Because You Don’t Know The Scriptures

In the Gospel of Mark we find Jesus in discussion with the Sadducees about the resurrection.  That particular Jewish sect didn’t believe in the resurrection, accepting only the Pentateuch as Scripture.  So they came to the Lord with a challenge involving 7 brothers who had married the same woman after her former husband had died.  Whose wife would this woman be at the resurrection was the question asked of Jesus.

The Lord defeated their attempt to confound Him by telling them that they didn’t know the Scriptures and so were unable to understand what the resurrection life would be like.  I think that’s a good warning to you and me also.  Most of those reading this post don’t doubt the reality of the resurrection–that’s not the lesson we can draw from here.  But most Christians have an imperfect knowledge of the Word of God as found in the Bible.  Consequently we can occasionally find ourselves saying or doing things that are contrary to God’s Word.

For example, God is very clear about the damage that can be done by idle gossip about someone.  And yet there are few of us who do not regularly engage in gossip.  God is also very clear about His care and concern for the least, the last and the lost amongst us.  And there is nothing in His Word that would divided the poor in this world into the categories “deserving” and “undeserving.”  Yet how often we do just that very thing, saying there are people we should help and people we should not.  And then there’s war.  Our nation has been engaged in some form of war of another for most of my life.  Yet we claim to serve a Lord who told us to turn the other cheek.  We bow before a God who told us that we are to trust not in weapons but in the Name of the Lord our God for our security.

Friends, I don’t think it should come as a surprise to anyone that many of the generations who came before us had a far better grasp of Scripture than do the ones alive today.  They still failed to live perfectly, but I suspect they knew they were failing and weren’t fooling themselves into thinking everything was good between them and God.

There’s really only one way to rectify this problem–study the Word of God.  Read it for yourself.  Study it in conjunction with other Christians.  Don’t skip quickly pass the parts that challenge you or that are hard to understand.  God wants us to know the easy to accept parts and the hard to understand parts.  The Bible has been rightly called God’s love letter to the Church.  And so it is.  I’m going to end by quoting a song by Cary Landry.

Great things happen when God mixes with us, great and beautiful, wonderful things, great things happen when God mixes with us.  Some find hope, some find peace, some people even find joy.  Some see things that they never saw before and some people find that they must now begin to change.  Great things happen when God mixes with us.

And He mixes with us in Word He has given us in the Bible.

 

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The Reading Of Many Books

St. John’s Gospel ends with these words, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did.  Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

I love books.  I own lots of them.  Quite a few are in my office at church and there are more at home.  I believe that reading from the printed page is more than just getting information, it’s a holistic experience.  Books have weight and aromas.  The pages often tell the story of those who have read this book before us.  Their pauses are marked by “dog ears” and their excitement shown by underlining.  Books are meant to be used until they are used up.  I far more prefer to read a book than to read the same words on a Kindle which turns a full life experience into a cold and impersonal one (IMHO).

There is one book that can be read over and over again without ever exhausting it’s contents.  Of course, that’s the Bible.  Sixty six books that all have one purpose, to show us what God has done and is doing to bring us back into right relationship with Him through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the Cross and the tomb which was empty 3 days later.  No matter how often I turn the pages in my Bible, I find something I didn’t know or understand something better than I ever did before.  God speaks to me over and again in that Book of books.

And John tells us there is even more to know!  Can you imagine?  Oh what glory we will experience when we come into the presence of God and hear and learn of all the things we can’t find out now.  And yet, no one has even mastered what we now have.

I’ve mentioned before Luther’s statement that a person becomes educated, not by reading many books, but by reading a good book many times.  And of course there is no “gooder book” than the Good Book.

My prayer, as I sit here in my office today, is that anyone who reads this will go now and find their Bible and start to read it.  Maybe it’s covered in dust.  That’s okay, you can wipe it off.  Maybe it’s well used already.  That’s okay too, I know you’ve missed something.  Maybe you’re afraid God will get hold of you if you spend time in the Word.  Well, He will, I guarantee it.  But you’ll like the experience once you get used to it.

Go and read, my friends, go and read.  As our friend John also writes of the Word of God, “these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name.”