Thursday, 11 February 2010

Missing the point

I'm still enjoying Rob Bell's book - Jesus Wants To Save Christians.

Writing about exodus and exile as the background into which the Lord Jesus came in a section on the Emmaus Journey (see Luke 24) we read:

whatever the stranger on the road taught these disciples from Moses and the Prophets, they got it. Their eyes were opened. The suffering and death and crucifixion of Jesus made sense to them.

In a couple of hours, using nothing but the Hebrew Scriptures, this man converted all of their despair to hope and a vision of a new future. p.90.

Where this really bites for me is just a few sentences later:

In Jesus' day, people could read, study, and discuss the Scriptures their entire lives and still miss its central message.
In Jesus' day people could follow him, learn from him, drop everything to be his disciples, and yet find themselves returning home, thinking Jesus had failed.
Which is a bit like walking with someone for hours,
only to discover that you had missed who they really are the whole time.
Because the stranger is, of course, Jesus. p. 90

I certainly know too many scholars, some of the finest intellects I've ever met, who've studied the bible their whole working lives and never met Jesus, and don't know what it is to follow him. But what strikes me is not where this affects others. No matter how faithfully, passionately, skillfully I read and study Scripture I must confess that I will and do get it wrong, I miss the point - worse I can walk beside Jesus and not recognise him.

We can have great confidence in Jesus and in the Scriptures, of the Old and New Testaments, Jesus can and will use them to open our eyes to his grace for us in the cross and empty tomb. That I get it wrong does not mean I need to abandon the gospel or the bible. Rather, in all humility, however much I think I know I need to come again and walk beside Jesus and hear him teaching the gospel from Scriptures until my heart burns within me.

And if you'll forgive me, I think you do also.

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