Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Living with eyes wide open - Psalm 119.18

Open my eyes so that I may see wonderful things in Your law.  119.18

As much as we should read the Bible, study the Bible, and meditate upon it we must understand that mere ‘head knowledge’ or ‘academic knowledge’ of the Bible will not bring eternal life, joy, peace, and happiness.  After all didn’t Satan know what God said?  Has not Richard Dawkins read the Bible?  At Oxford I met many people, both students and lecturers, who knew far more of the Bible than I do but who knew nothing of the one true God or of a personal relationship with Jesus.  

This is not something new.  The Pharisees were the academics of their day - they would often memorise the entire Old Testament.  They would spend their lives carefully picking apart every single sentence, phrase, and word of the Bible to better understand it.  Yet when God actually came down to earth and fulfilled literally hundreds of prophecies right before their eyes they failed to recognise that Jesus was the Messiah, that Jesus was God, and ultimately in the greatest of ironies they had crucified the one they were searching for.

In John chapter 5 Jesus says to them “You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me” (John 5.39).  If we don’t see Jesus as the heart of the Scriptures we don’t see anything of eternal consequence.  The problem is that to see Jesus in every chapter, to see the truth of God in a life changing way, we need outside intervention.  We are born blind to these truths, it's like there is a deep and thick mist before our eyes which we cannot see through no matter how much we try.  Saint Paul would talk in 2 Corinthians 3 about how unless we turn to the Lord there is a veil over our faces which prevents us from seeing how wonderful the Bible is.

When Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was Peter eventually said “you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” (Matthew 16.16).  What is most remarkable is the reaction of Jesus to this profession of faith:  “Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in Heaven” (Matthew 16.17).  It was not human wisdom or human intellect which made Peter understand who Jesus truly was. It was God Himself who by the Holy Spirit opened His eyes to the see the wonderful things of Jesus, who parted the mist, who lifted the veil.  Let each of us pray that God would open our eyes to the wonderful things of His Law - that when we read the Bible we see Jesus on every page and find hope, comfort, and joy in doing so.

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