If you prefer to listen, here's the link: https://youtu.be/Rr4H4UzUkME
Prepare to listen. As you wait in silence, hear God’s words: Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
Prayerfully Read John 5:39-47
39‘You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. 40Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 41I do not accept glory from human beings. 42But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. 43I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? 45Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?’
After healing a man on the sabbath, Jesus was accosted by the Jews (probably religious rulers). In response, he gave a lengthy speech about his relationship with the Father (vv 19ff), concluding with these verses we read today. In them, he acknowledged that the Jewish rulers diligently searched the scriptures. But their problem was a failure to let the scriptures they searched, search them, and reveal their need and wrongheadedness. Therefore they also failed to see Jesus as fulfilment of scriptures and thus they rejected him. They needed to change the way they read and interpreted their Bible so that they saw Jesus in it and were transformed by it. They searched and knew the scriptures, but sadly never let those scriptures search and know them. As a result, they neither knew nor had the love of God in them.
Searching the scriptures is a good thing to do. But unless we let God’s Word search us and transform us into more loving people, we’ll also be in danger of not recognising Jesus or the truth. If our knowledge of scripture leads to violence not peace, hatred not love, acceptance of lies not truth, we’ve missed the point. When Scripture searches us, we’ll discover the love of God in us and we’ll reject hatred for love and compassion, we’ll refuse to shape truth to fit our versions of the story. We’ll live lives shaped by the biblical story, becoming more like Jesus.
How can you read Scripture in ways that search you as you search it?
Respond to Jesus
Lord Jesus may my reading and searching of your Word lead me to “see you more clearly, love you more dearly, follow you more nearly.” Amen.
Go live obediently in the world. Search Scripture in ways that search and form you.
Reflection on Scripture has been a constant in my life ever since I can remember. Reflecting on Jesus in the Gospels has become a necessity to get Jesus right. Join me in reading John to see Jesus more clearly this Lent.