There’s this huge narrative that believing adults spend a lifetime reading through, memorizing, and changing as a result of. It’s unlike all other literary works in that it’s Author has actually written life itself. Breathing creation, raising dead men, parting seas…using whatever He determined necessary to bring His “Secret Rescue Plan” to fruition.
For the glory of God.
For the redemption of His people.
It’s truth is life-giving to the dead, and it’s realities go against what the world teaches. Man and his glorification are not the chief ends in this book. God is. And in the holy scriptures, it’s regenerated audience finds soul-enjoyment. The pursuit of God for his name’s renown is beautifully entangled with a simultaneous pursuit of saving sinners and loving them with an unquenchable, unearned, never-ceasing, contagious, Son-centered love.
And with that, I introduce and recommend The Jesus Storybook Bible. We have now read it cover-to-cover several times over, and it is phenomenal. The author, Sally Lloyd Jones, expresses God’s redemptive plan as the “Secret Rescue Plan.” From the Old to the New Testament, she is pointing to Christ. The technique and style are genius, tugging at the minds of both children and parents alike.
The fall of man is about Jesus. Noah and the ark are about Jesus. David and Goliath are about Jesus. Namaan and the slave girl are about Jesus. And the list goes on. It teaches children that the bible is not actually just about them but about God Himself.
Jones desires for children to see the following through her book:
“That the Bible isn’t mainly about me, and what I should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.
That the Bible is most of all a story — the story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.
That — in spite of everything, no matter what, whatever it cost him — God won’t ever stop loving his children… with a wonderful, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.
That the Bible, in short, is a Story — not a Rule Book — and there is only one Hero in the Story.”
(Read her article from Desiring God in its entirety here.)
Yes, God loves sinners and has set up this redemptive plan so that he could set his affection on us through the work and power of Christ crucified; however, misleading a child to assume the bible is merely a feel-good book of truth when one is down is detrimental to their souls.
This is a truth-filled work for little ones & nourishment to parents.
My heart was so moved by Jones’ rendition of Namaan and the slave girl from 2 Kings 5.
Here we see Namaan, a general with much room for boasting considering Syria’s victory (verse 1), and he is literally dying. Physically and spiritually. God chooses to move in the heart of his slave girl (Jones does well to expound upon the girl’s loss, yet she seeks Namaan’s betterment) to direct Namaan to Elisha. So what does Namaan do with this proposal? He brings with him a payment for healing. He approaches the king of Israel rather than Elisha himself. Summoned by the prophet after approaching the king proved unsuccessful, Namaan is then sent word by Elisha’s messenger to “go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean” (5:10). Wow, simple- right? No! Not at all to Namaan. He was furious! Stripped of the honor he assumed was due him, Namaan was told to bath in a dirty ole’ river many times over for his cure. Not quite the royal fix he was imagining. God then uses his servants to bring him back down to reality. Has God not provided an escape from the pain? Namaan then went and washed as advised “and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (5:14b).
There we are…leprosy covering our hearts. Increased pain as each day passes. There’s no way out. We are intrinsically sick. We hear of hope, yet we bring our rags as an attempt for payment for grace.
We are Namaans.
God has displayed grace for us through His Servant – Jesus Christ.
“But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” – Romans 5:15-17)
What the blood of Christ has purchased for us is the eternal cure from our leprosy of heart. No longer is death reigning, but righteousness in and through Christ.
Mulling over this has set my heart ablaze with the reality of what God has accomplished for us in the gospel. If we cannot grasp how sick (outright dead) we are, how ability to cure ourselves is non-existent, then the finished work of Christ is just something we can reach for/attempt to work for ourselves rather than the gift of grace that it truly is. That is no gospel at all! There’s no reaching. We are dead. God swoops in and removed a heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh. He puts His Spirit within us, and completely cleanses us from all unrighteousness through Jesus. This is gloriously God-wrought. And I am gloriously transformed by the word of God through the Jesus Storybook Bible. God has used a morning bible reading with my children to show God’s saving grace and love to our family. My prayer is that such truth would steep in the hearts of our babies and God would do what we are forever unable to do for them – save.
And a bit more solidification to read the JSB:
“I would urge not just families with young children to get this book, but every Christian–from pew warmers, to ministry leaders, seminarians and even theologians! Sally Lloyd-Jones has captured the heart of what it means to find Christ in all the scriptures, and has made clear even to little children that all God’s revelation has been about Jesus from the beginning–a truth not all that commonly recognized even among the very learned.” – Tim Keller per TGC