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.
The issue is the glory of self which is the glory of man verses the glory of God (Jn. 12:43). This issue divides men still. The lack of belief in God and love for God always causes us to seek man’s approval.
III. BELIEF IN SCRIPTURES LEADS TO BELIEF IN JESUS, 45-47.
The final witness is contained in the next element of Jesus’ defense beginning in verse 45. "Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope.
Jesus came as the Savior, not as the Judge (3:17). It was unnecessary for Him to accuse the people. Moses, whom they claimed to follow, would condemn them because they had broken the covenant he instituted and missed the Person he wrote about. On whom your hopes are set implies that they thought salvation would come by their good deeds in keeping the Law. No one is saved by Law keeping. The law accuses us and exposes us as sinners.
Jesus’ accusation stung. The Pharisees prided themselves of being the true followers of Moses. Jesus warning that Moses would accuse them would make them furious.
The pharisees had deceived themselves into thinking they followed Moses or the writings of Moses. Verse 46 indicates that they actual disbelieved Moses. "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.
Moses was a great prophet of God who wrote the first five books of Scripture. His prophetic words about the Messiah are unequivocal (in Genesis 3:15 (quickview) 49:10; Exodus 12:21 (quickview) Leviticus 16:5 (quickview) Numbers 21:9 (quickview) 21:17; Deuteronomy 18:15 (quickview) ). Moses is the "patron saint" of Judaism, the defender of its people, an advocate on their behalf before God (see Moses’ farewell, Deut. 33). But, Jesus remarks, even Moses’ words have gone ignored. They were giving lip devotion to the words of Moses.
If the Jews really believed Moses, they would believe Christ, for Moses wrote about Him. Therefore Jesus says the Jews who reject Christ do not really believe what Moses has written.
Jesus here did not refer to any specific passage (Gen. 3:15; 22:18; 49:10; Num. 24:17; Deut. 18:15) or to any specific types (such as the Passover, the manna, the rock, the offerings, or the high priesthood). He simply stated that the Old Testament clearly points to Him. If it didn’t we would no longer do in-depth study of it.
Jesus says in verse 47 that the testimony of He and Moses are interrelated. "But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"
Moses was their constant reference and study. If these men did not really believe the things that Moses had written, then how could they have a frame of reference to believe the words of Jesus. Since Moses’ revelation was rejected (Luke 16:29-31 (quickview) ), Jesus’ words were also rejected (Mt. 5:17).
The fault of not discerning the drift of Bible teaching is not confined to the Jews. The Bible often arouses little honest heart-searching in us. We want to apply its rebukes and warning to others and not ourselves.
Deny or not heed the Sacred Writings and all is lost. Like Jesus story of the Rich Man and Lazarus ends, "He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead’" (Luke 16 (quickview) : 19-31).