December 5th, 2016

He was just one of many. A small boy in a large crowd. He wasn’t even sure where they were going, he just saw a mass of people and decided to follow. Why not?

Then he overheard a single word whispered among the many… “Messiah.”

He stopped. His eyes widened. His heart raced. He held his breath.

Could it be? Could it be the Messiah?

His mind flooded with images from hundreds of stories he’d heard. 

Jesus. The famous one.

Then he felt a strong shove from behind as the crowd pushed forward like a herd. He stumbled forward and dropped his pouch. He turned and pushed back through the crowd on hand and knee to retrieve his pouch before it was trampled. Crouching he checked the contents inside. His lunch was still intact.

The boy glanced back at his village. Then glanced forward to the horizon.

“Mom’s going to kill me.” He smiled. There was no way he was turning back now. This was once in a lifetime. This was Jesus.

With his hand clenching tight to his small pouch, the boy thought “It’s a good thing I packed a lunch today.”

Jesus miraculously fed five thousand one day, and a small boy’s lunch was the origin of the miracle. Have you ever thought, “I wonder what the boy was thinking?”

Imagine his awe when they chose him. Imagine his eyes when he saw massive crowds of people eating fish and bread – from his lunch!

What would that do to him? What would that do to you?

The Power of Story

The movie industry grossed 38 billion dollars last year with thousands of movies hitting the box office. With so many movies coming out, producers are having to get more and more creative telling their stories, and one of the loopholes they’ve found is to tell the same story – but from a radically different perspective!

Max Lucado is famous for his sermon on the healing Jesus performed on a leper. But instead of telling the story as is, he tells it from the perspective of the leper. He pulls you in so close that you can feel the leper’s emotions. He talks about the rejection he felt from the community, and the pain in his wife’s eyes; the feeling of his child’s skin on his cheek, a feeling he would never feel again because he was now banished by his own infirmities. Your heart aches and yearns for relief.

Then enters Jesus.

All you can think is “Please God, heal him Jesus!”

And he does.

Most youth pastors have to speak to their students every week. Instead of trying to search out obscure passages that students have never heard before, consider retelling some of the most famous and powerful stories in scripture, but from a unique perspective.

Share with your students that you’re taking some creative privileges that aren’t explicitly shared within the text. The Bible was written this way, historically documenting details, but not sharing the entire life of the story. This made it possible to pass on scripture through millennia. Could you imagine if the Bible was more descriptive? It would be the size of a Volkswagon!

The Bible was meant to be read with imaginative eyes.

“In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth…” There’s a lot going on in that verse. We can only imagine.

With proper exegetical study, we can give an accurate, yet creative take on common bible stories.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Lazarus raised from the dead – From the Perspective of Lazarus
  • The Crucifixion – From the Perspective of the Guard
  • Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego – From the Perspective of Meshach
  • Noah’s Ark – From the perspective of a fish

Ok…that last one’s a stretch! But the point is, if we’re willing to get creative, we can take scriptures that our students already know by heart, and give them new life!

From now on, when a student hears that passage (and they will hear it often), they’ll remember the vivid details of your story.

I know for a fact they will. Because I’ll never think of lepers the same way again.

ROB GILLEN is the High School & College Age Pastor at Christian Life Assembly in Camp Hill, PA and has served in student ministries for 10 years. He has his Masters in theological studies and he’s an Adjunct Professor at the University of Valley Forge. Rob and his wife Kara parent a son and two beautiful daughters.




Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.