31“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.32There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true.33You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth.34Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved.35He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.36But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.37And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form,38and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent.39“You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf.40Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.41I do not accept glory from human beings.42But I know that you do not have the love of God in you.43I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him.44How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God?45Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope.46If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.47But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”
Thoughts: There is a tiny little verse tucked within this reading that I think holds a lot for us to think about. In verse 39 Jesus says: "You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf." Theologically speaking it is Jesus who is the Word of God. Holy Scripture is not technically the Word of God but it points us to the Word or reveals the Word--who is Jesus. This may seem like a simply word trick; but it is very important. We do not worship scripture, we worship the one to whom scripture points. The power of scripture--the Gospel--is that as Jesus says it reveals himself (Jesus) to us. It is only Jesus who saves. That is why Lutherans have always said that while we find both Law and Gospel in the pages of scripture; and while both are important, it is only the Gospel, that is Jesus, that saves. I think here Jesus was saying you pour over the scriptures as if these words on a page were the source of eternal life, they are not. They point to the one who is! Many Christians today get caught up in trying to solve mysteries of prophetic words found in the Bible, they get caught up on obscure verses and nuances...as Jesus would say they swallow camels but strain out the gnats! We do best when we keep our eyes on Jesus.
Questions: What is your relationship with scripture? Is it a long love affair? A love/hate relationship? A distant romance? A flirtatious exchange? A life long commitment?