"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
Telling the Whole Story is both a book about preaching and reading the narratives of the Hebrew Bible. John C. Holbert (PhD in Hebrew Bible) was a longtime teacher of preaching and Hebrew Bible at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, having retired in 2012 after thirty-three years. In this volume he combines his two skills of careful narrative reading and imaginative story preaching to offer the first comprehensive look at this particular kind of sermon proclamation. The reader will also find here an introduction to the long history of story preaching in the history of the church, as well as a primer both in ways to read the narratives more effectively and ways to preach several varieties of story sermons.
At the heart of this book four narratives from the Hebrew Bible are exegeted and are accompanied by four story sermons based on those texts: Genesis 2-3; 1 Samuel 15; Judges 4; and Jonah. The goal of the book is to help preachers who are looking for effective ways to proclaim the gospel using narrative texts from the Hebrew Bible to allow the rich stories of the texts to sound their ancient truth to the modern world.