The Man in the Message

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Jn 5:39–40). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

I am reminded of a man who recently wrote how all the Christians who build their faith in the Bible are rubes and fools. The Christians apparently do not know what the Bible actually says about things.

He could read the words and find the cross references between Old Testament and New, one book to another, and so on. He could find what he considered contradictions. He prided himself in his academic scholarship. He seemingly relished pointing out that Christians do not really understand the words of their God and, by the way, their God had not really written those words anyway.

One can read poetry and find just words, or one can read poetry and find the passion, tragedy, excitement, and meaning. One can read a novel cover to cover and leave it at that. And one can read the Bible and find just a jumbled series of stories.

Or, one can read the Bible and find Jesus. The words in the Bible do not give eternal life. There is not some incantation from the Bible that, if spoken, casts magical spells. The words to one not seeking Jesus are just words. Jesus gives eternal life. “[I]f you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9)

You will not find eternal life in the words of the Bible by themselves. You must find Jesus. And once you have Jesus, you will then find the power in the words. The Spirit speaks to you as a murmur that others do not even hear. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Rom 10:17) Jesus pulls at you drawing you to him. Once just words, the Bible becomes joy.

It is the greatest magic trick in history in that it is not magical at all. Read the Bible for Jesus and it will all make sense. He is the magic decoder ring of scripture. Put him in your heart and his words are armor and power and strength and comfort. Without him, they are just words. Accept him and you will see Jesus from the Garden of Eden to the cross to the final day then sit beside him for eternity.

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Erick Erickson

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