Last night we went once again to the family in the big city. After having a snack with them, I asked them to repeat the story from last week. They were able to tell this one well. The story ended with Peter having denied Jesus and abandoning him. The story I told yesterday was a mix of Matthew and Luke. It began with Jesus before the High Council and ended with the women who saw where Jesus was burried going home to prepare the burial perfumes, but staying home to observe the sabbath. Next week I will tell the resurrection stories.
In our post story dialogue, I had them each tell a part of the story, as it was a long one. After finishing the retelling, I did something, that in retrospect, was not a good idea. I had not prepared anything else from the scripture, but wanted to use Isaiah 53 to help tie together all of the stories. So... what did I do? I asked them to read a few verses each. Well, the post story discussion went downhill from there. I got caught up in trying to logically present Jesus as the substitute for our sins and have them explain to me how exactly God forgives us in Jesus. Once I realized what was happening, I just stopped and said. Let's just go back to the story and I'll ask one last question.
What did you think of the two criminals who died alongside Jesus on their crosses? They answered that one went to heaven and was forgiven because he had faith and asked Jesus to remember him. I ended the night on that. They thanked me for coming and we agreed to meet again next week for me to tell the story of the resurrection.
(For those who might be confused about why I had a problem in the study, let me say this. We are attempting to use an oral style of teaching and evangelism for people who understand things better in a non-analytical style. The stories of scripture hold all of the theology of God. Salvation doesn't come just to those who can explain substitutionary atonement, but comes to those who simply repent and believe. My theological analytical style is comfortable for me, but hasn't translated to very many baptisms in the last 5 years. This family is the first family with whom we are using an oral style, so it is a challenge for me. The families on the hill in the small town are the second. Things seem to be going smoother with that group.)