Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

10/23/2019

Jeff Grisham

 

The Center of It All

 

  As we look at the life of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels, we see that there are many things about Jesus that are amazing. If someone were to ask us, “What is so amazing about Jesus?” we would have certain things that would automatically leap to mind. It might have to do with healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, or even raising the dead. Our answer might have to do with his ability to calm the storm, or walk on water, or multiply food in order to feed enormous crowds of people. We might think of his faithfulness to the Father, his willingness to suffer on our behalf, or his willingness to forgive. Maybe we would mention his dedication to prayer. It might be any number of these things, or maybe even others that we have not mentioned here.

 

  There is another area that may not be thought of immediately, and that is his teaching. As we look at the Gospels, his teaching is one of the things that amazed those who heard him. At the end of arguably the most well-known discourse of Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew records, “And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” (Matthew 7:28-29)

 

  I have often read those two verses and thought how amazing it would have been to hear these words directly from Jesus. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine being in the crowd that day as Jesus teaches about what it means to be a part of the Kingdom of God? As amazing as that would be, I do not think that this is the point Matthew is making. The point seems to be that Jesus does not teach like the scribes. The scribes of Jesus’ day taught Scripture based on the teaching and interpretations of the rabbis that had preceded them. Jesus, however, taught as the One who has the authority to interpret Scripture correctly. He is the authoritative interpreter of the Bible. When we stop and think about it, we realize that this really makes sense. After all, Jesus is the central figure of the entire Bible. This is what he taught his disciples. Prior to his ascension, Luke tells us twice in Luke 24 that Jesus taught his followers that all Scripture points to him (Luke 24:27, 44-45).

 

  I think there is a lesson here for us in how we read and apply biblical teachings in our lives. I think there is something here that we need to see as we encounter difficult passages as we study our Bibles, and that is that all Scripture has been left for us to introduce us to the Author. The Bible is meant to inform us about what God has done for us and can continue to do in us and through us. The Old Testament speaks continually of the promise of the Coming One. The Gospels identify Jesus of Nazareth as the fulfillment of that promise, and the rest of the New Testament gives example after example of what our response is to be because Jesus has come and will come again. When we read the Bible with these thoughts in mind, I believe we will be continually amazed at the immense love that God has for us. It will remind us of the lengths to which he has gone in order to have a relationship with us. And I believe it will move us to a deeper love and commitment to the One who came to teach us what it means to be counted as His people.

 

—Jeff Grisham