Formations Lesson for January 16- God-s Word Points to Jesus
January 4 2011 by John Pond, associational missionary, West Chowan Baptist Association

Focal Passage: John 5:39-47

Perhaps one of the greatest mysteries in the scriptures lies within our text. How was it possible for Israel’s religious intelligentsia who had meticulously studied the scriptures to miss Jesus? They constantly, diligently searched them looking for life, but refused to recognize the results! Jewish rabbi, Hillel, once stated, “the more study of the Law the more life … if he has gained for himself words of the Law he has gained for himself life in the world to come.”

Where was the disconnect? Jewish scribes truly studied (the term implies keen scrutiny, tracking down the message) the scriptures devoting their whole lives to its interpretation and analysis. Sadly, it was not for discovering the truth, but simply for the minutia of the text.

They seemed more concerned with enumeration and semiotics, seeking the fullest meaning and significance of each word. They believed that by the intensive study of the scripture alone they would receive life.

Thus, more concerned with “jots and tittles,” the scribes ignored the message of that word. D.A. Carson writes, Jesus “insists that there is nothing intrinsically life-giving about studying the scriptures, if one fails to discern their true content and purpose.”

They had missed the important key to understanding scripture — i.e., Christ. How many today search the scriptures to find proof for their theology rather than allow Christ to speak and reveal himself through those scriptures? 

In light of Jesus’ challenge to the religious leaders, we are reminded that “the criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ,” for Jesus said to them, “it is they that testify on my behalf!” (5:39b).

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus told the parable of a rich man who lived in opulence and a beggar, Lazarus, who lived in poverty and disease. At death Lazarus went to Abraham’s bosom and the rich man to Hades. Suffering in Hades the rich man begged for relief (but a great gulf separated them) and for Lazarus to return to warn his brothers. Abraham makes this statement: “They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them … If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead” (Lk. 16:29, 31).

In order to fully understand the resurrection one must embrace the scriptures, reading and believing the scriptures which all point to Him, the final authority and ultimate interpreter of scripture. For in the end it will be those scriptures (“There is one who accuses you; Moses on whom you have set your hope” — Jn. 5:45) that will condemn. 

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1/4/2011 1:29:00 PM by John Pond, associational missionary, West Chowan Baptist Association | with 0 comments

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