I spent a lot of time in youth ministry, working with ages 11-16. Most times, they found the Bible to be unrelatable and unreadable in some aspects because Jesus and his disciples were always perfect, almost by definition. As you know by now, my church only used the KJV because other versions were seen as worldly. Yet more often than not, the argument from other versions is that the KJV is difficult to understand. I remember trying to humanize the stories for them, to tell them about Jesus as a man who walked the Earth as we do, with 12 guys who were definitely flawed, more like us. I was hit with a lot of criticism for that, with telling stories about them like they were characters in a book or someone you knew locally. But I found that when you felt you understood each of them, it made everything more real or at least make some sense for the first time. If they can be as broken as me and still find love with Jesus, in person, individual, then I had a chance. Have you ever wondered what they felt like, in a very personal way, to be on that adventure, but also to sit and make jokes over the dinner table with the Son of God? We are told so many times that Jesus walked on the Earth as we do, and loved as we love, and was human, like us. But we forget to realize that he was ‘human’ and he surrounded himself with very ‘human’ people.
For example, I could never understand Jonah as he sat and waited for the destruction of Nineveh. Why would he want someone to die? What had they done to him to deserve that kind of personal anger? But you look at the days he’d been having and the attitude his people had for them. You’ve been given a mission you didn’t want, fought God the whole way and still ended up helping a people you grew up hating. He fought back, thought that someone else needed his help, because good deeds shouldn’t be wasted on people who wouldn’t use them. We do that. I’d be right there beside him with the popcorn waiting, laughing with him about it. Or Peter when they came for his best friend, and he pulls a sword. Peter was scared, his best friend was being taken, and that was his whole world those days. His purpose and the guy who believed in him wouldn’t be beside him for a while. He wasn’t a soldier, he’d only been in street fights his whole life, but from his perspective he knew something big was coming, and he wanted to help. They were human, God was real, and every story is that simple when you let them be. God is the same yesterday today and forever, and being human in those days, walking beside Jesus, wasn’t so different then either. He laughed, he cried, he was uncomfortable in new situations. Have you ever found someone in the Bible and felt they were human like that?