Reading the Bible and Missing God

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A Nugget from New Life Network

(excerpts by J. D. Walt of the Seedbed)

Scripture for the Day September 1, 2020

If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true. You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:31-40 (NIV)

As much as we love the Bible, we must agree—it’s not about the Bible. At the end of the day the question we must answer does not concern the Bible, but Jesus. We can read, ruminate, memorize, research, and get every question right, but if we miss Jesus in all that, we have missed the whole thing. However, if we miss the whole Bible and we get Jesus, we have got all we need. The whole purpose and point of the Bible is to introduce us to Jesus Christ and lead us in the way of following him into the Kingdom of God—on Earth as it is in Heaven. So, am I saying we do not really need the Old Testament? Nothing could be further from the truth. What do you think Jesus is talking about here? When he said, “These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.” He did not mean the Gospels or the Epistles. They did not exist when he said this. Jesus was talking about the Old Testament. In fact, anytime anyone in the New Testament references “the Scriptures,” they mean the Old Testament.

Though he will not be named, you will find Jesus in every book of the Old Testament. In fact, that is why we study the Old Testament—to find Jesus, to more deeply understand him, to better follow him, that we might love God with all that we are.

We should heed Jesus’ warning. As it was possible for the most devoted God seekers in the first century, it is the same for the most faithful Jesus followers in the twenty-first century. We can read the Bible with great frequency and intensity and be a million miles from Jesus.

The Bible can give us truth, wisdom, counsel, guidance, hope, encouragement, inspiration, caution, warning, rebuke, correction, and so on, but it cannot give us life. Only Jesus can give us life.

Let us keep that in focus!

 

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