Episode NT22 – Lost and Found

tale2tell original Bible Stories series – New Testament

Based on Luke chapter 15

Lost and Found

Lots of different people came to see Jesus, even the most despised people in the land like the treacherous tax collectors – who worked for the Romans against their own people. The lowest of the low came to Jesus, and much to the outrage of the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law, Jesus welcomed them, tax collectors and notorious sinners alike, even at times sharing a meal with them! (PAUSE)

The Pharisees and Teachers of the Law thought this behaviour of Jesus was disgraceful! Surely, knowing how evil these people were, He should be condemning them for their wickedness, not eating with them in their houses! And so they complained to Jesus that He was associating with such despicable people! (PAUSE – SIGH)

The simple truth was that the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law had misunderstood what Jesus was doing! He wasn’t saying that their evil behaviour was acceptable! Far from it! But to help the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law understand what was happening, He told them these stories. (PAUSE)

‘Tell me,’ He began. ‘If you had 100 sheep, and for some reason one of those precious sheep got lost in the wilderness, wouldn’t you leave the other 99 in a safe place and go and hunt high and low for the lost sheep until you found it? And when you’d found it, wouldn’t you carry it joyfully back home on your shoulders? Then, when you’d arrived back home you’d call your friends and neighbours to come over and celebrate the safe return of the lost sheep with you. Well, in the same way, there will be more happiness in heaven over the return of one lost sinner who comes back to God than over 99 others who’re righteous and have never strayed.’

‘Or how about this,’ He continued. ‘Suppose a woman has ten valuable coins and somehow loses one of them! Won’t she light a lamp and search in every corner of her house and sweep out even the smallest areas as she carefully searches for it? And when she finds it, won’t she call together her friends and neighbours to rejoice with her because – after a long search she’s found her lost coin! Well, in the same way, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who turns from their sin!’

Still not sure that the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law had understood the point He was trying to make, Jesus told them one last story: ‘There was a man who had two sons. One day the younger son said to his father, ‘I don’t want to wait! Give me my portion of your estate that I’d inherit when you die – now.’ The father agreed and divided his wealth between his two sons.’

‘A few days later the younger son packed up all his belongings and headed out for a distant land, and when he got there he spent all his money on wild living! (P) At about the same time as all his money ran out, a severe famine swept over the land and he began to starve. Looking for work, he managed to persuade a local farmer to hire him to feed his – pigs.’ As Jesus said this, a murmur swept around the crowd, a Jewish boy, feeding unclean pigs – could he fall any lower? But Jesus continued, ‘The boy was so hungry that he even thought about filling his own stomach with the pods he was feeding to the pigs. But no one gave him anything.’ Another round of shocked murmurs. Not only was this boy feeding unclean pigs; now he’d fallen so low he even thought about eating their food!

Jesus carried on, ‘When at long last he finally came to his senses, the boy said to himself, ‘Back home even the hired men have more than enough food, and here I am starving to death! I shall go home to my father and say to him, ‘Father, I’ve sinned against heaven and against you, and I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Please, take me on as a hired servant.’’

‘So the young lad got up and started on the long walk home. But while he was still a long way from home, his father saw him coming. Filled to overflowing with love and compassion, the father ran to his son and gave him a great big hug and kiss.’ Yet another round of murmurs! It wasn’t the done thing for Jewish fathers to run – especially to a child who’d been so rebellious. But Jesus was still speaking. ‘Then the son, hardly daring to lift his eyes to meet his father’s said, ‘Father, I’ve sinned against heaven and against you, and I’m no longer worthy to be called your son…’

‘But before he could finish, his father said to his servants, ‘Quickly, bring the best clothes you can find in the house and put them on my son. Get a gold ring for his figure, and sandals for his feet. And go and kill the calf we’ve been fattening up for a special celebration. We must have a feast to celebrate, for this son of mine was dead and now he has returned to life! He was lost, but now he’s found’ So the celebrations began.’

‘While all this was happening,’ Jesus continued, ‘the older son had been out in the fields working. When he returned home he heard music and dancing in the house! ‘What’s going on?’ he asked one of the servants.’

‘Your younger brother’s come back home,’ he replied. ‘And your father’s prepared a great feast! We’re celebrating his safe return.’

