Sunday, September 28, 2014

The scriptures reveal Jesus

"And He said to them, 'O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?' Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." (Luke 24:25-27)
Of all the things we can aspire to learn, know, and understand, the knowledge of Jesus is the greatest and most beneficial of all. The central point of all of history is the appearing of Jesus along with His ministry, death, and resurrection. All of history past leads up to, and look forward to, this point and all of history beyond looks back at to His coming and the immutable changes that he brought to the history of mankind. With the coming of Jesus everything changed; man would never be the same and the world and its history would forever be changed. Nothing has effected human history more than the life of Jesus.

The scriptures present a history of God's redemptive work among mankind and, as such, its central set piece is Jesus. Just as all of history either looks forward or backwards to Jesus, so the scripture both prophesies of His coming, records His time here among us, and looks back to who He was, what He said, and what He did. Jesus is the central theme and aim of all the scriptures. To know the scriptures and yet fail to know Jesus is to know nothing and to be completely ignorant of the fundamental teachings and import of the scriptures themselves. This is why Jesus rebuked those who searched the scriptures for their own ends but refused the knowledge of Jesus. "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life." (John 5:39-40)

There are many people today who claim to know what Jesus would do or what Christianity is all about but who have never actually meet and come to know the real Jesus, the Jesus of history. There are those who oppose capital punishment, preserving the traditional definition of marriage, deporting illegal aliens, and prosecuting wars oversees because the believe it is not what Jesus would do, yet how do they know this? How can they know what Jesus would do and approve of if they have never come to actually know Him? Some people seem to have a fairy-tail view of Jesus who's motto is "hakuna matata" and who's favorite song is "que sera sera". They feign an understanding of Jesus but have never meet Him in the historical accounts of His life and teachings, and this ignorance extends even into the church. How many believers would say "God would never do that" yet who have never actually read and learned what God actually did and said?

In truth, as believers, we have the work of the Holy Spirit within us to teach us the things pertaining to Christ. Jesus said that, in part, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to reveal Jesus to us. "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you." (John 16:12-15) John further testified that, as believers filled with the Holy Spirit, we no longer need someone to teach us about God. "As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him." (1 John 2:27) Yet this was also the same John who felt it necessary to write his memoirs and letters to the churches so that they might know what he saw, heard, and experienced as he lived and walked with Jesus. "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life... what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete." (1 John 1:1-4)

No matter how deep our spiritual knowledge of Jesus might be it will never replace the necessity of us knowing the Jesus of the scriptures and from reading the first hand accounts of those who lived with Him and heard His message. Our spiritual knowledge of Jesus is incomplete if we lack the historical context of God's salvation as presented and recorded in the scriptures. We need to understand the scriptures that we might properly understand Jesus, His words, and His deeds in a proper context in the larger redemptive work of God. Only with this greater knowledge of the truth will we come to know and understand the answer to the question, "what would Jesus do?" Jerome said, "I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: Search the Scriptures, and Seek and you shall find. Christ will not say to me what he said to the Jews: You erred, not knowing the Scriptures and not knowing the power of God. For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." (Jerome, Prologue to his Commentary on Isaiah) It is time for us to move from ignorance to a full knowledge of Christ.

David Robison

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