“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me…” —Jesus, John 5:39
The Pharisees were always so close, yet so far away.
Although some believe that all first century Pharisees were vile religious robots, many were very sincere in their devotion to God—just severely misdirected.
The Pharisees gave their lives to searching, understanding, and interpreting the Scriptures. They were so faithful at honoring the text that Jesus once said, “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Although the Pharisees were experts at living out the Scriptures, they were ignorant in allowing the Scriptures to live in them. These men tried the best they could to love God with all their heart, soul and might as Deut. 6:4 commands. However, according to Jesus, they did not “have the love of God living within them.” They searched the Scriptures to find eternal life, but neglected to behold eternal life when He stood right before of them.
So close, yet so far away…
In many ways, the story of the Pharisees is our story—or at least it’s my story.
I’ve spent countless hours and hundreds of dollars in searching, understanding, and interpreting the Scriptures. I have bookshelves full of devotional books and Bible studies. I have earned two theological degrees. I have full sets of some of the best commentaries. No doubt, I understand the value of these and have experienced the wonderful gift of being able to understand and interpret the Sacred text.
However, like the Pharisees, my searching the Scriptures has often times blinded me from simply stopping and beholding the person of Jesus. Yes, the scriptures are “living and active” and paint a beautiful and accurate picture of God in Jesus Christ. However, I’ve strived for so long to gaze into the text to see Jesus that I have neglected to look up and gaze upon His presence right in front of me (and within me).
So close, yet so far way…
So, I’m throwing in the towel.
Don’t worry, I’m not saying I’m never going to read the Bible again. I’m simply going to allow myself the grace to try something different for a season.
So, instead of striving to gain glimpses of God by searching the Scriptures, I’ve been pausing and beholding God in sunrises and sunsets. Instead of trying to find God in a devotional book, I’ve been stopping and sensing God in the cool breeze of the day. Instead of studying semantics, I’ve been savoring my son’s embrace.
If you have found yourself in a season where searching the Scriptures have become a hindrance to you beholding Jesus, then quit looking for and gazing into and start looking up and gazing upon the risen Christ who is closer to you than you are to yourself.
Try trading in searching for beholding for a week and leave me a comment and let me know how you are doing.
“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you…” - John 5:39-40, MSG
“Open my eyes, that I my behold…” – Ps. 119:18, ESV