One of my favorite old-school TV shows is Quantum Leap. In fact, just recently I noticed that the replays are being shown on the sci-fi network and I confess that I have flipped there a time or two just to watch. (Last time I flipped there I saw Holly from The Office in her younger days. The Office returns!!!) Anyways, the basic point of the show is that this scientist Sam would “leap” into various people during critical times in their lives. He would inhabit that body (male/female made no difference) and experience their life in the given situation and help them through some sort of situation. His friend Al would visit him and give him a few background info and try to help Sam determine what the purpose of his “visit” would be. Sam would eventually save the day and “leap” into a new person. Got it? I hope so.
This past Tuesday at Chapel we had Dr. Steve DeNeff at chapel, and he preached on John 3, the story of Nicodemous encounter with God. While he was speaking he went through the encounters that regular people had with Jesus in the Gospel of John. As he was going along, he was telling us that when we read these stories that we need to leap into the story, and so in John 3 we become Nicodemus, coming under the cover of night, not wanting to be seen by your fellow Pharisees as actually acknowledging Jesus as coming from God, and then Jesus rocks your concept of God and subtly jabs you when he asks, “Are you a teacher of Israel and not know these things?” You are humbled and amazed about the idea of a new spiritual birth. In the next chapter, you are a Samaritan woman and Jesus tells you everything you have ever done. He tells you all your sins, and yet you are not repulsed by him, but attracted to his holiness, and so you begin to tell everyone about what Jesus has done for you.
This is one of the ways that we can read the Scriptures transformationally. We can leap into the story and allow scripture to speak for us. We can feel the humility of Nicodemus or the curious attraction of the Samaritan woman. This enables the Bible not to be a history book, but a Living Word. A Word that speaks to us. It is not just about something that happened back then, but something that is happening now to us.
I encourage you to try the Quantum leap method of reading the Bible. It is not the only way we should read the Bible, but it is a powerful way of letting the Text speak to us, enabling us to speak to the world.