O,T. Reading: Isaiah 53 January 03, 2016
N.T. Reading: Luke 1.1-4 and Acts 1.1-3.
Jesus’ Bible and Our Bible
Introduction: One of the most convincing arguments that we have as Christians that the Bible has authority over all of our lives is the example of how Jesus lived and placed his whole life under the authority of the Scripture. And the impressive thing about saying that is that the Scripture that Jesus had available to him was what we call the Old Testament! None of the writings that make up what we call the New Testament even existed until at least 30 years after Jesus ascended into Heaven to the Right Hand of God our Father! Here are some ways in which Jesus placed himself under the Authority of what we call the Old Testament:
- Jesus placed his entire conduct and behavior under the authority of the O.T.
- In His relationship with his greatest adversary, Satan, from the very start of his ministry, during his temptation in the desert, Satan suggested to him that if Jesus would worship Satin, he would receive in exchange all the authority, ownership and splendor of all the kingdoms of this world (which belonged to Satan)….. if Jesus would only worship him!
Jesus’ answer was very simple: “It is written : Worship the Lord your God and serve him only,” meaning that it came from what we call the O.T. Where in the world did he find that in the O.T.? Well, there it is in Dt. 6.13. How often do you regulate your behavior and priorities of what you worship by consulting Deuteronomy?
- Of course we do not, because we have the N. T. and what is important is that we have the example of Jesus, and He is our role model for all of our behavior. That just emphasizes our needto honor the authority of Scripture in our behavior!
- II. Secondly, Jesus carriedouthis mission in the world strictly in accordance with what he found written in Scripture, even when it meant his violent death on the cross!
- A.Jesus was taken prisoner in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter tried to defend him with the sword, believing that the Messiah must not suffer at the hand of the Roman Jesus responded with a rebuke with these words,
“Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think that I cannot call on my Father and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then, would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say that it must happen in this way?” (Matt. 26.52-54).
- Then again, in Luke 24, after the resurrection of Jesus, he explains to his disciples “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” And, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24.26 & 44).
So, not only Jesus’ personal behavior, but also how he conducted his mission was determined by his submission to the authority of Scripture.
III. And, finally, in his controversies with his human challengers, Jesus always appealed to the Scriptures to defend his arguments.
- In Mark 7.9-13, when Jesus was discussing with the Pharisees their human traditions of the Pharisees, he said this,
“You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions. For Moses said, ‘honor your father and your mother, and anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that If a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might have received from me is Corban (that is a gift devoted exclusively to God, then you no longer let him do anything for his mother or father. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition.”
- B. On another occasion, discussing with the Sadducees, about one of their trick questions to trap Jesus about a hypothetical woman who had married seven brothers to be able to produce an heir to the brothers’ family. They asked Jesus, whose wife would she be in Heaven? Jesus replied,
“…you are in error because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God….Now about the dead rising – have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are badly mistaken.”
- IV. Now, our Bible, the New Testament. Jesus is the bridge of authority between the Old and New Testaments, because he said in John 5.39, to the Jewish leaders of his day,
“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me.”
- Jesus insured that the testimony about himself and his mission would continue into our day and age, through the apostles that he chose and their witness. According to Acts 1.21-22, these twelve apostles had to be eye-witnesses to Jesus’ entire ministry right up to the moment when he was ascended into Heaven!
Sometimes, when we think about how the writers of the O.T. received their messages, the ways and means of that communication seems a little strange to us. At times, God spoke to his prophets in dreams, or visions, or burning bushes that never burned up, or by means of angels (a word that simply means “messenger”). So we get the idea that those who wrote the Bible were weird and strange, at least somehow different from us.
But they really were not all that different. Read John 20.24-29, the well-known story of “doubting” Thomas. Thomas had his doubts, and Jesus offered him scientific evidence, simply giving Thomas the opportunity to place his hands and fingers into Jesus’ wounds. And, Thomas followed that evidence to the logical conclusion, that Jesus was his Lord and God! Thomas is not all different from the rest of us, now is he? Have you ever had any doubts about what you see in the Bible? Check out the witnesses and their evidence.
Now for one more eye-witness story: Acts 4.13-20, the eye-witness account of two unlearned fishermen before the Jewish Sanhedrin, the highest ruling council in all of Israel at that time.
Now, let us read again how Luke received his inspiration for what we call Luke’s Gospel: (Luke 1.1-4). Luke was a hard-working gatherer of information who must have spent a lot of time interviewing the apostles and other eye-witnesses of the life and ministry of Jesus. Nothing of visions, dreams, no burning bushes, just the hard work of talking to people who had known and seen the Lord during the “days of his flesh”.
The lesson here is that the Authority of the New Testament is not incompatible with research, the kind of research and interviews that Luke took pains to do to gather his material and present it in the books we call the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. And these books are part of that great collection we call the New Testament – and they speak of the Authority of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now it is our turn to do our own research: Search the Scriptures, for it is they which witness to me, said Jesus………..
And, we have not even mentioned the work of the Holy Spirit and the Authority of the Bible. That must have to wait for another time and another sermon……