Does fire burn within you?
“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me…”
John 5:39 (NIV)
It is interesting that at the beginning of his ministry Jesus quotes from the three main divisions of the Old Testament: the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. In Luke chapter 4, verses 4, 8, and 12 he quotes from Deuteronomy; in verse 11 from a Psalm; and in verses 18-19 from Isaiah.
Then at the end of his earthly ministry, in Luke 24:27 and 44, Jesus again refers to these three divisions which comprise the Old Testament and makes a significant point: ‘…beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself… “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” ’
So, Jesus initiated and inaugurated his ministry by quoting all three divisions of the Old Testament (Luke 4). And then, Jesus sealed and commemorated his earthly ministry by extensively quoting the same three divisions (Luke 24).
When Jesus was explaining that the Old Testament in all its components testified about him, the two individuals on the road to Emmaus said to each other: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32). I wonder, do we find eternal life in the Old Testament scriptures? Do our hearts burn when we read through the Law, the Prophets and the Writings? Eternal life is only found in Jesus Christ, and our hearts will only be on fire when we read the Old Testament if we recognise that these scriptures testify of him. This is an important perspective to take when reading the Old Testament; it is the key to understanding it correctly.
Yes, these ancient texts have their historical and cultural setting, and their original context cannot be set aside, but until we see how each division of the Old Testament speaks of Jesus, prefigures Jesus, testifies of Jesus, we haven’t read it in the way Jesus himself understood these passages.
Do we want our hearts ignited and burning as we read the Old Testament? Do we want to be zealously on fire as we explore these texts? Then let’s embrace the statement Jesus made to the Jewish leaders: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.” (John 5:39). Verses 40 and 46 tell us that sadly they refused to come to Jesus to have life and that they didn’t grasp that Moses wrote about Jesus.
Let’s not make the same mistake; rather let’s be on fire for Jesus.
Father may our hearts burn as we read the scriptures that speak of your Son and receive the life that is in him. Amen
Study by Barry Robinson
About the writer:
Barry Robinson is a minister and Regional Pastor for the South of England in Grace Communion International.
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