Thursday, July 23, 2015

Jesus Loved the Scriptures

* One of the occasional meditations I write for our church bulletin.

Jesus loved the scriptures.  When he was being tempted by the devil he turned to the Scriptures repeatedly to answer the temptation.  In the very midst of that temptation Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 8.3: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”  Jesus saw the Scriptures as the word which proceeds from the mouth of God.  When Jesus began his ministry he again turned to the Scriptures to define his calling and describe his ministry.  He quoted from Isaiah 61.1-2 and declared that its fulfillment was to be found in him (Luke 4.14-21).  In his on-going arguments with religious leaders Jesus repeatedly pointed to the Scriptures as his authority.  He declared that “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10.35) and when his opponents refused to see the truth he could simply declare, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?” (Mark 12.24).  When asked about which commandment is the greatest Jesus, again, pointed to the Scriptures (Mark 12.29-31 quoting Deuteronomy 6.4-5 and Leviticus 19.18). 

Jesus understood the ancient Scriptures to be not merely the words of men but also the word of God.  Notice how he refers to Psalm 110.1:

David himself said in the Holy Spirit, “The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies beneath your feet.”

Jesus recognizes that the words of David are spoken “in the Holy Spirit”—there is both a human element and a divine element.  And the human and divine do not cancel each other out.  At other times Jesus could simply quote the Scriptures and say “God said…” (Matthew 15.5) thus showing his view of the Scriptures—they are the very words of God.

In his pain on the cross Jesus would again turn to the Scriptures to give vent to his suffering—“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22.1).  After his resurrection he did not stop looking to the Scriptures.  Rather he taught his disciples how to read the Scriptures rightly so as to see him in the fullness of God’s revelation (Luke 24.44-47).

If we would be faithful followers of Jesus Christ then we should also adopt his view of the Scriptures.  May we see them and honor them as the very word of God by which we live.