Sermon: Christ and the Scriptures
Scripture: Matthew 5:17-20
In this week’s lessons, we see what Jesus’ view of Scripture was and how he used it in his ministry.
Theme: Allegiance to Scripture
We turn to the fifth chapter of John, and we find Jesus talking to the Jewish rulers in a long section dealing with his authority and with the witnesses to his religious claims. He gets to the climax, and it has to do entirely with Scripture. What does he say about it? He says that nobody would ever believe in him who had not first believed in the writings of Moses, for Moses wrote of him. “Ye search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me… Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father; there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:39, 45-47). It is stated as plainly as it can be stated. If you reject the Bible, you will reject Jesus Christ. If you believe the Bible, you will accept him, for he is the subject of it.
We go further in Christ’s life, and we find him hanging on the cross. What is Jesus Christ thinking about there? Scripture! He says, ”My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” a quotation from Psalm 22:1. He says that he thirsts, and they give him a sponge filled with vinegar in order that Psalm 69:21 might be fulfilled. Three days later, after the resurrection, he is on the way to Emmaus with two of his disciples, chiding them because they have not used Scripture to understand the necessity of his suffering. “Then he said unto them, O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them, in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27).
When we sum it all up, we find that Jesus Christ believed Scripture, that he submitted himself to Scripture, and that he taught that a person would only believe on him as he believed Scripture. Therefore, we are left with the question: How can we profess to be followers of Jesus Christ and not hold to the same view of Scripture as he did?
I have done a good bit of work in the general area of New Testament studies. I know that there are difficult areas. We need to say precisely what such words as “inspiration” and “infallibility” mean. But these are secondary matters compared with the total allegiance of the Christian to the Word of God. Is that your standard? Do you submit yourself to Scripture, as Jesus Christ did? Do you acknowledge Christ as the author, Christ as the subject, Christ as the authoritative interpreter of his own acts? If you do, you will go on from faith to faith and from knowledge to knowledge, understanding more of his ministry and more of what he requires of you as his follower.
Read John 5. Why do you think the Jewish leaders claimed to have eternal life even while they rejected Jesus?
How does Jesus challenge their view of him by appealing to Moses?
Reflection: Are there any areas in your life that need to change in the light of the Bible’s absolute authority and Christ’s claim upon you as a follower of him?
Key Point: If you reject the Bible, you will reject Jesus Christ. If you believe the Bible, you will accept him, for he is the subject of it.