‘At hearing this, the older brother became angry and moody and refused to go in. So his father came out to beg him to come and join the party. But instead of joining in, he said to his father, ‘All these years I’ve been slaving for you, never disobeying your orders. And what did I get out of it? Nothing! You didn’t even give me a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours comes home – after squandering your money on wicked living, you celebrate by killing the calf we’ve been fattening up for a special celebration!’’

‘”But son,’ his father replied, ‘you and I, we’re very close, everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate this special day. For your brother who was dead – is alive again. The one who was lost – has been found.'”’

Episode NT20 – The Man Born Blind

tale2tell original Bible Stories series – New Testament

Based on John chapter 9

The Man Born Blind

‘What people tend to forget when you’re blind is that you’re not deaf as well! In fact, my hearing’s a lot better than most peoples and I could hear them quite clearly as they came towards me.’

‘Jesus,’ somebody asked, ‘Whose fault is it that this man’s been born blind?’ And then, to rub it in a little more he said, ‘Was it his own sin or his parent’s sin?’ Come on, I thought, it could hardly be my sin! That would’ve meant I’d done something evil before I’d even been born. And as for my parents … well. Then I heard another voice answering their question, I guess it must have been Jesus.’

‘Neither,’ He said, ‘It wasn’t this man’s fault or his parent’s fault. This man was born blind so that the power of God could be seen in him.’ Whatever that meant! And then He added, ‘All of us have to get on with the tasks God’s given us to do because there’s little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end. But you see, while I’m still here in this world, I am the light of the world.’

‘I’d been born blind, I’d never seen any light, so I really couldn’t understand what He was talking about when He said He was the light of the world!’

‘What happened next was a little – awkward. Jesus spat on the ground and made some mud with His spit and some soil. Then I felt a gooey substance being rubbed over my eyes and Jesus spoke to me. ‘Go and wash in the pool of Siloam,’ He said. And that was that! (P) I had no option but to wash to get the mud off my eyes. But something inside me seemed to tell me that I should do exactly what Jesus had just told me to do, not just find some water to wash off the mud, but to go where He’d said.’

‘It didn’t take long to go to Siloam, and when I got there I started to wash off the mud. It was good to get it off because it’d started to dry a little and was becoming uncomfortable! I put my head down to the pool, dipped my hands in and splashed great handfuls of water over my eyes. Then I washed off the mud and started to wipe the water out of my eyes.’ (PAUSE)

‘There aren’t words to describe how I felt next. It’s just not possible for you to understand but when I opened my eyes my head was filled with … with … light, colours, images, things, movement! I could see! Jesus had healed me! I could see! Not even in my wildest imagination had I dreamt that seeing would be like this! When I was young I’d often asked what it was like, and nothing anyone said had made any sense, until now. Now I understood what people meant when they tried to use words to describe a colour or the clouds in the sky.’

‘When I was young I’d pestered my parents to ask them if maybe one day I could see if the doctors could heal me. They’d tried to find out if there was any hope for me, but the doctors had soon put them straight. No one had ever been able to see who’d been born blind. It just didn’t happen. But now, this man Jesus had come along, covered my eyes with mud, told me to wash in the pool of Siloam and the impossible had happened! I could see.’ (PAUSE)

‘You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face! I made my way back home using the skills I’d learnt when I was blind but also taking in my surroundings. When my neighbours saw me, they hardly recognised me because of the stupid great grin on my face! They started looking at each other and asking, ‘Is this the same blind beggar we knew before?’ I kept telling them, ‘Yeah! It’s me, it’s me!’ But they could hardly believe their own eyes! ‘What happened?’ they asked. ‘Who healed you?’’

‘Well I told them, ‘This man called Jesus came along, spat on the ground, made some mud out of His spit and the soil and then rubbed it on my eyes. Then, He sent me to the pool of Siloam and told me to wash the mud off in that pool. I did everything He said, and when I’d done it, I could see!’’

‘’Well,’ they asked, ‘Where is He now?’’

‘’I’ve no idea.’ I replied.’ (PAUSE)

‘When I told my neighbours that Jesus had made the mud out of the spit and soil, I could tell they were uncomfortable. You see it was the Sabbath day when all this happened, and our religious experts, the Pharisees, had made up lots of extra little rules to make sure no one disobeyed the Sabbath law, which says you are to keep the Sabbath day Holy! – One of those extra rules was to do with not working something like dough or mud! So they took me to the Pharisees!’

