NEW SERIES! 50 Biblical Viewpoints

50 sights and experiences that the folk from way, way back never forgot…

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

So here we are, up this mountain with the Thunder Boys and Rocky. Staring, mouths open, at the man in white, gleaming, pure, humble and powerful. Talking to the lawgiver and the prophet. The penny dropping, this man, this caring carpenter is now the new lawgiver, the new prophet, the new life-giver. And no good thinking of tents to contain him, can’t be boxed. He’s out there, free, in the dark and the light. The precious son, the chosen one. Inviting us to join his song. Always with us, unafraid of the grit and the grime, understanding the pain and the loneliness and the sadness.
Luke 9 v 28-36

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

He feels the gentlest of tugs, barely anything, and yet somewhere in the heavens there’s a surge of power. He glances round. Catches sight of the fingers, stains in the creases, sees the long-rejected, startled face looking up at him. This woman so small as she crouches there. So terrified. He places a hand on hers, lifts her out of the gutter. Smiles and encourages her as she steps into her new life.
Matthew 9 v 19-22

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

He looks at them, this restless crowd, sees them so clearly. Understands them so well. What they need. These shepherd-less sheep. Another way, a new way, a kinder way. A different rhythm of life. An unforced rhythm of grace. A place to offload life’s unfair pressures, a humble, kind traveller who will walk beside them every step of the way.
Matthew 11 v 28-30

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

A handful of food, a handful of trouble. If the law is more important than people and their well-being. The fingers point, the voices rise. He surveys the twisted faces, the foaming mouths. Can’t help thinking they have lost perspective. So focussed on making a fuss that they miss the bigger issues. Life, caring, and the Designer.
Matthew 12 v 1-8

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

The crowds have grown, the numbers are impressive. And many have a story about the change breaking into their lives. But he has a word of warning: ‘Don’t spread the word. Yet. The wrong people will get the wrong idea and plot the wrong future.’ He is not superman. He’s a human being fully alive. He’s vulnerable and living in tricky times. He knows how harsh life can be.
Matthew 12 v 15-21

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

The servant. The rescuer. The God who does not look at all like a god. The lifter of the shoved down, the comforter of the hurt. The nurturer of the smallest sign of hope. The quiet voice that cuts through the cacophony of ego.
Matthew 12 v 18-21

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

He longs for them to hear and see, does not want the days of Isaiah repeated. The days of hearts shut down and senses numbed. There is too much need, too much possibility, too much hope on offer. So he tells stories, woos his audience, offers wisdom and wonder wrapped in questions, mysteries and adventures.
Matthew 13 v 10-16

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

A tiny old seed, unimpressive, nothing attractive or desirable about it. Like stinging nettles or giant hogweed. And yet, this thing will not stop growing, and growing in the places that don’t look right. The gardener always at work, always inviting us to join in with him. The tiny seed that grows beyond all expectation. Offering shade and comfort, inspiration and challenge.
Matthew 13 v 31-32

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

John pays the price. Perhaps he knew it would be this way. He was a prophet after all. He would never see the day of the cross, the moment the sky darkens as his cousin gives all he has for everyone and everything. But John has been faithful. Stirred the people, beaten a new track for his cousin to walk. A new path for us to walk, as we follow the dying, rising man.
Matthew 14 v 1-12

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

A feast for everyone. A meal for all. The world invited. A global party. Poor, rich, sick, well, weak, strong, educated and ignorant, influential and unknown. An open door. Welcoming arms. Bread and fish, water and wine, milk and honey. Food and drink. Life and love. Truth and hope. Walls tumbled, borders crossed.
Matthew 14 v 13-21, Isaiah 55

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

‘Let nothing be lost,’
Jesus said to his friends,
‘gather the crumbs, rescue them.’
Let nothing be wasted
from the days, nights and years.
Bring them to Jesus, the one who hears.
John 6 v 12

