Derek and I have been asking the Lord to help us get creative in the way that we are discovering Him and expressing Him to one another. Recently we were listening to a message on getting to know Jesus more intimately as a friend. In it we were encouraged to read the gospels as though Jesus was reading them to us, in the first person. So I decided to do this the very next day in my own private time with the Lord. Starting with Matthew chapter 1, I set out to swap the words “he” and ‘him” for ”I” and ”Me” as I read aloud. But just before I opened my mouth, the funniest thing happened.
I realised that in every movie I have ever seen that portrays Jesus, the actor always speaks english with either an American or an English accent. As an english speaking person in an english speaking country, I have grown up in church and amongst friends and family where I have only ever listened to the scriptures being read with an Australian, American or English accent (except for my dear South African sisters and brothers). I started wondering, what about people that are brought up in Scotland? or Ireland? If they were english speaking, they would have only heard the scriptures read aloud with Scottish or Irish accents. I had the thought that if a Scottish production company produced a film on the gospels, their Jesus would speak with a Scottish accent. The thought didn’t even seem ridiculous to me, it just seemed logical. And so, to mix it up and get a bit more creative, I decided to read the gospel of Matthew aloud to myself as Jesus telling me His own story as an english speaking Scotsman!
Now, if you’re not laughing, I would be surprised! I laughed too! A lot! I laughed aloud at the thought of it and I thought of how many people close to me would laugh if they could hear me doing this! But in all honesty, I felt there was really something in this. I really felt it was the Lord leading me to do this, to discover Him afresh and I sensed Him really having fun with me. This wasn’t silly, this was fresh! This was new! And ultimately, this was a genuine exercise (given by the Lord Himself I am convinced) in getting to know Jesus more intimately as my very real friend. And what do friends do together? They enjoy one another, don’t they. They share their lives with each other and have fun together. And that’s just what we were about to do.
So I started reading with a Scottish accent. Yep, I actually did it. Despite how I seemed to go in and out of a mix of Scottish, Irish and even Indian at times, (still with an unmistakable Aussie twang) it was captivating. Oh, how the scriptures came alive to me! It was as though I’d never heard them before! It was truly as though Jesus was sitting next to me on the couch, just telling me His story. He was telling me of His adventures with all the colour and delightful expression that our Scottish brothers and sisters are blessed with. And it was delightful indeed. I heard things in His story I’d never heard before. I saw Jesus in a way I’d never seen Him. I saw a whole new part of His personality through hearing different inflections, different emphasis and I heard His perspective differently. It was a fascinating and very moving tale that even moved me to tears at times when I heard my Lord’s story in a whole new light. I heard his heart ache for John the Baptist. I heard His repulsion over the acts of the Pharisees. I heard His patience and kindness towards His disciples. I saw His identity as the Son of God come as son of Man and how the two were intermingled. I saw His trust and security in His Father. I heard His compassionate heart for the lost. I heard His sense of deep rest. I couldn’t get enough so I pressed on for many chapters until I got tired.
Guys, this was so grand! It was a wonderful experience and I touched Jesus in a whole new way. I got to experience afresh the Lord’s sense of humour, creativity, His sense of adventure, His willingness to be with me and share Himself with me.
If you’re looking for a fresh way of touching Jesus as your friend through scripture reading, I thoroughly recommend giving this a go. Do as suggested and read the gospels in Jesus own words about Himself as outlined in my first paragraph above. And throw off religious restraints by throwing in an accent. If you are Scottish (my apologies for my poor reflection of your beautiful language and accent) try an Italian or Russian accent. Go crazy! You know, for me it just shook all the religion out of my bible reading. It threw it all off and I was in story time with Jesus.
I’m going to give you a taste with a few chapters that will hopefully make you smile, (and not laugh too hysterically) and see your Lord in a whole new light also. I encourage you to get your cup of tea or coffee, cast off the religious restraints, hit the play button and close your eyes as you listen. And let’s have fun with Jesus. He’s not religious at all, He is wonderful! I hope you enjoy Him in these recordings of Matthew Chapter 2 – 11 from the NIV.
- Recommended reading – There is a book called Jesus in His Own Words by Robert Mounce. I have never read it but I would very much like to. It looks like it’s near impossible to get a hold of it but even just clicking on this link will give you a little taste of it which might be enough to open up your creative juices into a new way of discovering Christ in the scriptures.
Go ahead. I dare you.