Summary: People can search the Scriptures and sometimes still miss Jesus. 1)You may be wrong, but Jesus wants you to find the truth. 2)You may have missed the point, if Jesus is not THE point. 3)You may not have real life, but Jesus offers it to you now.
You May Be Wrong
Have you ever been wrong? I won’t tell.
People are often wrong. Most of the time, it is a result of misunderstandings and hasty decisions. Sometimes people are simply mistaken.
It can be funny to read some “bulletin bloopers” where people make mistakes in print:
--The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.
--Evening massage - 6 PM
--Thursday night - Potluck supper. Prayer and medication to follow.
--The third verse of Blessed Assurance will be sung without musical accomplishment.
--The choir will meet at the Larsen house for fun and sinning.
--Ushers will eat latecomers.
Today’s Scripture shows Jesus being confronted by a very antagonistic group. They are sincere in their beliefs, but Jesus tells them that they sincerely wrong in their beliefs. In the Scripture we find people strongly holding onto beliefs that Jesus says are not right. But Jesus doesn’t want them to stay that way.
All of us remember when Jim Bakker was at the top of the “prosperity gospel” game in the 80’s. He sincerely believed in what he was selling but after his great fall, he admitted in his autobiography, as his title exclaims, “I was wrong,” that he was wrong about "The idea that God wants Christians to be rich and wealthy.” Bakker wrote, "For years I had embraced and espoused a gospel that was branded ’prosperity gospel.’ I didn’t mind the label, on the contrary I was proud of it. ’You’re absolutely right!’ I’d say to critics... Look at all the rich saints in the Old Testament... I even got to the point where I was teaching..."Don’t pray, ’God, your will be done.’ You already know it is God’s will for you to have those things... when you want a new car, claim it." (page 532)
Christ didn’t want Bakker to continue in his sincere mistakenness and Christ would not have you to miss out either on His truth.
1. You may be wrong, but Jesus wants you to find the truth.
Jesus doesn’t want anyone to be wrong. This morning, our text clearly shows that Jesus wants us to search the Scripture for His truth. Read v. 39-40
The scene in our text is emotionally charged. It is the Sabbath, in Jerusalem, and Jesus has just healed a man, not by taking him into the healing waters of Bethesda, but simply by his own power. The religious scholars of the day did not like it and were confronting Jesus. Jesus attempted to give them every reason to believe in Him. He explained how John the Baptist witnessed of him, how the works he performed witnessed of him, and how the Father witnessed of him.
And then, he began to really touch their hearts when he began speaking of how the Holy Scripture witnessed of Jesus. You see, these religious scholars were devout men of the Word of God. They were highly intelligent men who counted every letter, weighed every word, and scrutinized every sentence of the Scriptures. But they were still strangers to the truth.
And how sad it must have made Jesus to find that these godly men of Jerusalem had spent their lives searching the Scriptures, but they had failed to find the Savior. What a tragedy it is for men and women to waste their lives in pursuit of truth, but find themselves only in bondage to their own thoughts and their own theories. (prev. two paragraphs from sermon by Morris H. Chapman, entitled “Search the Scriptures,” found in Draper’s Preaching with Passion)
John Wesley once said, “When I was young I was sure of everything; in a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before; at present, I am hardly sure of anything but what God has revealed to me.”
READ v. 39 again. Jesus is saying, “you may be wrong. Search again!”
One of our greatest examples of a search gone wrong is in Saul of Tarsus. He was a top student of the Law, a Jew of highest prestige and privilege, an activist for Judaism unlike many others. But he was wrong. And Jesus visited him on the Damascus road and set him straight. Saul changes his name to Paul when Jesus changes his perspective on the truth.
Have you had Jesus change you perspective lately? Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People had his perspective changed once on a subway in New York. He writes (pages 30-31 of Habits...:
People were sitting quietly—some reading newspapers, some lost in thought, some resting with their eyes closed. it was a calm, peaceful scene. Then suddenly, a man and his children entered the subway care. The children were so loud and rambunctious that instantly the whole climate changed.