This week’s devotions are based on Week 2 of the Fresh Start Series: I Have a New Perspective (WATCH HERE)
John 5:39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
You can study the Scripture and miss the whole point.
Many individuals in classrooms of secular learning have opened the Bible to study it as a historical document. They have diligently read, studied hard, and offered “educated” opinions on authorship, age, and authenticity. They evaluated the text from a historical critical point of view which left question as to whether it is genuine to the time period or an insertion or change later in time. Tests were taken. Papers were written. But many if not most, missed the point.
Many individuals in classrooms of religious learning have opened the pages of Scripture and memorized the people and the history of the book. They have learned to spell the books of the Bible, perhaps even memorized a good number of passages. They too have discussed the detail of Bible stories, the interplay of God with humanity and mused about the meaning of it all. But there too many miss the point.
Many individuals in the quiet of their own homes read the Bible out of question or curiosity. Perhaps many with a genuine intent to get help with a problem, find the secrets to life, or determine if current news headlines are fulfillment of Revelation’s words have spent hours in contemplation and days of deep thought. Others have mined the pages for the moral code to follow to get a better standing in the afterlife, make sure they are “good with God” or otherwise find the pathway to heaven based on the performance of their lives. Unfortunately they have missed the point as well.
Diligent study of the Scripture without the Spirit-given focus on Christ is a study in academia or a personal quest for understanding and guidance, but it misses the point of which all of Scripture testifies.
With the wrong perspective, we will miss the point.
As Jesus interacted with the religious leaders of his day, he knew they were diligent in their studies of the Scripture. They spent countless hours seeking to understand the patterns and behaviors of life that would earn them a spot in the presence of God. Their intentions were real, and their effort strong, but Jesus clearly says, “You are missing the point.”
They refused to see Jesus as the Messiah and fulfillment of all the Old Testament scriptures and as a result they refused to believe that Jesus was the promised one and the only way to enjoy the eternal life with God that they were seeking.
We don’t want to miss the point. By God’s grace he opens our eyes to the very perspective that Jesus tried to get the religious people of his day to see: All of the Bible centers on and focuses on the saving life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To miss Jesus in the Bible is to miss the whole point of the Bible. And when we miss the point of the Bible, we miss the joy, the peace, the grace, the forgiveness, that God gives us through his Son, recorded in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
But we wouldn’t have figured this out on our own. To see Jesus as the center and central message of the Bible, is a gift of God’s Spirit. It is only through the new perspective he gives that we can see the gift the Bible is, a gift that shows us that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Apply: Next time you read a section of Scripture, ask these questions: What does it tell me about Christ? What does it tell me Christ did for me? What does it tell me about what it means to live for Christ?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your Spirit who gives me a new perspective to see all of the Bible as your Word of truth that points me to the One of all truth, Jesus, your Son! AMEN.