THE WITNESS OF THE SCRIPTURES, #533
"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." (JOH 5:39)
Our text is a very solemn admonition. In the Scriptures, "ye think ye have eternal life." Do we know? How do we know? We search the Scriptures, because in them we find the testimony of Christ. We read from 1CO 10:12 says, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
Follow the case scenario that is set forth in 1CO 10. See how awesome this is. The Scripture tells of the children of Israel. As they came out of Egypt, think about the rich experiences that they had. They were there when the ten great plagues came upon Egypt. They were there when the Passover was instituted. They partook of that Passover. They partook of that blood on the doorpost and on the lintel of the door as the destroying angel passed over. These are rich experiences.
1CO 10:1, " I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea."
Have you ever thought of what a terrific, rich experience that was? They passed through the Red Sea and the Egyptians were destroyed. They were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual meat. They drank of the same spiritual rock, for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.
These were very rich experiences, but these experiences in themselves are not salvation. When we start searching the Scriptures and see the testimony that we have of the Lord Jesus Christ, then we see that the word repent becomes so important.
We follow on with this history in 1 CO 10:5. "But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness."
How many were there that went through the Red Sea that actually crossed Jordan into the land of Canaan? Two. Thats an awesome thought, isnt it? Caleb and Joshua. With many of them God was not well pleased. Why? There was no repentance.
"Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. [There was not a repenting from their lustful hearts.] Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." (1CO 10:6-7) They loved entertainment and were an entertaining crowd. Think about America today and see how entertainment is idolatry.
Verses 8-9 continue, "Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents." Do you know how we tempt Christ? Its by thinking that we can claim salvation in the blood of Christ and still cherish sin and still not turn from sin.
Verses 10-12 say, "Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
See how beautifully this harmonizes with what the Lord Jesus is telling us in our text. "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life " But do you? Has your heart been renewed or does your heart still lust as theirs lusted? Does carnal entertainment still feed your heart? Are we tempting Christ? Do we murmur against the goodness of God? Or do we truly understand where the gospel began: "Repent," a change of mind, a change of heart, being renewed in the spirit of our mind?
Christ says, "ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." Our Saviour left His little flock such a blessed testimony of the evidence of His commission as the true Messiah in response to the criticism of those who professed to be the doctors of the law.
We have a parallel here to 1CO 10. We have those who are the doctors of the law, they are the church leaders, the chief priests, the scribes, and the Pharisees. They are murmuring against the Lord Jesus Christ because He had not honored their traditions of men. He had not honored their interpretation of the Sabbath Day. Now they are murmuring against Him because He said, " My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." (JOH 5:17) They said He was a blasphemer because He was making Himself equal with God.
"But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." When He said that, they accused Him of making Himself equal with God. His answer was "Amen, amen." He could not deny Himself. He was not promoting Himself; He was not seeking His own glory; neither could He deny Himself, but He appeals to the authority of the Word. This authority of the Word is such a crucial thing: that we learn to see what an essential element it is that we search the Scriptures, for in them we are looking for eternal life, and it is in the Scriptures that we see the testimony of our blessed Saviour.
The last witness, which our Saviour called into evidence, is by far the most important to us. John the Baptist has been long deceased. You and I cannot appeal to John the Baptist as our witness. When John the Baptist was in prison, He sent His disciples unto Jesus to ask, "Art thou He or do we look for another?" He was a man. He was subject to like passions as we are. His faith under extreme trial brought him to where he had to recount and say, "But is that truly the Messiah?" We cant rely on him as our witness.
We no longer know Christ after the flesh. We cannot come unto Christ in the flesh and appeal to Him in the flesh. We no longer hear the audible voice of the Father speaking from heaven saying, "This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." None of us have heard that. These witnesses that testified during the lifetime of Christ are not witnesses that you and I can appeal to.
1PE 1:25 says, "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." There is our authority and there is the witness that the Lord Jesus is calling us to rely upon. "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." (JOH 5:39) That is the testimony and that is the witness upon which we have a sure foundation.
PSA 119:160 shows us, "Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever." There is an eternal foundation in His Word. That is where we have the Word of the Lord that endures forever. You and I are given the testimony and the witness to rely upon.
See what authority Christ attaches to the Scriptures: beyond them there was no appeal. There is no appeal beyond the Word of God. There is no higher authority above them; there is no witness beyond them. There is nothing: we cannot rely on feelings, we cannot rely on friends, and we cannot rely on experience.
