A couple weekends ago, Caleb and I took the kids to see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. Second best movie ever made. Know what the first best movie ever made was?
Anyway the movie was awesome. Can you see it without seeing the original “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” (which, p.s., is nothing like the book) ? Yes…I suppose. It’s cute, it’s got an easy-enough to follow plot. But really? You should see the first one anyway. Knowing the backstory isn’t mandatory but it will enhance your comprehension and enjoyment of the second film.
Kind of sort of switching the subject completely but it relates eventually–my church gots this Sunday school lesson plan called The Gospel Project. If you’ve heard of it, you know where I’m going with this: each class learns the stories of the Old Testament chronologically, so that humanity’s need for a savior is apparent and the New Testament makes sense.
I’ve been “teaching” the 2-3 year olds and let me tell you: I’ve learned so stinking much. Sure, I knew a few key stories of the bible–Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark, Jonah and the whale–from when I was little. I learned about Jesus. In my teens I learned about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses; Ruth and Naomi, Saul and David, King Solomon. And beyond that? Well it was all a little fuzzy.
Until recently. My class has been studying the time after Solomon–greatest king in the whole world–screwed up and managed to divide the entire kingdom of Israel. You had one job, Solomon.
Now we’re looking at Israel in the north and Judah in the south, and the whole thing is a mess. There’s bad kings and bad people, doing all kinds of voodoo with all kinds of false gods. People are sinning and they just can’t stop. They won’t stop. They live in a world that’s obsessed with riches and consumed with lust and swollen with pride. They’re not seeking God. They’re only seeking themselves. (Sound familiar?)
And all along, there are some who are still faithful. Prophets preach and drop mad hints about a coming savior. They tell the rest of the country that God is the one true God. They are highly unpopular, to say the least. But they keep on keepin’ on. Even though they won’t live to see it, they know God will carry out His ultimate plan.
It’s a riveting backstory that’s not required to know before learning about Jesus–but it sure is helpful. The New Testament makes a whole lotta sense. Mankind messed up time and time again, second chance after second chance. No amount of lamb sacrificing could make up for how often people hardened their hearts and turned away from God.
No matter how hard we try, we’ll never come close to being holy enough to measure up to the standard of heaven. We desperately need serious saving grace and that comes from Jesus.