Jessica Albritton, Family Connections Minister, LHBC

John 5:37-47
37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

Once while in a small group with some 6th and 7th grade girls we were looking at the passage in Deuteronomy where Moses was speaking with Joshua. In the conversation Moses is encouraging Joshua that though he is not allowed to go into the promised land after their 40 year wandering in the desert, Joshua had no need to worry, for God would go before him. Moses encourages Joshua to be strong and courageous and to not fear. I looked at the girls and asked, “Now who can tell me why Moses was not allowed to go into the promised land?” One girl, without skipping a beat, responded, “Well, it was because Moses disobeyed God. And God looked at Moses and said, ‘look Moses, one, You’re REALLY old… and two, you disobeyed me… so you can’t go into the promised land.’” After a solid minute of laughter I finally looked at her and exclaimed, “His age had nothing to do with it girl!” To which she responded, “Well, you’re right… but he was REALLY old…” She was correct in her assessment but totally missed the point. 

The Jewish leaders in the New Testament had a tendency of missing the point too. There is a passage in the book of John chapter 5 where some religious leaders tried to trap Jesus. At the beginning of the passage Jesus healed a man by a pool. Leaders who had made it their life’s mission to study and understand Old Testament scripture approach Jesus and chastise him for healing a man on the sabbath. Based on their own interpretation of scripture they accuse Jesus, the Son of God Himself, of being unlawful. Now if that’s not ironic I don’t know what is… Jesus responds in verse 39 with, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” Jesus is essentially saying, ‘don’t you get it? The entire Old Testament, everything you have studied and committed your lives to, points to me. You missed the whole point…’ These men had spent their entire lives studying and preparing for the coming Messiah, yet when He came and was standing right in front of them they didn’t even recognize Him. 

If we are not careful we can fall into the same trap. When we approach scripture it must be with a desire to know Jesus better and to surrender our lives to Him. If we don’t the point becomes our understanding of scripture itself, not the Savior in which it points to. Studying the Word of God should alter more than just our minds, it should transform our hearts too. It’s not enough for us to merely learn the content within the pages of scripture if our love for Jesus doesn’t grow and we leave unchanged. 

Today let’s ask ourselves, when I walk away from my time in God’s Word is my mind full but my heart left unchanged? Or does the scripture permeate my life in such a way and leave me with a deeper love for Jesus? Do I leave with pride for all that I know about scripture or with humility knowing a perfect Savior who saved a wretched sinner like me?

Heavenly Father, help me not to miss the point! Lord, soften my heart to You and help me to become more and more like You. Lord help me in my study of You to leave not just with my mind filled with knowledge but with a heart transformed by the gospel. In Jesus name, amen!

1 Timothy 2:5-6
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.