Summary: Openness to God precedes the reception of Scripture truth. We are not to guide Scriptures, they are to guide us...to God. We are not to make Scriptures say what we think or want them to say, but let them say what God desires to reveal.
JOHN 5: 39-47
THE WITNESS OF THE SCRIPTURES
The previous passage tried to teach us that openness to belief must precede the reception of truth. Now John affirms that openness to God precedes the reception of Scripture truth. Scriptures are not to be guided by men but are to guide us to God. We are not to make Scriptures say what we think or want them to say, but let them say what God desires to reveal. To close our self off from God will close the true teachings of Scripture off to us.
Additionally simply reading or listening to Scripture is not enough. We need to listen to Jesus speaking to us out of His word. When we hear Jesus speaking to us in His Word we need to allow Him to change our perspective which will change our life. Jesus leads us to life through our receptivity to His word.
I. THE SCRIPTURES TESTIFY OF JESUS, 39-40.
II. SEEK THE GLORY THAT IS FROM GOD, 41-44.
III. BELIEF IN SCRIPTURES LEADS TO BELIEF IN JESUS, 45-47.
Intense Scripture study was intended to lead us to Christ. Verse 39 relays that the Scripture is a witness to Jesus. "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;
Jesus adds the Scriptures to His list of witnesses for Him. First-century Judaism studied or painstaking scrutinized the Scriptures. They knew what the Scriptures said, in fact they intently scrutinized them, but they failed to apply its teachings to their lives. Jesus says His contemporaries did not see the central message about the Messiah, about Jesus, and how He fulfills the Scripture and bring the peoples to God. He was plainly there, the Scripture bore witness to Him. Had they rightly understood the Scriptures they would have recognized the truth of His claim.
They search the Scriptures thinking this was the way to find eternal life. There is no life in the letter of Scriptures themselves. We must follow where they lead and they lead us to the Messiah, the Servant of the Lord. It is He who gives us life. We find life not in the Scriptures themselves but in Him. Once we know Him, He then transforms our life through knowing and following the Scriptures.
They were legalistically bound to the letter but failing to grapple with its thought. The great truths of the Bible never penetrated their heart. Entrenched in their own religious system they would not let the Spirit of God change their lives. May we never be so involved in religion that we miss Jesus Christ.
Luke shows a fascinating story about how the Scriptures reveals Jesus. In Luke 24 when Jesus comes to Emmaus He there opens "Moses and all the Prophets" to these two disciples (Luke 24:27), who came understand all that the Scriptures taught of Jesus Christ. May Christ be so gracious to teach us also all that the Scripture say of Himself.
We can analyze, organize, and classify the Scriptures, yet miss the primary purpose for which they were given. The Bible is the written revelation of God’s will, and it’s intention is to acquaint us personally with the one to whom it bears witness-Jesus Christ.
[I read a story about an 18-year-old boy who was deeply interested in Scientific subjects, especially astronomy. So his father bought him a very expensive telescope. Since the young fellow had also studied optics, he found the instrument to be most intriguing. He took it apart, examined the lenses, and made detailed calculations on the distance of its point of focus. He became absorbed in gaining a technical knowledge of the telescope itself that he never got around to looking at the stars. He knew a lot about that fine instrument, but he missed seeing the wonders of the heavens.
Perhaps someone is anticipating my application by saying, "Ah, but don’t forget, we must rightly divide the word of truth.’" Yes, indeed! And I m not suggesting for a moment that an accurate and careful study of the Bible is unnecessary. Reading the Word without considering to whom it was written and just what is being said can lead to a wrong interpretation. However, to know all figures contained in the Bible is not the end for which God has given us this Book.]
The needle on a compass and the arrow of a weather vane have something in common. Both indicate the direction of natural powers. In a much broader sense, the books and writers of the Bible point to the person and power of Jesus. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the Bible. He is the constant theme of its sacred pages. From first to last, they testify of Him. At the creation, we discern Him as one of the sacred Trinity. We catch a glimpse of Him in the promise of the woman’s seed. We see Him typified in the ark of Noah. We walk with Abraham as he sees the Messiah’s day. We dwell in the tents of Isaac and Jacob, feeding upon the gracious promise. We hear the venerable Israel talking of Shiloh. In the numerous types of the Tabernacle and its sacrificial law, we find the Redeemer foreshadowed. The Prophets, kings, priests, and preachers all look to Jesus though dimly as through a veil. They stand as the cherubs did over the ark of the covenant, desiring to look within and read the mystery of God’s great redemption of man. In the New Testament, our Lord is the one pervading subject. The whole substance of the New Testament is Jesus crucified. Even its closing sentence is bejewelled with the Redeemer’s name. We should always read Scripture in this light. We should consider the Word to be as a window through which we see Jesus. His likeness is dim, but it is still a blessed preparation for when we will see Him face to face. The Bible contains Jesus Christ’s love letters to us. The Scriptures are the swaddling bands of the holy child Jesus. Unroll them and you find your Savior. The essence of the Word of God is Christ. [Spurgeon, Adapted]