The stalls no longer shut up, gates sagging open as a new sun rises and the shadows shorten. The rampant, raucous sound of calves free, waking up the still sleeping. Leaping, celebrating. No longer locked in loss and lack of love. The new days, the shackles shattering. The promise.
Malachi 4 v 2

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

Is he or isn’t he? The sight of this ragged, leather-bound scarecrow, ranting, pointing, verbally slamming the greedy and powerful up against a wall, makes them wonder. Sweat and baptismal water drip from his face, righteous anger explodes like a flood from his mouth. Is he the one? Could he be? The road clearer, the rubbish destroyer, the way-making prophet?
Mark 1

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights
Not what she thought she’d see. Not what he expected either. Not what they imagined. Nothing is as anticipated. Nothing seems holy about it. Yet here they are. In the darkness and the dust, surrounded by the smell of sheep. With this new Life. Tiny, yet with a capital L.
Luke 2

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

A sight no one saw. Everyone too busy being busy. They missed it. The moment when God arrived. Cradled. Nursed. Protected. The world too caught up with its own agenda. The place bustling, important, cocky. Oh… but two heads turn. Two folks catch the sight. They’ve been waiting. They hurry over, smiling…
Luke 2 v 21-38

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

He’s out there now. Playing in the street. Messing about with the other kids. Tagging, running, laughing, hiding, bantering. Being young. Popular. Another boy about town. The seconds ticking by as life shapes him, as he collects scrapes, stories, experiences, understanding, empathy and memories. An arsenal for those three years to come.
Luke 2 v 40 & 52

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

They stare, slack-jawed, mouths like craggy caves. These leaders, with their training and authority. Are they hearing right? Is this really coming from a boy of 12? A mere scrap of a village kid? How? How does he know? How can his eyes be so alive with such truth and wisdom? The words fall from his lips like a pure song of new life, a hopeful melody offering more than truth. Laced with compassion. Love.
Luke 2 v 41-51

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

So many sights going unrecorded, so many snapshots missing from the full album. There is just not room. Too many bursts of wonder, too many scenes of dancing transformations. Too many wide eyes and startled expressions. So we catch a glimpse, see a brief collection. And the snapshots continue, not room enough to tell of them all, down the ages, across the globe, today, here, now.
John 21 v 25

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

They look a sight. But then wouldn’t we all. Spirits bowed, courage on the blink, hope a shrunken mess. Some of them chew on their nails. Surely there is no way out. It’s all over. And yet… if one person could find faith, if one person could step up with courage and a prayer… no matter how small, then perhaps… just maybe…
1 Samuel 17

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

The sound of grunting fills the cave. David glances at his men, they urge him on with jabs of the head. Go on. Do it! David reaches for his sword. Takes a look at the indisposed king, squatting in the dark. One swift slice and it’ll all be over. But David shakes his head. There has to be another way. He won’t become like his enemy.
1 Samuel 24

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

A group gathered in the shade, frowning, nodding, listening, smiling. Recognising truth when they hear it. Seeing a way forward through the ghostly sludge of their lives. One leaves another comes. The heavy hearted slump down, only to rise wide-eyed with a fresh way forward. Some folks are like this, they see clearly, they don’t bow to gossip and peer-pressure. They have a way with words.
Judges 4 v 4-5

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

He surveys the vision in his mind, and the charts and lists on the table before him. It’ll be magnificent, a world wonder. But he can’t build it. That’s for his son. However, he can do what he can, pave the way, help out. He pushes aside that twinge of regret and gets to work.
1 Chronicles 22 v 2-5

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

The sky on fire, the sun setting the horizon ablaze. The vibrant majesty of that event, that odyssey, incandescent and moving across the miles, like an athlete breaking all records. A bride and groom rejoicing at the warmth breaking into their lives. Each day a new beginning, each glimpse the reminder of light dawning in the darkness.
Psalm 19

