Search The Scriptures
26 July 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: John 5:39-40(Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. (John 5:39–40 NLT)
Jesus continues his response to the harassment by the Jewish religious leaders. Keep in mind that the “Jewish leaders” John is referring to are the same people Matthew calls the “Pharisees and teachers of the law.” Different name, same game!
These were the most knowledgeable people of their generation in terms of the Law, the Prophets, the Wisdom literature of their “Scriptures.” Just like today, there were different interpretations and applications of the Scriptures depending on which sect or denomination of Judaism one was part of. These guys were the “conservatives” of their day and had a great deal invested in keeping things just as they’d been for the past few generations. They believed that their “superior” knowledge of the scriptures made them right, and that their interpretation of laws and prophecies was the only true interpretation. This is starting to sound familiar, isn’t it?
They knew all the stories about Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, the Prophets. They knew all the prophecies about the coming Messiah (In keeping with interpretive pluralism then and now, some think there are more than 400 Messianic prophecies, others set the number at 353. In any case, there’s a bunch of them!) They knew the prophecies, but they didn’t know God!
Jesus fulfilled all 353-400 Messianic prophetic promises in the OT, but the people who knew the promises best failed to recognize him. He didn’t meet their preconceived notion of how the Messiah would look and what the Messiah would do and say. Jesus was God in the flesh standing before them, but they didn’t recognize him because they didn’t know God! God fulfills his promises but not always our expectations.
Father, Please help my friends and me not to get caught in the “knowing a lot about God, but not knowing God” trap. Help us to recognize you when we see you, even if you don’t look, talk, and act like we expect you to. Jesus, we come to you to receive life! For the Kingdom’s sake. Amen.