Does that mean that I dont believe in an experiential religion? Oh, yes, I do, but it is not the foundation of my hope. My experience could be like those of the children of Israel: it could be very rich. I could still be without Christ if the rebellion in my heart is not broken and I have never yet come into His service. Those who serve the Lord will be separated on the Day of Judgment from those who serve Him not. It isnt a dividing between those who have had a certain experience and others that did not; thats not where the dividing takes place. The dividing takes place between those who serve the Lord and those who serve Him not.
What did Jesus mean when He said in JOH 5:31, "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true"? Does this mean, as most of the commentators contend, that the witness He had just borne of Himself would not be valid unless it was supported by two or three witnesses? Is that what He means? No. Even though you read your commentators - and theyll almost unanimously say that was what He meant they are wrong.
When this statement is held in context with the verses that stand before, we find that it is synonymous with verse 19 where He said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself " Jesus is saying that He can do nothing of Himself, that is, He cannot act independently from the Father. He is saying that His testimony, the witness that He bears, cannot be independent from the Father.
Jesus says in verse 30, " because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." This is why He cannot judge independently of the Father. This is why He can do nothing independently from the Father. This is why He cannot bear witness independently from the Father: " because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." He does not act independently from the Father. He and the Father are One. In effect, Jesus said that if He bore witness independently of His Father, He would not be a true witness; He would be guilty of insubordination. He can do nothing outside of the harmony between Him and the Father.
See how this principle is established in JOH 5:32. "There is another that beareth witness of me [Who is that another? None other than the Father.]; and I know that the witness which he [see the singular he] witnesseth of me is true."
"There is another," means the Father. He does not bear witness of Himself independently of the Father. He has the witness of another, which is that of the Father.
This other witness is not John the Baptist, as many commentators will tell you. It is none (read it in its context) but the Father Himself! Jesus made reference to John, but did not appeal unto him as a witness. We must see these things in their context to understand what Jesus meant when He made reference to John the Baptist: He was not calling him as His witness. He was pointing out to the scribes and Pharisees that He was their witness.
JOH 5:33-34 says, "Ye sent unto John [It wasnt that Christ called John to bear witness.], and he bare witness unto the truth. [See the truth that he bore witness to] But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved."
What the Christ is telling us here is that "Ye" went to John the Baptist as a witness, but "I receive not testimony from man." The testimony, the witness that Christ relied upon was not that of John the Baptist. " but these things I say, that ye might be saved."
See what He is showing about the testimony that John the Baptist gave them. Our Saviour points out that they had sent unto John, and that John "bare witness unto the truth," that is, what John told them was true. He was not calling John to witness that He was the Messiah. He was not calling John to witness that He was equal with the Father, but Hes saying that they had heard what John said, and what John said was true.
What did John tell them in JOH 1:19-20. "And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ."
John further said that the Christ was among them, and he didnt know who He was. John was not bearing witness of Christ, the co-equal to the Father. Christ is pointing out to them that they sent their messengers to John and what he told them was true: that John was not the Christ.
When Jesus said, "There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true," we must recognize He was speaking of a singular witness: the Father. He was not speaking of John the Baptist and the Father, etc., and adding up witnesses including the witness of men. His witness was the Father.
Our Saviour would no more subpoena the witness of man, than He would bear witness independent of the Father. He is making the point that He cannot and will not bear witness independent from the witness of the Father.
"But I have greater witness than that of John [By the very statement He makes, Hes letting us know that He did not seek witness from a man.]: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me." (JOH 5:36)
He is saying that they have seen this impotent man lying there for thirty-eight years and by the power of the Word that man was made whole. That bears witness. That shows the authority of the Word. That shows that He came to finish the work that the Father gave Him to do. That bears witness of Him.
Verse 37 continues, "And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape." Why does He say that the works of the Father bear witness of Him? Because He told Philip that if he has seen Him, he has seen the Father, in other words, He and the Father are One. He is talking about this testimony of the Father, that is in perfect harmony with Himself and the Father.
This principle comes through very clear in JOH 8:17-18. "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me." You cannot question the testimony of two. Here we have the perfect harmony of the witness of the Father and the witness of the Son.
If you have a court case, and you call two witnesses and interrogate them totally independently, and their testimony comes in perfect harmony, it is a witness that what they are saying is true. Here we have Jesus the Son and we have the Father, and their testimony, their witness, is in perfect harmony.
Jesus said of John, "He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light." (JOH 5:35)
Why were they willing to rejoice in the light of John? He was the son of a priest, a Levite. At least they could look at him as being within the proper channels upon which they were looking for the priesthood. They were willing for a season, until they heard his ministry teaching, "Repent"; then they forsook him because they could no longer walk with him.
