Sunday, February 16, 2014

Did Jesus Believe His bible?

‘The Divine inspiration and supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures, the only infallible rule of faith and practice in all religious matters.’ is part of many statements and constitutions of numerous Denominations. How many leaders and members believe what they have agreed too in agreeing with those words?

Many are under pressure to be spiritually ‘schizophrenic’ in regard to the bible. Such a split attitude or double mindedness arises from compromising pressures from the world of Science and Higher Criticism. Believe the bible but don’t take Genesis too seriously, especially creation up to the flood is their mantra.

Accepting that line of thinking brings us onto a collision course with Jesus. ‘Why do you call me “Lord, Lord” and do not do what I tell you?’ Luke 6:46. It makes us His judge not His servant. It declares twentieth century ‘Man’ knows more than He whom we call Lord, Creator, Saviour, Emmanuel. Why is there a collision? Because over and over again Jesus affirmed the authority of Moses and the Law! That Law does not by–pass Genesis. In one of His many debates with the religious leaders Jesus is quoted: ‘Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would have believed me, for He wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?’ (John 5:45–47) Are Australian Christians, and especially their preachers/teachers, in danger of worship God with their lips but with hearts far away from Him? Matt.15:7–10.

The Gospels vibrate with the prophetic energy and insight of the prophets about Jesus. This is one of the strong factors unveiling the promised One, the Messiah. Aspects of their statements are applied to Jesus with similar comment to ‘All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophets.’ (Matthew 1:22) It was these scriptures which convinced Philip about Jesus and to share it: ‘Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “we have found him about whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.”’ (John 1:45) Jesus moved in the atmosphere of the Jewish scriptures and declared ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil.’ (Matthew 5:17). In our day there are those who either question or ridicule the Genesis account of Creation, Adam and Eve, life’s longevity, Noah and the worldwide flood. Such people also scoff at the account of Jonah. Jesus affirmed them all. Where does that leave those who claim greater knowledge that the risen Lord Jesus Christ?

We rejoice in the wonder of our Lord triumphing over the horror of the cross. We have filled our minds with the typology (shadows, pictures) of this event in the Passover celebration. We see it foreshadowed in Psalm 22 and remain awestruck to think Jesus read Psalm 118 at the Last Supper.(There He declared ‘this was the day the Lord had made). The fingerprint of God on the work of Moses and the prophets is readily seen in Christ’s crucifixion. ‘It is written’ was the clarion call of the early church and it hasn’t changed for us today. So it comes back down again to that simple, searching statement of Jesus about believing or disbelieving Moses’ writings. ‘He (Abraham in the passage) said to him (the rich man in Hades) “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rose from the dead.”’ (Luke 16:31)

Two disciples were given a most wonderful bible study as they walked the Emmaus road. We do not have a detailed account of its content but as we know the Teacher it would have been spellbinding. The account is in Luke 24:13–27. We have been given a summary of the contents of what the risen Lord Jesus talked about. His opening remarks are not very complimentary to the disciples. Unfortunately the words are applicable to many today. ‘”Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.’ Did you notice that three letter word ‘all.’

When Jesus said that His followers would walk the ‘Narrow way’ we may imagine it being lonely, even difficult. There’s truth in that but we imagine the ‘Narrow way’ being separated from the ‘Broadway.’ I see the ‘Narrow way’ as actually taking the believer up the ‘Broadway’ with very marked lines and against the throng who are travelling that wide path to destruction. As we journey we will be bumped and hassled, even bruised and taunted by those who see us as fools, or merely being in their way.

As we hold to the truth and authority of the scriptures as did our Lord we are not to take them lightly. Those with the skills, training and knowledge are called upon to defend the veracity of Genesis through to Revelation. Those of us less qualified are to share our testimony about the power God’s word has had in our lives. We will not have the charisma of Paul but we can have his conviction. Acts 24:14: ‘I worship the God of our ancestors, believing everything laid down according to the law or written in the prophets.’

May the Lord deliver us from spiritual and biblical schizophrenia so as to be of one heart and one mind believing that which has been written for our benefit.

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