Puzzling...


I love working puzzles. The satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment as each piece snaps in... Ahhhh! Admittedly though, there are times when I search and search for a particular piece, and can't seem to find it amidst the hundreds of others, that I become frustrated. But when I finally find that connecting piece that ties the picture together... I do a happy dance as the pieces fall into place faster for a while... Until I come to another area I get stuck on, and have to walk away. I can't tell you the amount of times I have to stare at the box to see the big picture of what I'm working towards...

Ever been there with your Bible? I know I have! How many times do you read and study and read some more, only to still be confused and unsure of how a particular story fits into the 'Big Picture'? What do Leviticus or Numbers have to do with Jesus (because He IS the 'Big Picture')? (Admit it, we all wonder what Numbers' purpose is...) (no?!?) {sigh} Or, why even bother with the Old Testament at all if the 'Big Picture' is in the New?

Firstly, how can you have a 'New' without an 'Old'? And how do you understand the significance of Jesus without understanding God's original plan for us? It all ties together. I admit, there are parts of the Old Testament that still leave me confused (they're the pieces that are missing in my puzzle). But, I also admit that had I not read the books leading up to Matthew, I'm not sure I would totally get Jesus. He almost sounds fictitious, and magical; like the Harry Potter of His time (come on, He defeats His Own dark lord...).  (Incidentally I'd like to mention that the Harry Potter book series is quite comparable in length to the Bible...in case you think the Bible's too long to read completely...) And it'd be easy to pass Jesus aside as a folklore or legend if we didn't have the prophecies and backstory of man's need for Mercy and Grace...

So is there a purpose to all of it to understand the 'Big Picture'? Absolutely. (John 13:19, John 14:29, John 16:3-4) There is a purpose to each book, chapter and verse of the Bible. (Yes, including Leviticus (understanding God's Holiness) and Numbers (showing Israel's lack of faith and God's patience)). You can't understand who Jesus was and why He came without understanding God's Holiness and patience and 'our' errors.

Without each section, we run the risk of misinterpreting, misunderstanding and misrepresenting His Word. We’ve all seen/heard when people use Scripture out of context; usually because they don’t bother to understand or even read the verses around one particular verse. (If we’re being honest, we’ve probably misused a verse or two ourselves…) So how can we even try to spread the Truth about Jesus without knowing the whole Truth? We’ve got to study and read it all. (Even Leviticus and Numbers {sigh}).

When I’m putting my puzzle together, and I can’t find a piece, I don’t just quit that section (or even the entire puzzle). I search (and search) for the missing piece. Or, I move on to another section. (It’s funny, when I give up finding that one piece I searched for, and begin working another part, I often come across the original piece…) The same thing can happen in the Bible. You may not understand the point of Leviticus and all of its’ ‘Instructions’ (for offerings, festivals, hygiene, etc.), but it’s there for a reason. For instance, a sin offering was to be a young ram (lamb) pure of defects: our ultimate sin offering was Jesus, Lamb of God, who was sinless (pure). (See, Leviticus really does have a purpose hidden below all those instructions!) And the entire Bible is like this! When all of the jagged, deformed, multi-colored, shaped and sized hodge-podge pieces come together…It is the ultimate puzzle; you see the ‘Big Picture’, and it truly is remarkable and beautiful!

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