Seeing Christ in the Scriptures
With each passing year, I’ve developed a greater tendency to wake up in the middle of the night. Worry often sweeps in when I am stirred from sleep—and, as is fitting for a pastor, one of my concerns is this: Am I seeing and teaching Christ in and from all the Scriptures?
It is possible to study the Bible without Christ as our focus. We may pride ourselves on understanding it in a very systematic fashion, but in doing so, we run the risk of becoming so enamored with our method that we fail to see Christ.
In Acts 2, when Peter addresses the crowd, he says, “Men of Israel, hear these words.” (His tone seems authoritative, doesn’t it?) And then notice what follows: “Jesus of Nazareth…” Peter doesn’t begin by appealing to the people’s felt needs or by presenting to them all the practical benefits of the gospel, nor does he embark on laying out a set of doctrines or setting forth a series of propositions. Rather, he proceeds to say who Jesus is, why Jesus came, and what Jesus did.
Peter’s teaching was directed to the heart, rooted in grace, and focused on Christ. Such teaching comes at a cost—one that not everybody is prepared to pay. It is much easier to talk about the issues of the day than to truly know and share Christ. Sometimes, in churches that hold the Bible in high regard, we find it more comfortable to talk more of our favored doctrines than of the Christ who often unsettles us and challenges our lifestyles. The hard thing to do, however, is also the right thing to do. What a dreadful waste of energy, to gain insight or provide instruction about almost everything but the saving story of Jesus!
Scripture finds its focus and fulfillment in Christ. The real test of how deeply God’s word is dwelling within us is not our ability to articulate a story line but to see Jesus in all the Scriptures. He is not just the start of the Christian faith but the sum total of it. Aim to go deeper into Christ, not to move beyond Him.
Perhaps this should be our prayer whenever we open the pages of our Bible:
More about Jesus would I know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love, who died for me.
More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God, my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
On the Road to Emmaus
13That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles1 from Jerusalem, 14and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
28So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
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