Today’s reading: John 5:25-47
There are very interesting points in today’s reading. First, is this:
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. John 5:39-40
It’s clear that in this verse Jesus is referring to the Old Testament scriptures. It’s a verse that’s a real problem for Protestant proponents of Sola Scriptura. We can anticipate their argument that they do not “refuse to come” to the Lord. That’s fair enough and I don’t think that the verse totally defeats the idea of Sola Scriptura. However, it definitely calls into question the idea that reading the scripture alone is enough to bring about your salvation.
The real question is the implication of idea that follows, how are we to “come to” Jesus? During the time Jesus was on earth people could literally come to him. Certainly, now we can come to him in prayer, but is there any other way? I would argue that there is. As we previously saw, the Bible says, “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:22-23). “Fullness” implies that the Church is the physical presence of Jesus in the world until he comes again. Thus, one can “come to” Jesus today by going to the Church.
Sadly, there is great confusion about this in our modern day. The verse says Jesus is head over “the Church”, a singular entity, and debate rages over which Church is “the Chruch”. In characteristic fashion, Jesus recognized there will be false churches:
I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. John 5:43
Thus, the true church, which is the physical presence of the Lord in this world, will not be received by some. However, other Churches, that come in their own name, arguably that of an earthly founder, will be received by those who, “search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life.”
Finally, notice that Jesus give acknowledgment to the traditional view that Moses wrote at least some part of the Old Testament:
Do you not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” John 5:45-47
Tomorrow: John 6:1-21