So at what point does the old, old story of Jesus become too old and worn to matter?
I have sung that old Gospel song I Love to Tell the Story for most of my life. It has been a part of the fabric of my understanding for about as long as I have had any (no wisecracks at this point, please). But let’s examine this question. How long should we keep on telling this old story? Is it time for something new? Something better?
In order to really think this question through we will have to look at the story then and the story now. Let’s start with the story then. The Bible clearly defines it for us. God sent His Son into this world – the Creator became a part of His creation. That is an amazing thought in itself. Jesus created this universe with a word of His power (John 1:3) and then He became the living, tangible expression of God’s identity and image and being as the Logos (logos), the eternal Word become flesh (John 1:14). So there is in this old story this element – the eternal. What is the expiration date on eternal? Hmm. There isn’t one?
Then let’s think about the time in which Jesus was born. God’s Word says “when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman…” (Galatians 4:4). When the time was right God sent Jesus. The original word here has the idea of time becoming full just as when we are pouring a glass of water until suddenly the glass is full and brimming and threatening to spill over.
That is the moment Jesus stepped into time and into this world. The very moment when He was most needed. The timing was perfect.
The element that made Jesus birth and life and His death on a cross for our sins so essential is the vast need of an entire race of people. The Old Testament records the unwelcome news that every person who crossed its pages was a sinner. David, Moses, Abraham, Rahab, Sarah, and Ruth – all were sinners in need of forgiveness. God also made it clear from the Garden of Eden onward that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.
This is the entire reason for the sacrifices of lambs and goats and bulls – the life of the innocent to cover the sin of the guilty. Over and over again they came to make atonement for their sin with the blood of a substitute. Yet while this temporarily covered their problem it did not settle the issue. It could not. The blood of bulls and goats can never take away sins (Hebrews 10:4).
So that was then. What about now? What has changed?
The human race hasn’t changed. We are all sinners and we all need someone to save us.
This is the reason that Jesus became a man – so that He could be our substitute. Because He was without sin He could die and pay the price for my sin and for yours. That sacrifice is timeless and it is forever. “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many…” (Hebrews 10:28a). He paid the price for all people throughout history as well as all who live today and He did it ONCE. It never has to be repeated and it never can be.
So is the old, old story still relevant today? YES! A thousand times, YES! And for all of eternity we will sing some variation of I Love to Tell the Story! It will never grow old and it will never be out of date because it is the greatest expression of love that has ever been or ever will be.
“So sing with me. I dare you to! Cause there’s an empty cross! There’s an empty tomb!”*
Forever grateful to Jesus,
Bro. Tim Hobbs
P.S. Join us in telling the story of Jesus this Easter! Everyone needs to hear it. Some have never heard…
*from Empty, The Glory of Easter 2016