They had sent their emissary unto John to inquire who he was, but he readily admitted he was not the Christ, but simply, "He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias." (JOH 1:23)
When he gave this testimony of himself, he offended them. They were willing to walk in his light for a while, until they found that he was not proclaiming to be who they had hoped he was. They told him that if he wasnt Esaias, and he wasnt this prophet or that prophet, then by what authority was he baptizing? He offended them when he pointed them to the true Messiah saying, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (JOH 1:29b)
When Jesus said in verse 34, "But I receive not testimony from man [He declares that He had not appealed unto the witness of John. His purpose was quite otherwise.]: but these things I say, that ye might be saved."
Jesus is saying that He is not appealing unto John as His witness. He is going to take the truth that He spoke and let them account for what He said, that they might be saved. Christ Himself did not stand in need of the witness John had borne to the truth, but they did. They needed the witness in their own conscience that what John told them was true.
John was Gods messenger and was sent to prepare the way and arouse mens attention to their deep need of a Saviour. See what witness we have recorded that John gave them, and how he brought to their attention their deep need of repentance.
MAT 3:1-3 says, "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. [Hes telling them to change their attitude, let their rebellion be broken, and come under the kingship of Christ.] For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." John was preaching repentance.
"There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true." (JOH 5:32) Jesus did not appeal to any man to witness that He was equal to the Father. He did not call John the Baptist to testify that He was equal to the Father. That was not what He was doing.
"But I have greater witness than that of John [His own miracles: the miracle of healing this impotent man, the miracle of the witness of the Spirit in their own consciences, showing and attesting to them of their hypocrisy.]: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me." (JOH 5:36)
What other work did He do? He came into the temple and He drove them out with scourges of fine cords and said, "You are making my Fathers house a house of merchandise." Their conscience told them: they understood and they had the witness in their own conscience by the work, because it was prophesied that He would do that. Their conscience told them: they had the witness of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. The works that He was doing testified that He was the Messiah.
Our works also bear record of us! We need to examine our hearts. Do our hearts sometimes fall into murmuring? Do our hearts sometimes become filled with lust? Do our hearts sometimes desire the entertainment of this world? Does our walk of life witness that we have eternal life? Are we children of light?
EPH 5:8 says, "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light " His works testified and were His witness of who He was. Your works and my works are our witness of who we are.
Testimony without our works being in perfect harmony will reveal that we are not the children of light. " But now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord." (EPH 5:8-10)
Our walk of life speaks much louder than our words, therefore, "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men." (TIT 3:8)
That is a terrific testimony. The admonition of our text is to search the Scriptures. Where is our evidence that we have eternal life? Where is our testimony? The Lord Jesus said His works are His witness. How about our works?
"This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men." (TIT 3:8) It becomes our witness.
Our Saviour made His final appeal unto the sure foundation, which is eternal. This is why its important that the Word of God becomes our foundation, because it is the eternal Word of God and it will endure throughout eternity.
This is why our text says, "Search the scriptures." Theres more to reading than just reading: "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." (JOH 5:39)
I want to dwell a moment on this word Search. See what we are talking about when we talk about searching the Scriptures. It comes from the Greek word ereunao (er-yoo-nah'-o), and it means "to inquire after, to seek for, to investigate or search."
"Search the scriptures" is a Divine command. It is not just a suggestion. He did not merely say read the Scriptures; He said, "Search the scriptures." That Greek word is used in connection with hunting, in other words, a hunter that is stalking his game.
See the parallel: when a hunter goes out to stalk his game and he finds a fresh track, what does he do? Does he walk on by and look for another one? No. When you find a fresh track, you begin to concentrate on that. You concentrate all your attention upon it, diligently searching for other marks, which would lead you to your prey.
When you are searching the Scriptures, you find a passage that turns a little light on. You start cross-referencing that Scripture and searching out the principle that it teaches. You start going into the Scriptures and searching to see if in it you can find more of Christ.
As we search the Scriptures we are equally alert for the least trace of the footprints of our Saviour. If you are hunting and you come onto a fresh track that has blood marks on it, you know two things: you are on a fresh track and you are not far from your prey.
When we are searching the Scriptures and we start seeing the footprints of Jesus and we see an admonition for self-denial, for self-sacrificial love, in this do we see the footprints of Christ? Do we see the print of the nail in His footprint? Do we sometimes see a drop of blood? Do we start to see and to understand that He gave His lifes blood in the way of self-sacrifice? As we are searching the Scriptures, these are the things that should make us pursue with all the more attention.
That is much more than just reading the Scriptures, because in them we think we have eternal life, and they testify of Him. Does not our search of the Scriptures lead us to follow the blessed footprints of our Saviour?