‘’What happened?’ they asked me. And I told them about the mud making and about the washing in the pool of Siloam and then being able to see. That’s when the arguments started! ‘This man Jesus can’t be from God,’ one of them said, ‘because He’s working on the Sabbath!’ And then another asked, ‘But how could some ordinary person do such a mighty miracle?’ Neither side could agree with the other  – – so they asked me!’

‘’Who do you think this man is who opened your eyes?’ To be honest, I hadn’t really thought about it because I was so overjoyed at being able to see again, so after a moments thought I said, ‘Erm, well, I guess He must be a prophet!’’

‘You won’t believe what happened next. Completely ignoring what I’d said, they started to accuse me of never having been blind in the first place! They wouldn’t listen to a word I said. In fact, they were so adamant that I hadn’t ever been blind that they called my parents in to question them! ‘Is this your son?’ they asked. ‘Was he born blind, and if so how can he see now?’’

‘I’d never seen my parent before then, and I didn’t know what the expression on their faces meant, but I could tell from their voices they were worried. ‘Yes, he is our son,’ they said, ‘and he was born blind. But how he came to be able to see again, and who healed him we can’t say. Ask him yourselves,’ they said. ‘He’s old enough to speak for himself.’’

‘And so once again they called me in! ‘Give glory to God by telling the truth,’ they said, ‘because we know Jesus is a sinner!’ Give glory to God! I ask you! How much more glory could you give to God than healing a man born blind! ‘Whether He’s a sinner or not I don’t know;’ I said. ‘But this one thing I do know, I was blind, and now I can see!’’

‘’But what did He do?’ they asked again, ‘How did He heal you?’ I couldn’t believe it; they hadn’t been listening to a word I’d said! ‘Look,’ I insisted, ‘I’ve already told you! Didn’t you listen the first time? Why do you want me to tell you again?’ And then a little bit cheekily I asked, ‘Do you want to become His disciples too?’’

‘That did it! They nearly exploded! They started saying all kinds of rude things to me. ‘You may be His disciple, but we’re disciples of Moses!’ they roared. ‘We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this man, we don’t know anything about Him!’’

‘‘Oh,’ says I, ‘that’s very strange! Here comes a man who heals the eyes of someone born blind and you don’t know anything about Him! Well, we know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but that He hears those who worship Him and do what He wants them to do. Never before in the whole history of the world has anyone been able to heal the eyes of a person born blind. If this man wasn’t from God then He couldn’t have done it!’’

‘They’d lost the argument, and they knew it, so they started shouting at me, treating me like a fool as they spat out their nastiness! ‘You were steeped in sin since your birth!’ they screamed. ‘Are you trying to teach us?’ And then they threw me out of the synagogue! Making it very clear that I wouldn’t be welcomed back. (PAUSE)

‘The news of what’d happened to me must have spread like wildfire, because not too long afterwards – this man came up to me. When He spoke I immediately recognised His voice, it was Jesus. ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He asked. ‘Who is He sir,’ I replied, ‘because I’d like to.’’

‘’You have seen Him,’ He told me, ‘and He is speaking to you now.’’

‘’Yes Lord,’ I answered, ‘I do believe!’ And then I did what was the only right thing to do, I worshipped Him.’

‘Jesus spoke to me again, ’I have come to judge the world, to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they can see that they’re really blind.’ I understood what He meant, I could see now, but it was with more than just my eyes, I also understood who He was. But some Pharisees who’d followed me overheard what Jesus said and got all uptight again, ‘Are you saying we’re blind?’ they asked. Well, even I could tell that they had no idea who Jesus really was. But Jesus answered them, ‘If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty. But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.’’

‘I understood that! The Pharisees thought they knew all about God and had it all worked out, and yet when they were confronted with the incredible miracle that had happened to me, they refused to believe that it said anything about who Jesus is. (PAUSE) I’m so grateful to God that I can see!’

Episode NT13 – The Paralysed Man

tale2tell original Bible Stories series – New Testament

Based on Mark chapter 2 verses 1 to 12

The Paralysed Man

 ‘So we’re going to do this then?’ one of the friends asked. ‘We’re going to take him to Jesus?’

The other three friends nodded their heads determinedly. ‘Jesus heals people,’ one of them said. ‘No one’s ever gone to Jesus and not been healed, so we will take him – today. I know he’d go himself if he could, but as he can’t it’s up to us and we need to leave now.’

