The Big Story by Justin Buzzard
How does the Bible relate to life and why does it matter to us? These questions are at the heart of Pastor Justin Buzzard’s mind as he takes us the world of the bible and its story. Divided into five acts and eight chapters, The Big Story takes us into the larger narrative at work in the Bible starting with Jesus and ending with Life. The five acts that Justin describes follow this order: God, Creation, Rebellion, Rescue, and Home. Using insights from biblical and systematic theology, culture, and his own life, Justin weaves together a powerful case for the overarching story of the Bible centered upon Jesus and how God is making all things new.
Writing from a Silicon Valley context where work is king and ideas are bandied about, Justin gets to the heart of the issues pretty quick. In thinking about belief in God by writing, “But if you don’t believe in the God of the Bible, the Trinitarian, happy God, then you have to believe in something else that requires just as much (if not more) faith.” (30) Often, it takes more faith to believe in systems such as atheism or eastern philosophy because they ask you to give up your quest for answering truth by sticking to a concrete system of answers devoid of mystery. Justin commends a view of God as happy and not needing our existence to complete his being but offering his perfect love to us by creating us. Furthermore, “Becoming a Christian, choosing to believe the Big Story, is simply a matter of getting serious about the pursuit of happiness. It’s a matter of ditching the cheap pleasures that never satisfied in order to experience the happiness that we are designed to enjoy.” (33) Happiness in fellowship God is what we’re after, not a happiness dependent upon our bank accounts or life’s circumstances.
Justin has a wonderful way of describing grace that will help Christians from all backgrounds better imbibe the gospel. He writes, “This reminds us that followers of Jesus, those who know the reality of His grace, are called to go into the world and help these people know that same grace, to know Jesus. Followers of Jesus should be a community that is like the party from this parable – a celebration of grace that draws people in with joy, hope, and gladness.” (106) Grace is not a one-time event we experience and then put in our hip pockets, but an overflowing abundant gift we share with others out of the sheer grace that we have received. We are all prodigals and the Lord has called each believer to himself by grace, and oh are we thankful for this!! The ending section of the chapter on Rescue is important because it asks the question, “What kind of stories do people tell about how to fix their brokenness?” I think this question is important because quick fixes are inevitable in our culture, even when they cause devastating results. Secondly, the gospel is no quick fix but a message to let down your striving and receive God’s glorious grace. Too many times we make people are amazed that they don’t have to offer up anything for God’s grace but empty hands.
I really enjoyed this book and hope you will enjoy it also. Further chapters focus on the resurrection, God making all things new, and how we are supposed to live now that we know the Big Story. With keen insights and biblically faithful encouragement, Justin blazes a clear path to understand God’s story.
Thanks to Moody Publishers for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.