To see the Jesus narrative as our story does not diminish the life and death of Jesus. On the contrary, to see ourselves as God’s beloved child, with the capability of engaging in a unique relationship with God, just as Jesus was, can’t help but enrich his story. To see in the story not only the human/divine nature of Jesus but also the human/divine nature of all human beings is to complete the picture.
Our interest in all classic stories is enhanced by seeing something of ourselves in one or more of the characters. Both fiction and non-fiction give us opportunities to identify with real or imagined characters, to better understand ourselves, to see new paths opening up for us, to gain new tolerance and sensitivity to others’ situations, and to find comfort in sorrow.
The Bible doubles as Christian mythology where larger-than-life characters capture our imagination. We identify with Abram as he is called to leave familiar surroundings, with Joseph as he is scorned by his siblings, with Jonah as he resents the change of heart that occurs with the Ninevites. Classic literature and mythology always develop characters who embody some of our own traits. Otherwise, we could never identify with the tragic heroes as we do.
The soul we credit with belonging to every human being is nothing less than the essence of our divinity, the piece of God planted in each of us, not to give us bragging rights but to give us the abundant life Jesus spoke of, the ability to be the person God begat us to be.
A story presents so many more possibilities if interpreted on multiple levels. Can we not imagine that God wants us to glean the most possible from the stories told in Scripture? That God wants us to learn from the stories and characters to understand more about who we are and how He loves us? Oh, let us imagine greatly!