At that, the four friends bent down and picked up the man’s stretcher-like mat and accustomed themselves to the weight. For a long time now the man had been paralysed, unable to move, and his four friends knew that this might be the only chance they’d have to take him to Jesus. So after carefully manoeuvring him out of the house, the four of them set off.

Of course, this didn’t just happen; they’d been talking about it for a while. Over the last weeks and months, they’d discussed all the stories they’d heard about what Jesus had said and what Jesus had done. And their paralysed friend, we’ll call him Simeon for now although we don’t know his real name, had listened to every word. (PAUSE)

It had dawned on them very slowly at first that perhaps, just maybe, Jesus could do something for Simeon. But as the idea started to sink in, and they heard more and more stories of all the incredible and wonderful things that Jesus said and did, they became convinced. Jesus was the answer, Jesus could heal Simeon – all they had to do was find out where Jesus was and take Simeon to Him. The rest would be up to Jesus.

But as his friends shared all the news about Jesus, Simeon started to feel uncomfortable. Jesus had come with a message, ‘Turn away from your evil ways and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!’ How could he face Jesus when he was such a sinful man? He might be paralysed and unable to move, but did that stop him from having evil thoughts, from being rude and selfish, for wanting his own way and not caring for other people as he should? He knew he was guilty, and even though he longed for his body to be free, the real pain was in his heart, knowing that he was guilty of sin and that his real need, before anything else, was for forgiveness.

It was quite a long walk to get to Jesus, and the four friends had to take frequent breaks – putting Simeon down, changing arms and sides of his stretcher-like bed and then lifting him up again and carrying on.

Simeon hadn’t wanted to share what was going on inside him. Even though he felt more and more uncomfortable about meeting Jesus, especially when he knew how guilty he was of failing to be the person God wanted him to be. But he also knew he still had to go – he had to see Jesus. And after what seemed an eternity, they came to the place where Jesus was. (P)

That’s when they got their first taste of reality! The place was packed to overflowing with people – because everyone wanted to see Jesus. Some, like the religious types, had come to pick holes in what Jesus said; to find something to knock Him down with to show that He wasn’t anything special after all. They filled much of the room listening to what He said, and yet because they were so intent on finding fault, they never really heard what He was saying. The rest of the space was taken up with ordinary people just like them. People who wanted to see Jesus and hear Him for themselves, and, if possible, see Him do one of the remarkable miracles that everyone was talking about.

At first, the friends assumed that people would make way for them to bring Simeon to Jesus. But the other people weren’t about to give up their chance of meeting Jesus and refused to move! Simeon’s friends couldn’t believe it! Why were the people being so selfish? Why wouldn’t they make way for Simeon to be brought to Jesus?

‘What’re we going to do now?’ one of them asked. ‘There’s no way we’re going to get in there and see Jesus.’

‘I guess we’ll just have to wait,’ another one of them said.

‘But that could take hours!’ The first one replied, ‘And Simeon needs to be taken care of. Anyway, who’s to say that we’ll be able to find Jesus in this crowd when everyone starts to leave? It could be dark and we might miss Him. We can’t wait, we have to do something now!’

‘So what do you suggest?’ the others asked. ‘We can’t barge our way in, and no one’s going to make room for us. Do we have any other option but to wait?’

Pausing to look around, a flash of inspiration came across the first man’s face. ‘The roof,’ he said, pointing to the flat roof of the house. ‘I say we take Simeon onto the roof, dig a hole through it large enough to fit Simeon through on his mat and lower him down right in front of Jesus. (P) What d’you think? It’s our only option!’

Simeon had no say in the matter, his four friends had decided. Simeon needed to see Jesus if only to get peace of mind and deal with his feelings of guilt – Jesus was the answer and they weren’t going to let a little thing like the clay roof of this house stop them from laying their friend right at Jesus’ feet.

With total commitment, the four friends took Simeon onto the large flat roof and started to dig.

It wasn’t long before the people below couldn’t ignore what was happening above their heads. As they saw the four friends digging a bigger and bigger hole in the roof they knew that come what may Simeon was going to be lowered right down in front of Jesus, and they started to make room. And so the moment came when Simeon finally found himself looking into the eyes of the One he’d heard so much about, the One who could heal anyone, the same One whose message, ‘Turn away from your evil ways and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!’ had made him realise just how guilty of sin he was. (PAUSE)

Jesus looked up at the four grubby faces smiling down at Him, so sure of His power, so sure of His love. And then He looked into the eyes of Simeon. (P) Later, Simeon couldn’t explain how Jesus knew, but just by looking at him, Jesus had seen his real need, the ache in his heart and the pain of being separated from God by all the sin that burdened him down. It was then that Jesus spoke the most comforting words imaginable; words that were true, words that changed his world. ‘My son,’ Jesus said, ‘your sins are forgiven.’