We follow those blessed footprints of our Saviour into such blessed green pastures, as we find in TIT 2:11-12a. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness "
Do you see His footprints? Do you see how He began His gospel by teaching repentance? As we start searching the Scriptures for wherein we must follow the Lord Jesus Christ, where do we see that it leads us?
Verses 12-15 continue, "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world [as we follow on in those blessed footprints of Christ]; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us [When we see His footprints it brings us close to the Spirit of Christ and how He gave Himself for us], that he might redeem us from all iniquity [As we search the Scriptures, we start to see the blessedness of that redemption: being redeemed from all iniquity, from all sin, and from all wrong attitudes toward our neighbor.], and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. [As we follow that footprint, and as we follow on hunting and searching in the Scriptures, searching for Christ, these are the things that we are going to go through to get there.] These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee."
Do you see what a precious message we have in our text? Search the Scriptures. Dont just read them but go through them and compare Scripture with Scripture and let Scripture be its own best commentator. We dont need commentators to tell us what the Scripture says; all we need to do is search it.
Our text says, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
See the blessed testimony we find of Him in JOH 1:1-4. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men." Isnt that a blessed testimony?
As we search the Word, where do we begin? We begin in Genesis, and there we see the authority of that Word: "Let there be light: and there was light." When He begins the new creation in your heart, whats the first thing that happens? He says, "Let there be light." And when the light comes on what do we see? We see whats in the heart of man. We start to see that we need a Saviour. We start searching in GEN 1 and there we see the power of the Word.
As we see in JOH 1:2, "The same was in the beginning with God." He says to search those Scriptures because in them we think we have eternal life, and they testify of Him. They testify of the power and the authority of His Word and in the authority that there is in His Word.
We become persuaded as we see in ROM 10:17. "So then faith cometh by hearing " (That word faith means "persuasion.") We become persuaded by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Search those Scriptures.
Jesus told the Jews, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." These Jews were very sincere; they were not reckless, ungodly people; they were very sincere about what they believed, but they believed a lie. They were very sincere, but they were sincerely wrong and Satan loves to have it so. They would have known if they had searched the Word.
I talked to a lady from California not too long ago, and she said, "Do you know what my problem is? When I read the Word, I have been so trained in my thinking that my thinking gets read into the Word." She was so thankful to have a breath of fresh air, to have a Bible study with people who understood what it meant to search and study the Word. She realized that she had to stop reading her belief into the Word.
This is what the Jews were doing. This is what the Pharisees were doing. They had already spent generations putting together all of their human philosophy of what was in the Word. When the word Sabbath was mentioned, six hundred and some commandments came to their minds - all commandments of men. Jesus is saying, "Search the scriptures." He says to stop living according to the commandments of men and start searching what the Scriptures teach.
2TH 2:9-10 says, "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved."
When Jesus Christ spoke, He spoke with authority. Their conscience bore them witness that what He said was true, but they didnt love the truth. It came against what they believed.
Sometimes, when we have been brought up in an orthodox religion, we have to take everything we have ever been taught and everything we have ever believed and put it up on the shelf. Then we must start reading what the Word says. If it says what I was taught, I can take that down off the shelf and use it, but until then I leave it there and dont ever bring it back into my study. We have to search the Scriptures and see what Christ says, not what Mom taught me, not what Dad taught me, not what the Pastor taught me, and not what Im teaching you. You have to study what the Word of God says.
When the Lord Jesus broke the bread for five thousand, the bread multiplied. That bread multiplied in the hands of His disciples as they distributed it, but it also multiplied in the heart and in the soul of each one as they received it. What do we have but five loaves, which become food for five thousand, and how many baskets full did they take out? It didnt diminish His original supply.
The Word multiplies as the Lord instills it in the soul. "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." Dont rely on what any person says. Dont rely on what you hear in church twice on Sunday. Let that only be an appetizer to draw you into the Word because that is where you will be fed. You should meditate on the Word day and night.
The Jews hated the truth. They didnt want the truth. They deliberately closed their eyes to all of the wonderful works, which testified of Jesus. They saw that impotent man lay there for thirty-eight years and, by the power of Jesus word, they saw him rise, take up his bed, and walk, yet they immediately found fault with the Mediator rather than give glory to God and the witness of His Word. His wonderful works testified of His Divinity, but they loved not the truth; this is what brought on them their own destruction.
Look at 2TH 2:11-12. "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
There are so many people you can speak with who will say, "But we believe ." You try to talk to them about the Word and the authority of the Word. "Oh, but my pastor says ." Thats an easy way out because that way they dont have to take time to search the Scriptures. Christ says to search the Word!
