A Matter of Life and Death
Version 1 of the "Who Are We?" story, the biblical story of the world
In this version we see ourselves in Christ as life-bringers, in touch with the Source of all life
Prototype story by Stan Nussbaum
Rephrase or rewrite as needed for your situation
Mini-story: A Matter of Life and Death
The story of the world is a story about life and death.
God invented life and gave it to the world, but humans foolishly went down the path to death. God set a plan in motion to give life back to the world through the descendants of Abraham, especially Jesus.
He brought life and health to the world, and he defeated death. He gave his life-power to his followers, and now they are carrying on his work until he comes back to wipe out death forever.
Expanded version: A Matter of Life and Death
God, the Real GOD, created a beautiful world with life everywhere, but people got tricked into thinking he was withholding something from them so they took and tried for themselves the one thing he warned was poisonous. Sure enough, when they ate that fruit, death got loose and the world got ugly with shame, violence, abuse, and funerals.
But God did not give up. He took things to a new level. Through Abraham, he created a whole God-tribe to show all the other tribes the key to life, and this is the key—when your life depends on it, do what God is telling you even if that does not look like what is best for you.
Down through the centuries, we see how this worked out in a whole string of rescue stories for Abraham and his descendants like Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, and Esther. We also see the tragic end for people like King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, who trusted their own judgment more than God’s guidance.
During the ups and downs of Abraham’s descendants, God kept sending messengers with an astonishing prediction—that sometime, somehow, the Real GOD would send the ultimate life-bringer, the most important descendant of Abraham ever.
Forty-two generations after Abraham (you can read the list in Matthew 1), the prediction came true. The “Messiah,” the one-of-a-kind God-person, was born. They named him Jesus, which means, “The Real GOD rescues.”
Jesus told the whole nation descended from Abraham, “This is it! God is bringing heaven’s life to earth now! Follow me and see what I mean.”
Many were thrilled to follow Jesus, but the leaders were sure he was a fake, and his life was threatened. He saw death coming, and he had to decide whether to trust God’s strategy and accept death or trust his own judgment and look for a way out.
Jesus trusted God, got arrested, and got executed on a cross. But here is the best part of the story—God the Father put new life, un-killable life, back into him, and he walked out of his grave more alive than ever!
For 40 days Jesus kept visiting his followers and explaining what was going on. Then the Father took him to heaven and installed him as King of Life. It’s like God was saying, “This is how I treat people who totally trust me.”
And do you know the first thing Jesus did as King? He gave his followers a super-injection of his life. He sent his Spirit, life, and power down into them so they knew he was way more than a memory.
He was alive, and he was with them. Out they went, radiating his life, showing and telling that he really is the Messiah, the key to forgiveness and life for everybody everywhere, including right here right now.
Not all these messengers are physical descendants of Abraham, but we all became his spiritual descendants. It is like we have been born all over again, this time with the “Abraham gene.” Now we trust God more than our own judgment, like our forefather did.
Some people eagerly ask for that gene, and we get it. Others can’t bring themselves to trust God quite that far. Some even see Jesus and his messengers as a threat.
Those enemies try to shame us messengers and shut us up, but it doesn’t work. We are able to show the same mercy and courage Jesus showed when he was tortured. His life keeps bubbling up inside us no matter what.
That’s how things stand for the time being, but when the set time comes, the King of Life will come back to earth in person to destroy death and reconnect the whole world to God’s life once and for all.
So that’s our story. That’s why we live the way we live and make life better for everybody we can. Who are we? We are life-bringers, with the life of the Creator flowing through us to all who will welcome it.
Reflections on SYNCing with the story, A Matter of Life and Death
Perhaps you have already said, “I’m in! Give me that Abraham gene and bring me into SYNC with the King of Life.” If so, Jesus Christ has already rescued you from death and turned you into an agent of his Life.
So let’s get the party started, celebrating with a huge “Yes” to all five of these things:
Yes, God is proactively bringing heaven’s life to earth. He isn’t just keeping score and reacting to what we do.
Yes, God’s whole life-giving plan revolves around Jesus, the Rescuer who makes earth more like heaven and less like hell.
Yes, Jesus has put his Spirit, life, and power into me, plugging me into the life-giving movement that goes all the way back to Abraham.
Yes, I am taking my first life-giving step by the Spirit’s power—forgiving everybody for everything like Jesus has forgiven me.
Yes, I realize my life may get very hard because some people don’t want the life I am bringing, but I am trusting Jesus and his Spirit to get me through the pain.
If you have not yet said “I’m in. SYNC me!” what else would you like to discuss about this story before you would say “yes” to these things and join the celebration?
Jesus won’t force you in, but once you say yes, he brings you in. He moves into your life, frees you from the death-grip of evil, and sends you out as part of the life-giving plan that started with Abraham. That is what the rest of your life will be about—finding out what Jesus meant by “God is bringing heaven’s life to earth now.”
You won’t get to run your own life or build your own kingdom any more, but you will be more alive and better SYNCed than you have ever been, and you will bring life to your world.