A burden the like of which you could hardly imagine seemed to roll off Simeon’s shoulders. He didn’t even hear the hushed murmurs going around the room and the quietly uttered words of the religious leaders – ‘blasphemy’ they were saying. ‘This man’s claiming to do something that only God can do – forgive sins!’

But Jesus had heard the whispers and He knew what was racing through people’s minds. ‘Do you think that what I’ve said’s blasphemy?’ He asked. ‘That I’m claiming something that can only rightly belong to God? If so, tell me this, is it easier to say to this paralyzed man lying before you, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’ or to say to him ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’?’ And then without waiting for a reply, Jesus continued, ‘And so now I will prove to you that I, the Son of Man, do have the authority on earth to forgive sins.’

Turning once again to Simeon, lying paralyzed on his mat Jesus said, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home. You have been healed!’ 

It was indescribable for everyone. Simeon, rejoicing that he had been cleansed from his sin, felt the healing power of God avalanche through his paralysed body healing every part. At once, without a moment’s hesitation, he jumped up off his mat and obeyed Jesus’ command. Pushing his way through the group of stunned onlookers he marched out of the house where his four friends came rushing down from the roof to join with him in rejoicing at the wonderful things God had done.

Those who’d seen all this were amazed and started to praise God. “We’ve never seen anything like this before!” they said. And the news of all that Jesus had done spread even further.

Episode 5 – Babel (Confusion)

tale2tell original Bible Stories series – Old Testament

Based on Genesis chapter 11: 1 – 9

Babel (Confusion)

‘Multiply and fill the earth!’ That’s what God commanded. He didn’t want all the people living in just one place. No! God wanted people living everywhere!

But after the world-wide flood when God saved Noah and his family in the gigantic ark, the people didn’t want to separate. You see, Noah’s children had children and their children had children and so on, until there were lots and lots of people, all speaking the same language. But they were frightened of separating and going to different places – because they’d stopped trusting God! (P) As they increased in number, the people travelled eastwards together until they found a huge, flat piece of land. But when they got there they made a decision that went against God’s command to fill the earth!

‘Tell you what!’ said one man. ‘Why don’t we start making bricks?’

‘Why?’ asked another.

‘Well, if we make loads and loads of bricks, then we’ll have enough to make an enormous city – that we can all live and stay in one place.’

‘Good idea!’ the people replied.

‘And,’ said the first man, ‘We could also make the biggest, the highest and the greatest tower that’s ever been made to show how wonderful we are! A tower to reach the skies!’

‘What a brilliant idea!’ the people said. And they started making bricks! (PAUSE)

Not only were the people disobeying God by trying to stay in one place, now they were boasting about how wonderful they were! God wouldn’t stand for that! (P) It was really so silly because if God had wanted to, He could’ve destroyed the whole city with a little earthquake! But instead, He decided to go to the city and see it for Himself. And as He saw how they’d forgotten about Him and worked so hard to disobey Him, He said,

‘Look at what these people have done. If they can be this wicked and forget about me so quickly, then think of all the evil they could do if We leave them sharing a common language! What terrible things will they do later? No! Instead, We will go down amongst them and give them different languages so they won’t be able to understand each other.’ (PAUSE)

Just how it happened, I don’t really know. But can you imagine waking up one morning as if everything’s normal? (P) I’m sure your own family would’ve spoken the same language, but as you leave your house, you wave to your neighbour who’s just putting the rubbish out. ‘Morning Mrs Jones’ you say. And then you stare at her. Had you heard right? Had she really shouted back? ‘Est-nick-nok transnacker.’

On your way to school, you see one of your friends on the other side of the road. ‘Hey Billy, hold on,’ you shout. ‘You’ll never believe what old Mrs Jones has just said.’ But as you speak, Billy turns and gives you a funny stare, and looking rather worried he hurries off!

By this time you’re starting to notice that something’s very wrong! And, as more and more people get up to start their day – there’s confusion everywhere. But rather than being patient and trying to work out what the other person’s saying, they’re all getting angry and shouting at each other, as if somehow shouting’ll make them easier to understand.