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

That sudden moment of truth. The story turning, the tale twisting, in a most unexpected way. Events taking a u-turn. Exhilaration flooding the senses. Just when all seemed lost, when the trap seemed shut and the doors of doom beckoned. Freedom! A smile! A way out!
Psalm 124 v 7

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

Creation stretches before him, a big screen epic, the birth of oceans, the rise of stars and planets, the genesis of everything as bronze-boned behemoth and fire-snorting leviathan roar and wrestle. The tamed and the untamed bursting across the canvas, daubing the new day. And, in amongst life’s troubles, he finds, not solutions, but an encounter. A meeting that helps and changes him.
Job 40 & 41

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

That terrible moment of realisation, the penny dropping across the universe, that this was not enough. A new start quickly tarnished, a blank page spoiled, a new dawn with the shine taken off. Noah lies there. Out of it. And his son shows no respect. Same old story. Selfish fingers taking hold. There will have to be another way. Another new dawn.
Genesis 9 v 20-23

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

A new song… of honesty, courage, faith and integrity. About the trouble and the hope and the wonder. Heartfelt, raw, holding nothing back. Leading us somewhere, taking us through the darkest night and the colours and barbs of life’s jungles. Real. Not manufactured. Fierce, joyful. A new song.
Psalm 139

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

They look a sight. But then wouldn’t we all. Spirits bowed, courage on the blink, hope a shrunken mess. Some of them chew on their nails. Surely there is no way out. It’s all over. And yet… if one person could find faith, if one person could step up with courage and a prayer… no matter how small, then perhaps… just maybe…
1 Samuel 17

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

When he was weak, aware of his own frailty, he looked to God for everything. Now he feels strong he has forgotten those days, mislaid the wisdom and sense. Now he ploughs on regardless. Self-reliant. Mistaken. Blundering. Reckless.
Judges 8

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

Two refugees, empty pockets, empty lives. One bitter and despairing, the other carrying courage and hope. They trudge on, into the unknown. The younger refusing ever to abandon the older. She will be kindness, strength, the believer who will bring her mother-in-law back to life.
Ruth 1

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

‘When I first set eyes on her I wasn’t convinced. I looked at her clothes, and her expression, and the way she walked. And my mind was quickly made up. I had no idea. No idea. Could not see who she really was, a woman with courage and faithfulness who would rescue me. Reach down and lift me out of the dark well of my loss and despair. Not because she was strong, because she cared.’
Ruth 1-4

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

You never know what small good thing might be the first step, the first building block, to a bigger world. Boaz nudges his men as he glances across the field. ‘Leave a few scraps when you work. Let her gather up what’s left over.’ Soon he will be marrying this strange woman, soon she will bear his child. A family line that will never end.
Ruth 2

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

Gruesome’s not the word. Red and grey matter seep out, squeezing past the wood of the peg. The face contorted with surprise, the twisted mouth on the verge of cursing, silenced forever. Jael wipes sweat from her brow, glances at the red-spattered hammer and throws it aside. The tyrant is dead. Oppression defeated. Let peace break out. Let hope rise.
Judges 4

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

The man’s shadow is so large it engulfs him entirely. His eyes blaze with authority and dazzling light. Better not argue. And yet… surely he must have made a mistake. This stranger is massive, and here he is calling this tiny youngster, ‘Mighty warrior!’ Is it a joke? Or does he know something Gideon does not? Can someone so small make any difference?
Judges 6

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

When they went to sleep last night all they had seen was desert. Grainy brown and stretching forever. Now, this morning, it has turned white and lumpy. Something has carpeted the sand. The children run and grab a chunk, throw it to one another as if it were a new sport. Then, abruptly, one of them rips a piece and chews. A mother runs to make him spit it out. But it’s too late. He has eaten and is smiling. Breakfast.
Exodus 16

