Jesus at the heart of every story in the Bible - by Chris Damant

What is the first question you ask when you read a passage in the Bible?
Often, we are tempted to quickly figure out where we fit in. How should I behave? What should I believe? That might be a good end point, but it's rarely a good starting point.
A better question is to ask: how does Jesus fit into this passage?
The whole Bible is about Jesus. Both the New and the Old testaments - it's just sometimes you need to think a bit deeper to realise it in the Old Testament.
This way of reading the Bible has really helped me to understand the Bible better. Even to enjoy it. One of my favourite passages is the story of David and Goliath. You can read it 
You will probably be familiar with the basics. It's approx 1000BC and Israel is at war with the Philistines. The deal is that the Philistines will put forward one person, the infamous Goliath, and he will fight with one soldier from Israel. Whoever wins their individual battle seals the fate for the nation: if Goliath wins, then Israel will become the slaves of the Philistines and vice versa. The question is, who will fight for Israel?
Enter David. A small shepherd boy. An uninspiring choice perhaps, but God had recently decided to make him king. David was outraged at the way in which Goliath "defied the armies of the living God". He persuaded the current King, Saul, to allow him to fight so that "the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel".
Sure enough, David kills Goliath with a mere stone from a slingshot. He puts the victory all down to God, making it clear that it was God who gave him the victory. When the Israelites see Goliath fall, they rise up and destroy the rest of the Philistines, winning a decisive victory.
So, what do you make of this? Remember: first think about Jesus, then yourself.
There are quite a few parallels between Jesus and one of the characters in this story. Indeed, the whole story can actually be seen as a picture of the Gospel. When you think of David as a shadow, or type, of Christ, I think this interpretation is quite compelling.
In this story, David defeats the enemy (Philistines) to lead his people (Israel) to freedom (temporary). On the cross, Jesus defeats the enemy (Satan) to lead his people (the Church) to freedom (eternal).
You can draw other parallels, too: David and Jesus were both weak in the eyes of the world, but won great victories through their humility. Perhaps you can think of yet more.
Now we're ready for the final question: where do we fit in?
If David in fact represents Jesus, not us, then who represents us? In the above parallel, I suggested that the people of Israel represent the church today. When you read the story of David and Goliath, I think it's best to view yourself as merely one of the spectators, one of the soldiers lined up for battle watching David going out with his sling.
Look closely at what they do. They do not volunteer to defeat Goliath. They do not run out with David to help him. They just watch as David runs out, presumably quite scared as they know that his defeat means their death. They're putting their faith in David - though we can't know how willingly they did so.
And then... David wins! Goliath is defeated! The Philistines are defeated! They react triumphantly and rush forward to claim the victory.
I see two things for us in this:
1. You contribute nothing to your salvation. The Israelites stood by and watched as David won the battle. You read of the victory of Jesus won for you 2000 years before you were born. If you think you need to do something to gain God's acceptance or forgiveness, it's sort of like demanding a rematch with another philistine yourself. Foolish, much?
2. We should respond with joy to Jesus' victory. Perhaps the spiritual battlefield we are on doesn't feel as real as the physical battlefield back then. Sometimes, the significance of the Cross can be lost on us. It's a bit hard to imagine David's victory being insignificant to the Israelites though, isn't it! Do you realise the significance of the Cross? Do you know the peace, security and joy it can bring? 

Maybe try to imagine yourself on the battle field. See the stone sink into Goliath's head. Watch him fall. And realise that as Jesus died and rose again, a far bigger victory took place. For you. Eternally.
Happy new year :)
Note: I am grateful to Glen Scrivener who first explained this story to me. You can read his blog here: