Jesus and the Scriptures (1)
He made it clear
that to believe in Him,
we must believe
the Bible as well
How should we view the Scriptures, and how should we come to them? Our answer to this question will basically decide our entire Christian life.
In a statement Jesus makes to the Pharisees, He gives us two basic principles in this regard. He is speaking especially of the books of Moses, which they so highly esteemed, but what He says applies to the entire Old Testament as well. He told them:
“If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
— John 5:46-47
So, first of all, according to Jesus, the Old Testament scriptures reveal Himself to us.
They show us so much of who Christ is and of the work He came to accomplish. So, we should learn to look for Christ in the Old Testament (cf. Luke 24:25-27, 45-47).
Second, He is telling us here that if we do not believe what is written in the Old Testament, we will not believe Him, either.
We may feel that can accept some of what the New Testament shows us about Christ, but not the more difficult parts of the Old Testament, since in these modern times we are too sophisticated and knowledgeable to believe all of that; it was clearly written for much simpler people in a much simpler time.
Jesus, however, does not leave us that option. According to Him, either we believe the whole Bible, or we don’t really believe it at all. And we certainly won’t be able to believe what He says in the New Testament.
In another portion of John’s Gospel He in essence makes the same point; Philip Mauro, in his excellent, concise book on the nature of the Bible, Life in the Word, (which you can also read online), points this out. In this passage Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus of his need to be born anew. Nicodemus, however, could not understand what He was saying, so Jesus said to him:
“If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”
— John 3:12
Here Jesus says that to believe the Bible when it speaks to us of “heavenly things,” we must first believe it when it speaks of “earthly things,” such as how God made the earth and all the living things upon it.
According to Jesus, then, if we think we can pick and choose what we believe in the Bible, taking some parts and rejecting the rest, we are profoundly mistaken.
But, just what does it means to believe the things that have been written?
That is what we will consider in our next Note in this series.
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— 15 December 2022 —