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

His feet are wet. He can see them suddenly glistening as the water is pooling around his sandals. The crowd gasp, applaud, wide-eyed, their complaining forgotten. He looks at the staff in his hand, then raises his head to the skies, sees only blue up there. But he whispers a prayer. Then turns his attention back to the craggy, gushing lump. Folks are running forward now, flasks in hand. They push him aside and gather at the place where he just struck the stone.
Exodus 17

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

He sighs, the very sight of all these people makes him feel tired. Must he do this? Why is this burden on his shoulders? He hears a footfall, turns to see his father-in-law, just as the man places a hand on his shoulder. He puffs out his cheeks, shakes his head, and gestures towards the massive crowd. ‘This is too much,’ Jethro sighs, ‘this is daft. Have you never heard of delegation? All good leaders delegate, you know.’
Exodus 18

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

They have only ever been property until now. Slaves, handled as if they were shovels of muck. Used, passed around, worn out and discarded. Now things will change. Now, as they stand there gazing up this holy mountain, they are on the verge of change. They are about to learn what it means to be human, to be fully alive. The precepts, the guidance, the boundaries of hope, purpose, wisdom and compassion. Just so long as they don’t lose the plot and give up on the waiting.
Exodus 20 & 32

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

He’s a big man, knows his own strength, but as he eyes his shadow, smudged large in the dirt, he senses a whisper. Looks around to see who it is. No one. He listens once more, tunes his spirit. The whisper is there again, a divine kind of nudge. A knowing comment. He may look powerful, undaunted, fierce even. And yet… ‘Be strong and courageous, no need to fear, I am with you, every step, don’t be dismayed or belittled, keep going… put your trust in me…’
Joshua 1

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

They nudge one another, gape at the river as it splits and folds back on itself. He looks like Moses. That’s the first thought the people have. Their new leader doing just what the old one did. Stopping the flow of water. He beckons to the priests, gives them no reason to argue. Tells them to stand where the water used to be, and stay there, as a sign of courage and hope, until everyone has crossed.
Joshua 3

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

They crouch behind the building, their hearts beating like frantic drums as they take one sneaky look after another. Is it safe? They look again. It’s all quiet. One steps forward, followed by the other. In the dim gloom of dusk the street appears empty. They run to the door. Beat on the wood. Pray that the face appearing will be friendly. They find themselves gazing into heavily painted eyes. No smile, but there is kindness tucked away in there somewhere.
Joshua 2

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

Will they remember? Will they bother to look up? Is the sign big enough? Bright enough? Or is this the end of everything for her and her family? Just a smudge in history. She secures it again, checks that it won’t blow away. This is her slim lifeline, her ticket to a new future. Outside the soldiers gather. She’s tempted to shout, to call out. If there is no sign in the next five seconds, she’ll do something. Five, four, three, two… A shout. A finger pointing right at her. She breathes out. Hasn’t done that for a minute or two…
Joshua 6.22 & Hebrews 11.31

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

They look, as much with their ears as their eyes, soaking up every new sound. Every bright beautiful sight. The colours, the vibrancy, the very land breathing, full of the fresh new air. The cooing, the singing, the roaring, hissing, babbling, trickling. Everywhere there is something to absorb. Something to soak up. A new world. A brand new life. The creator’s fingerprints everywhere.
Genesis 1

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

They squint as she twists the object in her hands, the sunlight bouncing off it. He’s never studied it this close up. Smelt the aroma, imagined the sweet taste, seen his face in the bright, polished surface. They look up at each other. Stare deep into one another’s eyes. The promise hangs in the air between them, gnaws at their shared imagination. This could change everything. Will change everything. They look again. Each take a bite.
Genesis 3

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

He looks down at the pool around his feet. Thick, wet, sticky, dark. Overhead the clouds blot out the sun for a moment and the world plunges into a kind of grey gloom. He looks at the rock in his hand, garnished now with bits of skin and hair. And red. Startling splashes of red. He looks down again. At his brother. His dead brother. Killed by a tsunami of jealousy, rage, lack of self-control. And the beast lurking in his heart.
Genesis 4