See what Jesus said in context with our text: "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (JOH 5:39-40) Their will was their problem. They were not willing. It wasnt that they didnt believe; they did believe. They knew.
JOH 2:23 says, "Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did." His mighty works testified that He was the Messiah. They believed it; they knew it!
" When they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man." (JOH 2:23-25)
He knew they didnt want to believe. This is what He is saying here, "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." It was not a lack of evidence to persuade them, but the willful rebellion of their hearts, which kept them from coming to Christ that they might have salvation. It was their willful rebellion: they didnt want the truth. The light was condemning them.
Why was it that the Jews, like all men by nature, "will not come to [Christ], that [they] might have life"? Jesus said in JOH 5:42, "But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you." Their problem was they loved themselves. They loved self-exaltation and loved to receive honor one of another. The love of God was not in their hearts.
Verse 43-44 continues, "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?"
God says He will honor those who honor Him. We honor Him by writing "death" on self. We dont honor God by seeking self-honor. God will honor those who honor Him, but He says, "How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?" The question I would ask is, "How can two walk together if they are not agreed?"
See Christs own testimony of Himself in JOH 5:40-42. "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you." That was their problem. When you start to search the Scriptures, you start searching your heart. Do we have the love of God in our hearts?
He appeals to Moses. The Lord Jesus said, "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust." (JOH 5:45) How is Moses going to accuse them? The testimony that we have of Moses becomes a conviction. Moses had the love of God in him, and this revealed itself in his attitude toward self-honor. Moses was in a position to be on the throne.
We see this in HEB 11:24-25. "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season."
Jesus is telling them that the testimony of Moses will condemn them. They were seeking honor "one of another." He said that those who receive honor one from another couldnt believe. The Lord is teaching us that we have to humble ourselves. We have to choose "rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." That testimony of Moses, He says, is going to condemn you, and you say that you trust in Moses.
Jesus draws their attention to the testimony of Moses whom they claimed to believe to convict them of the hypocrisy of their hearts. "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?" (JOH 5:45-47)
Moses did not seek honor from men. If they had understood the testimony of Moses they would not have been offended with the testimony of Christ. If they had understood this testimony thats written of Moses, then this self-sacrificial love of God, which Christ was teaching them, would not have offended them.
JOH 5:43-44 says, "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?"
How can you believe in Christ when you are seeking honor, when you are seeking self-exaltation? This was the entire problem of the Jews and of the Pharisees. They would give their alms and do long prayers standing on the street corner that they might be seen of men. They loved to sit in the chief seats in the synagogue. They loved honor. They didnt understand the principle that was taught by Moses: that he gave up his throne of honor to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. If they had understood the Scriptures, which testified of Christ, they could not have sought honor of each other.
I want to show you what Jesus was really telling them. He said, "Search the scriptures." If they had understood the principles taught in ISA 53, they would have recognized the Messiah. He is saying that their ignorance of the Scripture, everything that they do in studying the Scripture, is all to read what they want into the Word of God. They werent searching it. They werent studying out what it says.
"Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." (ISA 53:1-2)
The Jews were looking for a king that would come and sit on the throne of Israel and who was going to overthrow the Roman yoke. They were looking for a natural king. They didnt understand ISA 53. He told them that if they were so blind, then read the Scriptures, search them. What do they teach of Him?
ISA 53: 2-5, "and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows [They didnt understand the depravity of their heart nor the rebellion of their heart. They didnt understand that He came as a man of sorrows.]: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
When we start to search the Scriptures, we are going to learn the depravity of our own heart and see that we need a Saviour. We will start to understand the witness of John the Baptist, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (MAT 3:2) We will learn to understand that there is a blessed Saviour, wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.
When the Lord gave me a promise one time that I would see the King in His beauty, I thought that I was going to see a revelation of Christ on His throne. About two weeks later I was brought into a set of circumstances where frustration drove me to no end. Then I picked up a little sermon and started to read. The title of it was The King of Peace. I saw the blessed Redeemer in Gethsemane. I saw how He was not frustrated. I saw the perfect tranquility of Christ and how He was so perfect in unconditional surrender to the will of the Father. The sermon went on to say that He was not frustrated. Judas came to betray Him, yet He said, "Friend, wherefore art thou come?" He was not frustrated with Judas. He had looked into that cup and He had seen that it was all given Him at His Fathers hand.
When we see our blessed Redeemers footprints in the sand and we walk in His footsteps, and we search the Scriptures, then the Lord opens our understanding and we see how they apply to us. We see how our frustration is such an ungodly unbelief because we are not accepting things from the Fathers hand. We see that blessed Spirit of Christ, and we learn to truly understand that to see the King in His beauty, it all begins in Gethsemane. Amen
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