(CLICK HERE to listen to the sermon on which this post is based.)
I got a new pair of glasses in the past month. My glasses are actually very similar to the ones I had before — so much so that my wife didn’t even notice them. They’re a slightly different color, a little taller, and they don’t bend nearly as much. For the first two weeks, however, these glasses were really bothering me. They hurt my nose, they pinched in on my ears, and they gave me headaches. Sure, I owned them, they were my glasses, but they weren’t “my glasses” yet. I had to break them in, or perhaps they had to break me in. Though they were mine and I was looking at the very same things, getting used to the small change in glasses through which I was looking at the world took time.
This is much like how we come to the Bible, and specifically for our purposes, Jesus’ parables. Whether we are aware of it or not, we read the Bible through our own lenses. None of us comes to the Bible objectively. Yes, the Bible is true and yes, there it points to Jesus as the one true God. But even as followers of Jesus, we each wear different lenses. We have experiences and culture and ethnicity and friends and family and presuppositions and previous sermons we have heard — all which we bring to our reading of the Bible. These are all good things. God speaks to us through the Bible and meets us where we are. But it’s important to acknowledge that we have a lens.
When we do so, we acknowledge that other people have different lenses that sometimes might feel a little uncomfortable when we first try them on, but can nevertheless give us another perspective on the Bible and the Jesus that we share. Acknowledging our multiple lenses doesn’t discredit what we see, but instead allows us to also incorporate what God is showing others. In this way, we are opening ourselves up to have a wider view of the breadth and depth of the Bible.