Over the years we have seen influential religious leaders gain popularity, become prideful and then fall. We can predict it. Leaders headed to a great fall first develop an attitude of thinking that includes; “there is no one like me” along with “there is nothing I can’t do”. When this occurs, the trap of pride and arrogance is set and the evil one snaps the trap by inviting this leader into temptations not unlike Adam and Eve, the first fallen. “This is okay for you to do because look who you are!” “Take a bite of pleasure…” And then the fall. These leaders came so close then they missed it! Religious leaders are Satan’s top prize. To get leaders AND their family to follow him into sins that destroy their influence of helping people find and follow Jesus is a major coup for Satan. Satan knows what it is like to fall. He is the fallen angel who wants others to fall with him. He missed it and he wants us to miss it, too.
What is it? A holy, intimate, growing, loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ, His Son.
Friends, Satan only has a few tools to entice God’s created into self-indulgent activities that lead us away from God. In fact, he uses these tools so well he can even make good activities such as reading your Bible be a tool to lead you away from God! Wait, what?! Jesus explains this phenomenon in our next passage. Religious leaders and Teachers of God’s Law had their noses in “the book” like a boss. They studied each word, debated it’s meaning, gained power from knowing and reciting the word, judged and punished others with the words and totally missed The Word made flesh, the Messiah and His Mission to bring people back to God! They missed the One and Only, Jesus Christ who would save the world from all sin. The Messiah they read about, was standing right in front of them! And they missed it, missed Him!
ALL scripture points to Jesus. Old and New Testament (Covenant) words from God to us point to Jesus. If we read bits of scripture, taken out of context, only to prove our point of personal, social belief, stand as judges who “jockey” for power and position based on some of the word, then we fall into the same trap as these leaders Jesus is talking to and reprimanding. Let’s read carefully and prayerfully.
John 5:39-47, The Message
39-40 “You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.
41-44 “I’m not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda. I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?
45-47 “But don’t think I’m going to accuse you before my Father. Moses, in whom you put so much stock, is your accuser. If you believed, really believed, what Moses said, you would believe me. He wrote of me. If you won’t take seriously what he wrote, how can I expect you to take seriously what I speak?”
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
- Eternal life is found only in accepting, believing, and following Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of our lives.
- God’s Word points to Jesus. Jesus shows us who God is and what He has done for us to save us. God’s Word needs no defense.
- Worship God alone. We do not worship our Bible. We worship the AUTHOR of the Word.
- Jesus is the Word made flesh. Jesus is the walking and talking word who moved into the neighborhood of humanity to bring us back to God. This is HIS story for His glory.
- Take Jesus seriously. Jesus is our perfect example of humility, kindness, goodness, patience, gentleness, love, mercy and grace. Jesus loves all who believe.
- God loves us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
- The Word, read with the power of the Holy Spirit in us, leads us to salvation. But it is Jesus who saves us when we believe in Him. The Word tells us how to live like Jesus. Jesus is the One who brings us to a right, growing, intimate relationship with God. It is Jesus who sacrificed Himself for us. It is and always will be all about Jesus.
“These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.”
Don’t miss Him!
Life is all about you, indeed. Thank you for saving us, bringing us out of self-indulgence thinking and behaving that only leads to death into life everlasting with you. Thank you for keeping us alert so we don’t miss you at work in us and all around us. To you be all glory, honor and praise for all that is good, right and pleasing to you. Continue to transform us with your Word and the power of your Holy Spirit, along with your love, mercy and grace. I will forever be grateful to you for cleaning up my messy spirituality and setting back on your road to real life. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m not there yet, but you never give up on me.
In Jesus Name, Amen