Near the center of each pew in our sanctuary you’ll find a few copies of a songbook called Treasured Hymns and New Songs of Faith. That little spiral bound booklet was created by our church to include some “golden oldies” and great newer songs in our weekly worships services. One of the oldies that I turn to often in that booklet is Tell Me the Stories of Jesus.
Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear;
things I would ask him to tell me if he were here:
scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,
stories of Jesus, tell them to me.
First let me hear how the children stood round his knee,
and I shall fancy his blessing resting on me;
words full of kindness, deeds full of grace,
all in the love-light of Jesus’ face.
Into the city I’d follow the children’s band,
waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand;
one of his heralds, yes, I would sing
loudest hosannas, Jesus is King!
I love to think about the scenes by the wayside and tales of the sea. I love to think about the children gathering around our Lord, eager to hear him speak. And I love to listen to and tell the stories of Jesus myself.
Every few years, I sit down and organize my sermons. Each time I have done this over my nearly 40 years of preaching, I am reminded of how much I enjoy telling the stories of Jesus. No matter how many years pass, I generally observe that about one-third of the sermons I have preached are based on an Old Testament scripture, another third come from between Romans and Revelation, and roughly one-third of my sermons are from the Gospels. With sixty-six books in the Bible, almost one-third of my preaching rests on Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
I love to tell the stories of Jesus. It makes sense when we think about how John described the purpose of his gospel:
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
Keep me eager, O God, to read the stories of Jesus, so that my words tell, and my life will show how his life has changed mine. In the name of your wonderful Son Jesus, I pray. Amen.