Have you ever opened the Bible, read it, and walked away feeling like nothing happened? You read it but you didn’t feel any different. Maybe you related more to this guy from Pirates of the Caribbean than a disciple of Jesus.
Perhaps you’ve had the thought, there has to be more to reading the Bible than this. The Bible is a window through which we see the glory of Jesus, but if you were to be honest, you would say “that wasn’t my experience this morning.” Maybe you think that it would be awesome if Jesus just showed up and talked to you instead. Then your morning time with the Word would be awesome. Then it would be worship. Then the glory of God would be real to me.
The Bible is a window through which we see the glory of Jesus.Tweet
But what I want to propose to you is spending time in the Bible will do the same for your heart, your soul, for your spiritual life as sitting at the feet of the resurrected Jesus. How does this happen? The apostle John said that the Holy Spirit would come and enable him and the other eye-witnesses to put what they saw into words (John 14:26, 16:13) so that people could see the glory of Christ by reading and so believe and have eternal life. We can see and be changed by the glory of Christ without seeing His body.
John 20:29-31 Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
The work of the Holy Spirit in the writings of the New Testament is to reveal the glory of Christ. The Word of God is to tool the Holy Spirit uses. The glory of Christ is seen by spending time in the Word of God. So the Apostle John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit tells us that the act of engaging the Scriptures can be just as powerful, just as life-changing, as literally listening to the physically resurrected Jesus.
1 John 1:1-4 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life — that life was revealed, and we have seen it and we testify and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us — what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
The act of engaging the Scriptures can be just as powerful, just as life-changing, as literally listening to the physically resurrected Jesus.Tweet
John intends that the faith and life he received by seeing the glory of Christ, his readers would also be able to receive by reading what he saw-the glory of Christ shining through inspired writing. This is a foundational truth that we need to believe when we open up our Bibles and it should blow our minds. The same life-changing power that people encountered when they met Jesus is sitting in our laps. But the reason we don’t experience that is that we don’t approach our Bibles that way. We also discount the ordinary means of reading. God intends for us to experience the glory of Christ by reading the Word of God. Through the most ordinary activity, we can experience the most wonderful reality. Writer David Mathis said, “One of the biggest scams Satan has running is the lie that reading the Bible is a chore.”
A few years ago, my wife and I got gift cards to two very nice steakhouses. It made for a few great back-to-back dates. And oh man, were those steaks amazing! Soaked in butter, medium rare, presented on a sizzling plate to keep your meat warm. Do you know what we didn’t do? Scarf that meat down. No, we enjoyed it. We savored it. We took our time enjoying every juicy, tender bite, of that perfectly cooked meat. Do you know what food I do scarf down? A McDouble from McDonald’s. The faster you can eat it, the better. Don’t think about, don’t savor it, just eat quickly. If you can avoiding chewing, so the “burger” doesn’t hit your taste buds, that’s ideal.
Do you know what the sad thing is? We often treat the Word of God more like a McDouble than a fine steak. When it comes to your Bible reading slow down, enjoy the process, and SAVOR the glory of Christ. So that what you read can affect your heart. Feed your mind on the Word of God and slowly digest it, savoring the texture, and cherishing the flavor. That doesn’t happen when we rush through it and forget about it. John Owen said, “The design of the whole Scripture, and all the parts of it, hath an impress on it of divine wisdom and authority: and hereof there are two parts: first, To reveal God unto men; and secondly, To direct men to come unto the enjoyment of God.” God wants us to enjoy being in a relationship with Him so He gave His Word.
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THRIVING IN EXILE
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