Imagine you are very highly respected in your field. People often come to you for insights and leadership and have for a very long time. You believe you are honoring God and truly helping people know and follow Him.
Then one day, a new guy shows up on the scene and tells you to your face that everything you’ve been trying to do is completely wrong.
That is essentially what Jesus does to the Jewish leaders in John 5. He tells them that all the work they have done reading and proclaiming the Scriptures have missed the true purpose of the Bible. Jesus says:
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 5:39-40)
The Jews studied the Scriptures intensely. They read, memorized, and meditated on the Scriptures frequently and with fervor, hoping their actions would help them book a one-way ticket to heaven. The irony is that in the midst of all of their work searching the Scriptures, they missed the very One the Scriptures point to who Himself is the only ticket to heaven (see John 14:6)!
True Scripture reading finds life in Christ.
Merely having head knowledge of how Scripture testifies of Christ is not the end goal, because having right information in our heads will not lead to the transformation of our hearts. We need to understand that the words of Scripture are the tool that will reveal the living God to us.
Finding life in Christ through the Scriptures is not a secret formula seeking mystical experiences with God, but rather an outflow of our humble acknowledgement of who we are in God’s plan of redemption and God’s grace given us by faith.
The Scriptures record and reveal that God loved us so much that He came into the world in human flesh to take our sins upon Himself, freeing us from the domain of darkness, and calling us into the Kingdom of His beloved Son.
The Scriptures are the channel through which we can encounter the life that flows from Christ, life both for now and eternity. Christ stands with His arms open ready to receive and impart life to those what would come to Him in faith.
How can I find life in Christ through the Scriptures?
1. Pray. Ask God to help you encounter Christ and His life through the Scriptures. Ask Him to transform you and deepen your relationship with Him. God desires for you to find this life and will answer you!
2. Read the Bible with faith. Remember the vital truth that God desires to impart spiritual life through His Son by His Word. When we read with the eyes of faith, we are able to see Christ as He really is and encounter “the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe…” (Ephesians 1:19).
3. Obey what you read. We can gauge our love for Christ by how obedient we are to Him. To those who keep His commandments Jesus said that He would reveal Himself (John 14:21). This greater and deeper experience with Christ brings joy, hope, and life.
4. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s help. One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to illuminate Scripture and the Words of Christ (John 14:26, 16:13-15). Ask God for help from His Spirit as you understand and apply Scripture to your life. The Holy Spirit mediates the presence of Christ and will lead you into His presence.
5. Meditate on the Scriptures. The “blessed man” of Psalm 1 meditates on the Scriptures day and night, resulting in being like a “tree planted by streams of water” and prospering in all He does. This image powerfully illustrates the life-giving nourishment available to believers in Christ through the Scriptures.