It’s all a little frightening. School’s closed and you hurry home to find your Mum and Dad already there along with a few other families who still seem to speak the same language as you. But it’s impossible to stay now – you need to leave so that your own little group’ll be safe.

And that’s what happened! The building of the great city and tower stopped that very day as the people set out in different directions to find new places to live, just as God had originally commanded!

And the city? It became known as Babel, which means ‘confusion’ – because it was in that city where God confused the people by giving them different languages.

Episode 2 – The fall – How it all went wrong

tale2tell original Bible Stories series – Old Testament

Based on Genesis chapter 3

How it all went wrong

God had finished His work of creation, He’d made the grass and trees, the birds and animals and the insects and fish. But most important of all, he’d made people, the first man Adam, and the first woman Eve.

Adam & Eve’s job was to look after the world that God had made. It was all so good and perfect, every day God Himself would come and walk and talk with Adam and Eve in a garden that He’d planted for them – the Garden of Eden. And when they heard Him in the garden they’d run to be with Him. And they loved to be with God and talk with Him about all that they were doing. Everything was perfect, everything was just how it was supposed to be (P) but it wasn’t going to last.

In the Garden of Eden, God had planted a tree, called ‘the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’. And He told Adam and Eve that if they ate the fruit from that tree they would – die!

It seemed strange to them, the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ was fine to look at and its fruit was as good as any other, and yet they were forbidden to even try it?

And anyway, what was – death? Adam and his wife couldn’t really understand properly – because there was no death in the world. They just knew it wasn’t what God wanted and so – they left it alone. Anyway, there were plenty of other trees in the garden, apples and pears, bananas and oranges to name just a few – so it wasn’t hard to leave the tree alone. If God had said not to touch it, He must have a good reason (P) they may not understand but they knew they could trust God. (PAUSE)

God had put that tree in the garden because He wanted to know if the man and the woman really loved Him. (P) If they obeyed Him by not eating the forbidden fruit then He would know that they did love Him. But, if they disobeyed Him and ate the fruit, then He’d know that He wasn’t as important to them as He should be.

It was all so simple. Leave the fruit alone and all would be well. (P) But temptation often comes when you know something’s wrong!

Now, into the Garden of Eden, where the man and the women were living and working, there came an enemy of God. And disguising himself as a snake, he hid by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, whose fruit Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat. The enemy of God hated God and wanted to destroy all the good works God had done. He wanted to spoil God’s perfect creation, and had planned just how to do it! (PAUSE)

God knew what the enemy wanted to do, but He didn’t stop him being near the tree. He didn’t even stop the enemy from talking to the man and woman, because He wanted the man and woman to love Him by choosing to obey His simple command and not eat the fruit – no matter what anybody said to them! (P) All heaven waited to see what the man and woman would do. (PAUSE)

One day, as they worked in the garden, Adam and Eve came near to the place where the enemy, disguised as a snake, was waiting. As the woman was nearest to it, the snake started talking to her.

‘Hello,’ he said.

‘Hello,’ she replied.

‘This is a very beautiful garden you live in,’ continued the snake.

‘Thank you,’ replied the woman, ‘God planted it for us and asked us to look after it.’

 Then the crafty snake asked a question that started to twist what God had said. ‘Tell me, did God really say that you aren’t allowed to eat any of the fruit in the garden?’

‘Of course we can eat it,’ replied the woman. Then she pointed to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. ‘It’s only the fruit from that tree that we aren’t allowed to eat. God said that we shouldn’t eat it, or even touch it, or else we will – die!’

‘You won’t die,’ lied the snake. ‘God said you weren’t allowed to eat that fruit because He knows that when you do you’ll be able to understand everything and become as wise and as powerful as He is.’

‘Ooh’, said the woman. And as she looked up at the glistening fruit hanging temptingly on the tree, she saw how ripe it looked and thought how good it must be to eat. And as she stared at it, a longing came up inside her, and she could see herself, wise like God, powerful and majestic. Almost without noticing she was touching the fruit – and then she decided. She wanted to be like God. She wanted wisdom and power. And she was going to have it. The fruit pulled easily from the branch, she lifted it to her mouth and deliberately bit deeply into the ripe flesh. And then, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, a cold triumphant look on her face, she walked over to where her husband, Adam, had been watching.

Why hadn’t he stopped her? Why hadn’t he just taken her by the hand and led her away, or reminded her once again of what God had told them?

