians unfamiliar with this amazing prophecy. BUT GUESS WHAT? After these next two Sundays we’re not going to have any Christians like that at WCC!