John 5:39, 40 - Information or Transformation.?
John 5:39, 40 - Information or Transformation?
John 5:39, 40 (NLT) You search the Scriptures because you
believe they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet
you refuse to come to me so that I can give you this eternal life.
It is possible for men to be very studious in the letter of the
scripture, and yet to be strangers to the power and influence of it.
[Matthew Henry Commentary]
The religious leaders knew what the Bible said but failed to
apply its words to their lives. They knew the teachings of the
Scriptures but failed to see the Messiah to whom the Scriptures pointed.
They knew the rules but missed the Savior. Entrenched in their own
religious system, they refused to let the Son of God change their lives.
Don't become so involved in "religion" that you miss Christ. [Life
Study of Scripture does not lead to eternal life unless it leads
to Jesus. . . .Jesus is the greatest revelation of God, revealed in
Scripture and manifested in the flesh (Jn 1). Some who claimed to seek and
follow God refused to see and believe Jesus. Diligent study of
Scripture is fruitless if it does not lead to faith in Christ. Faith, not
facts, is the ultimate purpose of Scripture study. [Disciple SB]
Bible study will not give you eternal life. You could memorize
the entire Bible and be able to discuss minute issues of biblical
scholarship and yet fail to experience the truths found in its pages. It is
a subtle temptation to prefer the book to the Author. A book will
not confront you about your sin, the Author will. Books can be
ignored; it is much harder to avoid the Author when He is seeking a
relationship with you.
The Pharisees in Jesus' day thought God would be pleased with
their knowledge of His Word. They could quote long, complicated
passages of Scripture. They loved to recite and study God's Law for hours
on end. Yet Jesus condemned them because, although they knew the
Scriptures, they did not know God. They were proud of their Bible knowledge,
but they rejected the invitation to know God's Son.
Can you imagine yourself knowing all that God has promised to
do in your life but then turning to something else instead? You may
be tempted to turn to substitutes. These substitutes aren't
necessarily bad things. They might include serving in the church, doing good
deeds, or reading Christian books. No amount of Christian activity will
ever replace your relationship with Jesus. The apostle Paul
considered every "good" thing he had ever done to be "rubbish" when
compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ (Phil. 3:8). Never
become satisfied with religious activity rather than a personal,
vibrant, and growing relationship with Jesus Christ. [Experiencing God
Day by Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby re John 5:39, 40]
My dearest child, It breaks my heart to see the way you struggle
and struggle in your own strength. So often you feel depleted. You
push and fret and end up feeling burned out and alone. There is no
need for you to go on like this. I long to give you inner strength.
Draw on my resources and live as you were designed to live--as a
branch attached to the vine of my eternal love. All that you require
will flow from my abundance to your need. And when my life has filled
your emptiness to overflowing, it will branch out into the lives of
those around you. I am the vine; you are the branch. Come to me and
Abundantly yours, God [by Claire Cloninger]
A man's daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray
with her father. When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in
bed with his head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat
beside his bed. The minister assumed that the old fellow had been
informed of his visit.
"I guess you were expecting me," he said.
"No, who are you?", said the father.
"I'm the new minister at your church," he replied. "When I saw
the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up."
"Oh yeah, the chair," said the bed ridden man. "Would you mind
closing the door?"
Puzzled, the minister shut the door.
"I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said
the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At
church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right
over my head." "I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man
continued, "until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me,
'Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with
Jesus. Here is what I suggest. Sit down in a chair; place an empty
chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not
spooky because he promised, "I'll be with you always." Then just speak
to him and listen in the same way you're doing with me right now.'
"So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a
couple of hours every day. I'm careful though. If my daughter saw me
talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send
me off to the funny farm."
The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the
old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him,
anointed him with oil, and returned to the church.
Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that
her daddy had died that afternoon.
"Did he die in peace?" he asked.
"Yes, when I left the house about two o'clock, he called me
over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek.
When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But
there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before
Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the
bed. What do you make of that?"
The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, "I wish we
all could all go like that". [author unknown]