But now it was too late for the woman, there she stood before him, with an expression on her face that he’d never seen before. In her hand she held the fruit, and her lips were stained from the juices. Adam watched wide-eyed as she raised her hand to him, offering him the remainder of the stolen fruit.

If only he’d said no! If only he’d been stronger. If only he’d remembered what God had said and – and – just run away. But like a fool, he took the ripe fruit and without hesitation bit deeply into it, dreaming of how he too might become wise and powerful, majestic and mighty like God Himself. (P)

At that very moment their minds and their hearts were changed. Up until then everything had been simple, but now, things were somehow different. The enemy disguised as a snake was laughing at them. How easy it had been to trick them, and now they would no longer be God’s friends, but his slaves!

And now, everything seemed complicated! They were naked! Why hadn’t that bothered them before? How could they possibly face God naked! How embarrassing! In a hurry they found some leaves and tried to make something to cover themselves up with, but before they’d managed to make it work properly, and to their horror, they heard God walking in the garden. What were they going to do? How could they face God now?

In their fear and confusion Adam and Eve hid themselves amongst the trees of the garden, unwilling to go near the one they’d always previously longed to be with. Instead of running to greet Him at the sound of His voice, they ran away in their shame – and hid! Oh how things had changed! (PAUSE)

So God called out to the man and woman, ‘Where are you?’

The man called back, ‘I heard you in the garden, and … and … well … I’m naked! I can’t come to you like this, it’s so embarrassing and you might be angry with me!’

‘Who told you that you were naked?’ asked God. ‘Have you eaten the fruit from the tree I told you not to eat from?’

‘Yes,’ admitted the man as they slowly came out from their hiding places. ‘But it wasn’t really my fault,’ he lied. ‘It was her fault,’ He pointed at the woman. ‘She gave it to me.’

God looked at the woman. ‘How could you do such a thing after I told you not to?’

‘It’s not really my fault,’ she lied. ‘The snake tricked me into eating it.’ (PAUSE)

Adam and Eve regretted that day for the rest of their lives, wishing that they’d listened to God and never disobeyed Him. But it was too late now, death had come into the world and it couldn’t be undone by anyone!

So what was the point in continuing? Why didn’t God end it all then? His own creation had chosen to reject Him. (P) But even before He’d made the world, He’d known that Adam and Eve would disobey Him. But He still loved them – that’s why He called out to them instead of destroying them. And, He was already working on His own plan, a plan made before the world had begun, that one day He would destroy the power of the enemy – death itself – so we could not only be His friends again, but His children.

Episode 1 – Creation, How it all began

tale2tell original Bible Stories series – Old Testament

Based on Genesis chapters 1 & 2

How it all began

Have you ever wondered how the world was created? I have. And even though some clever people say one thing and other clever people say something else, the truth is I don’t know, no one does. Because you see, I wasn’t there, no one was! I wasn’t watching over the Creator’s shoulder as He took – absolutely nothing and turned it into something! Or when at a word, He started the sun blazing in all its glory. 

He didn’t ask for my advice when he formed the world and separated the land and sea, or when He hurried the stars on their journey into deepest darkest space. 

He didn’t discuss with me how tall the cedar tree should be, and how many leaves the clover should have. Or what colour and scent the flowers of the valleys and mountains should be. Or where the animals and birds should live. Or even how many insects there should be in a single tree.

How He did it all, I don’t really know. But what I do know is that God planned it. This didn’t just happen, it wasn’t some terrible experiment that went tragically wrong! No, God meant to create the world and all that’s in it.

Also, I know that God made it to show us how great He is, so that when you look at a giant snow covered mountain, or the wing of a tiny fly, you can see the Creator’s hand at work and praise Him.

And I know this as well, God planned all this to show us how much He loves us! That He can take care of all our needs so that all we should do is learn to trust Him.

But imagine if you were there when the world was first created and it was just a ball floating in space – covered in raging seas. Then at a word from the Creator the seas start to go down and the sky appears as that thin blue halo surrounding the world, that can be seen in pictures taken from outer space.

And then another day and God speaks again and the water goes down further and dry ground appears. Imagine if you were walking on that dry ground. Oh yes, the winds might be howling and the seas raging, but this is a lifeless world, there’s no life yet! Then, at a word from the Creator, trees start racing up towards the sky, to see which will be the tallest, the strongest and the broadest. And all around you bushes and plants start to appear, and green races out to cover every square centimetre of this New World that the Lord has created. And then, the air’s suddenly filled with a wonderful fragrance as the flowers start to appear in all their glory, as if saying ‘Thank You’ to the Creator for the new life they’ve been given.

