It has been said that every good movie, play or book has three overarching components that make it work. These components could be summed up as "Yes! No! But wait...."
Think about a classic movie like Braveheart. The Yes part is when William Wallace grows up, comes back to Scotland and marries the girl. The No part is when her throat is slit by the evil English magistrate. The rest of the movie is the But Wait part. During this phase William Wallace exacts his revenge on Longshanks, the tyrannical king of England.
If you look closely enough you will see this simple three part outline in any book worth reading or any movie worth watching. The Yes creates connection. The No creates tension. the But Wait creates resolution.
In the ultimate play of history an overarching plotline has been formed. The Father is the screenwriter and director. The Son is the starring actor and the Holy Spirit is the silent, but hands on, producer.
The plot starts with a great big "YES!" in the Garden of Eden. It begins with Jesus on a creation rampage. For six days he is declaring "let there be" and there was. Let there be light! Let there be land! Let there be sea! Let there be sun, moon and stars! Let there be fish, birds and animals!
And it was all good.
But the Yes part of the program is not finished. It culminates with Jesus kneeling in the dirt and forming a man made of mud. What a beautiful picture, the Creator of the universe kneeling in the mud, sculpting the first man. And, in a dramatic scene of wonder, Jesus breathes into his nostrils the breath of life.
When Adam opens his eyes the first thing he sees is the muddy, smiling face of the second person of the Trinity. But there are more yeses to follow...
YES! Jesus creates Eve. The breath Jesus gave to Adam, this beauty took away!
YES! Adam and Eve rule the garden, revel in each other's love and relax in God's splendor.
But then the great big NO slithers into the scene in the form of a serpent. The temptation is offered and taken. The fruit is bitten and digested. The presence of Jesus is replaced with the shackles of sin.
Evicted from the garden and spiritually bankrupt, humanity struggles to find hope. We fail again and again to resolve the seemingly irreversible plot twist of utter depravity.
God gives his standard. Can we measure up? NO! God gives his commands. Can we keep them? NO! God offers us a sacrificial system. Can we keep up with the demand? NO! There are too many sins and not enough sheep.
Humanity is on a highway to hell. The plot thickens and redemption seems hopeless.
What is that baby we hear crying? It is the Son of Man wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Who is that boy we hear talking in the temple? It is Jesus, confounding the teachers of Israel with divine wisdom.
Where is that sound coming from? Its rising from the crowd of Israelites rejecting their Messiah, screaming for him to be crucified.
Who is that woman weeping by an empty tomb? It is Mary. But her tears are turned to joy when she sees Jesus...alive.
What is that message we are hearing declared across the nations? It is that through faith alone in this crucified, risen and soon-returning Jesus that we have forgiveness, restoration and eternal resolution to the conflict of history and our souls.
The plot is still resolving. Someday soon it will come to an utter climax and conclusion when Jesus returns once and for all. And that end will just be the beginning.