Even The Scripture Testifies of Me
39 “You search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive honor from men. 42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; If another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from only God? 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you – Moses in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
I have read these passages of Christ before the Sanhedrin many times but failed to see the stinging rebuke given by Christ. The opening line of verse thirty-nine says, “You search the Scriptures.” There are two ways to take this passage. The first being stated exactly as written. “You search the Scriptures.” This implication is that they search the Scriptures believing that the Scriptures will give them eternal life.
Perhaps the harsher way of looking at this is more accurate. Hey you, go search the Scriptures. By searching you believe you will find eternal life. But instead of finding eternal life, you will find that they testify of Me!
As Christ stated before Nicodemus and the woman at the well, the only way to salvation is through Christ Jesus of which I am He. The scriptures on their own will not give us eternal life, it is only through Christ Jesus and a personal relationship with him that we will find salvation. The scriptures only testify, bear witness by the testimony of two witnesses of who I am.
Yes you are correct, at the time Christ spoke these words there was but one Testament, the Old Testament. But yet there was still two witness contained in the one Testament. They being the law, and the prophets, having all Testified that Jesus is the Messiah.
But Christ ends the statement by saying, “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”
You see the law in and of itself assures no man of eternal life. Yet according to the Jews and their own writings, by Rabi Hillel of the 1st Century BCE (BC) “One who has acquired unto himself the words of Torah, has acquired for himself the life of the world to come.” (Mishnah Aboth 2, 7, Soncino ed. Of the Talmud, p. 17). Jesus here makes use of this belief to remind the Jews that the Scriptures in which they thought to find eternal life were the very writings that testified of Him.
Christ continues, yet despite all the evidence presented by the witnesses and their testimony you will are not willing to come to Me. For it is only by coming to Me that you will have life.
I do not receive or seek honor from men, but I know you that you do not have the love of God in you. Why would Jesus say this? Because when one has the love of God in them, they are not seeking the approval of their fellow men. Because you seek the approval of others, I have come in the name of My Father, but you do not receive Me for you feel there is no need within you.
You seek honor from one another, yet fail to seek honor that comes from the only God? Because you do not seek the approval of God, do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father. Why? Because there is one whom you honor and respect. That would be Moses, and in Moses you trust. But if you really believed in Moses, then you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe even his writings, how will you believe in Me.
John cuts off the narrative of Christ before the Sanhedrin. It is like he left it open ended, but finishes with a startling question. “If you do not believe in the scriptures, how will you believe in My words?”
This should all cause us to ponder. How often have we cut out a portion of scripture because it made us uncomfortable? How often have we failed to listen to the Holy Spirit as He leads us into the path of righteousness because it requires us to change? To the listeners of Christ before the Sanhedrin, these same questions were being asked, and to each of us, Christ asks the same. Who will you follow?