That night you sleep well on a bed of soft moss, and the next morning as you get up – you hear the Creator’s voice yet again. And suddenly you have to cover your eyes for a huge ball of light has appeared in the sky. Oh yes, there was light before but now the Lord has made the sun and it’s blazing down with warmth and light. And the flowers and the leaves all turn to face it and rejoice in its warmth.

And that night as you sleep, you sleep under a new moon, a brand new moon as it softly shimmers down in all its glory. While the stars laugh and twinkle in the sky as if marvelling at the wonderful things God has done.

The next morning you get up and taste some of the new fruit that’s appeared on the trees and bushes. And as you taste the fruit you hear the Creator’s voice again. As He stops speaking its like ten thousand times ten thousand tiny voices all start singing at once – the Lord has created birds! And they’re trying out their voices as if praising the Creator for the new life that they’ve been given, and then they try out their wings, soaring into the sky. A silent world and a still world has become one full of noise and motion.

As you watch the birds flying all around, you make your way down to the sea. And as you walk along the shore you see schools of fish nibbling at seaweed. And there, just beyond the shallows –you see a giant black object below the waves, making its way to deeper waters. The Lord God has created the fish and the creatures of the sea.

The next morning you’re woken early as the birds welcome the sun and the new day. And as you get up to have some fruit and explore some more, you hear the Creator’s voice. At first it’s not altogether obvious what’s happening, until a bit later you feel something rubbing against you leg. As you look down, you freeze in terror! For right there beside you is an enormous tiger, sniffing at your leg and trying to work out what you are. (P) But it’s ok, for now- tigers aren’t dangerous because nothing bad has entered this world yet. Anyway, before long the tiger loses interest and wanders off into the forest. And as you watch him leave you feel something tapping at the top of your head. As you turn around to see what it is, to your horror you find yourself staring into the face of a giant bull elephant! You’re standing right between his enormous tusks! And his trunk is playing with the wiry stuff on the top of your head, your hair, trying to work out if it can be eaten! Thankfully, after a few nasty tugs, it soon decides it can’t be eaten and as silently as it came, it disappears off into the forest. And then as you look around you see some hedgehogs snuffling in the bushes near by, and there in the distance you see some deer and gazelle moving majestically away. The Creator’s at work and you want to see it. So you work your way through the forest trying to find the clearing where God is at work.

After a long search, you eventually find the place where God Himself is in His act of creation. You’ve arrived just in time to see Him starting on His last creature.

There’re still a few animals around, a little puppy that seems soo happy with everything it looks like its tail’s about to wag off! But he soon disappears into the forest to investigate all the wonderful new smells. And as the Creator works, soon the horses and giraffes realise that this new animal is going to be altogether smaller than them, and they lift their noses in a very superior manor and wander off into the forest. So it’s only you and the monkeys left watching the Creator at work. And then something urgent seems to demand the monkeys’ attention high up in the trees above, and they run off screaming and shouting and chasing one another. Until it’s only you left – watching the Creator take incredible care as He makes this last creature.

Now this creature is to be altogether different from all the others – for it’s to be like God Himself. Oh yes, it still has legs and needs food and it’s going to live and work in this world that God’s made. But it’s to be able to think and reason and work things out like God. God’s going to give it a job, it’s going to have to look after this world and take care of it in a way that’ll make God happy. But most of all, this creature and its children are being made to have a loving relationship with God Himself. God the Creator will be their father, and they will be His children. And to show this, the Creator, God Himself, blows the breath of life into the nostrils of the first man and he comes to life.

The Creator’s looking across at you and smiling, it’s time for you to go. But don’t worry, the Creators’ not going to leave, He didn’t create this world like a big clock that He wound up and left to run down! No, He’s going to stay involved all the way through. He’s going to plant a garden for the man to live and work in. And before long He’s going to make a wife for the man, and they’ll have children.

No, don’t worry, God’s still involved in His creation – and He always will be. He’s made it and He loves it. He’s made you and He loves you too.

Samson and the City of Death!

This is an unusual story that is quite short and not that easy to work out exactly why it is there and how it can be helpful to us. But underneath – this story is a picture of what Jesus was going to do many years later when confronted with the real ‘city of death’.

Written and recorded by Andrew Devis