Today’s guest blogger is Mysterious Ways assistant editor Daniel Kessel.
When did you last read one of the gospels? It had been a long time for me. I mean, I’d studied Mark for my Confirmation as a teenager, and in church we always read selections from all four gospels. Plus, I saw The Passion of the Christ when it came out in theaters. Didn’t I know the story well enough?
Yet this year, I was inspired to go further, thanks to all the wonderful stories I’ve read since joining the Mysterious Ways team last June, including testimonies that the right Bible verse can enter our lives exactly when we need it. I drafted up a reading plan: Beginning April 1, I would read all four gospels by Easter.
For some reason, I didn’t mention my plan to anyone–not friends, family, coworkers. I read each day’s selection at night before bed. I wanted plenty of time to absorb Jesus’ parables and lessons of love (though a few favorite verses did make their way onto our Facebook page).
It wasn’t until my final day of Luke–the night I would read Books 19 through the end–that I felt an urge to talk about the project with my coworkers. I had a particular question for them: Why did Jesus make a point of spending time with “sinners,” like Levi, the disreputable tax collector in Mark 2? At lunchtime I turned to Diana Aydin and our newest editor, Danielle Lyle, and asked what they thought. Everyone had an opinion. Before we knew it, lunch was over and we returned to work.
A few minutes later, an email from Danielle appeared in my inbox. “I thought you might like this video,” she wrote, linking to a sermon by Pastor Walter L. Pearson called “Dinner with a Sinner.” I clicked.
“Please turn in your Bibles to the 19th chapter of Luke,” he said and read the opening verse. The exact passage I was going to start reading later that day, according to the reading schedule I’d worked out weeks in advance!
Why had I chosen that day to bring up the gospels? How was it that Danielle’s video aligned so perfectly with my reading plan? She had no idea which book I was going to read next. Luke 19 describes Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus, another “sinner” and tax collector. Why that passage? Was it because tax season ended last week, or something more?
I’m still puzzling over the deeper meaning of Luke 19, but I have no doubt about one thing: My “secret” reading plan wasn’t so secret after all. For now, I’m going to keep reading. Who knows what lessons and little nudges lie ahead?
Has a Bible verse ever have spoken to you? Send us your story!