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

He looks up. A cloudless sky. Beneath him the deck creaks. His handiwork not long finished. Somewhere in the background there’s the sound of a sneeze. His wife he thinks. Then a snort. Probably not his wife. More likely a boar. This is the moment to hold his nerve. Not blink. Keep the faith. Below he can see passers by sharing jokes at his expense. He can feel his cheeks starting to burn. Then… he spots it. A single drop. A tiny wet explosion on the back of his hand. Overheard the sky is suddenly crowded with clouds.
Genesis 6

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

They wipe dust from their eyes and sweat from their brows. Not long now. Nearly done. Soon the heavens will come into view, soon the tower will stretch up to the door of the gods, and they will be able to prize it open and force their way in. Soon they will see the fruits of their labours. What’s that sound? They both look down, the ground is shaking a little. Other workers are running for cover. The tower is starting to shiver as the world trembles. It’s coming down. Along with their vain aspirations.
Genesis 11

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

He narrows his eyes and stares at the horizon. That, apparently, is where he is headed now. Into the great unknown. Away from the little gods, familiar life and old ways. Into a new day, a new way of being, a strange land. Into the future. For the sake of his family. Of every family. Each footstep a move towards the blessing. The new day.
Genesis 12

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

He looks at the knife in his hand. The bloody streaks on it. At the boy dusting himself off beside him. The dead ram. He presses his hands to his face, pulls it away and looks at the wet fingers. He sniffs as more tears come. The relief. The extraordinary relief. His son is alive. This longed-for, ached-for child. This beautiful boy. Almost as if he has been resurrected. Death beaten. Not the victor after all. Clearly his God wants a different kind of sacrifice.
Genesis 22

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

His face is in the dirt. Can barely see a thing. He can taste the sand and the grit in his mouth. This intruder is stronger than he expected. Perhaps this will be the end of him. He’ll die here sucking on sand rather than fresh air. Just when he figured he’d got it all worked out, how to soothe his brother’s rage and sneak back into the family home. But no. Here he is, pinned to the ground by a stranger. He gives an almighty heave, spins across the floor and breaks free. Come on then big guy, we can wrestle all night if we have to…
Genesis 32

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

The men sneer and watch the proceedings wide-eyed. Really? This is really a good idea? To label him the favourite amongst ‘equals’? The material swishes and swirls as the boy turns. A naive smile smeared across his features. He’s loving every minute of it. Unlike his brothers who would rather see him in a box than a new coat. Their father looks to them for confirmation, but only Judah manages a small smile and a nod.
Genesis 37

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

He cannot quite believe he is standing here now looking at this regal face. The splendour, the opulence, the jewels. His eyes flit side to side to take in the wonder of his surroundings. From four bare walls to this. The king speaks and he drags his gaze back. He needs help and apparently Joe is the man. He listens, nods, says a silent prayer and begins his interpretation.
Genesis 41

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

It’s not an unusual sight. Happens all the time. Yet something draws his interest. He steps closer to look. There are flames and the sound of crackling, yet nothing is being swallowed up. The wood is not being destroyed. He bends down and as he does so someone speaks. He swivels around, thinking that a bandit might have crept up on him. No one there. And yet the voice speaks again. And more, it knows his name. Slowly, so slowly, he brings his eyes back to the burning bush.
Exodus 3

5 0 V i e w p o i n t s
50 Memorable Biblical Sights

The people gape, their mouths open like dark caves. The children rub at their eyes, take a second look. They are still there. Reaching skyward. As if someone has propped the watery walls with huge invisible sticks. They look at the soft wet sand. Dare they take a step or two? Will the sea suddenly turn on them and wash them all away. Moses points across the gap towards dry land. A few brave folks step out. Little by little, one by one, step by step, the multitude follow.
Exodus 13

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