Have you ever noticed our tendency to push ourselves into the starring role of the stories told in the Bible? For instance, consider the story of “the good Samaritan.” Most sermons I’ve ever heard about that text makes the main application be that “we shouldn’t be like the lawyer or the priest who passed by the wounded man without helping him. We should be like the good Samaritan.”
In reality, that’s not the meaning of the story. It’s not a moral lesson that the Bible is trying to teach us here. Through that story, Jesus was teaching us about Himself. The main lesson isn’t that we are to help the pitiful, helpless man. It’s that we are the pitiful, helpless man. Jesus is the Good Samaritan who found us after legalism and devout religion didn’t lift a finger to help us.
Or how about the passage in Matthew 13:44 concerning the hidden treasure hidden in a field. There the Bible says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has to buy that field.”
Almost every time I’ve heard that verse discussed, the man in the story is portrayed as us and the hidden treasure is Jesus. But that can’t be true, because in this metaphor Jesus told, the man sold everything he had to buy the field so that he could have the treasure. We certainly can’t pay anything to know Jesus Christ. To the contrary, he paid everything so that He could have us. It’s the man (Jesus) who is the hero in that story.
Another example is the pearl of great price described in Matthew 13:45-46:
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
How many times have you heard Jesus described as “the pearl of great price?” But, no, He’s not the pearl in this story – you are. The Hero here is the one who paid everything so that he could “purchase [us] with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). He is the one who gave everything.
It’s not about you and me. It never has been and it never will be. It’s all about Him. May our Father enable us to stop making ourselves the main character in the Divine Drama. Babies think everything is all about them, but with maturity comes a true understanding. The story is His story and He has the leading role. We are simply the recipients of His wonderful love and grace.