Friday, October 13, 2017

Scriptural Murder in the Dark

In my younger days, I enjoyed playing a group game called Murder in the Dark. You turned the lights off and hid while one person was designated the murderer. The murderer would have to find people alone and run his finger across their throats. Most often, you would use an entire building or, at least, a large portion of the building to play the game, so frequently, you would end up in rooms you had either never seen or seen only once or twice, alone, in the dark, unable to tell what was really around you. Feeling as much as you could, sometimes you came close to figuring out what was in the room. Quite often what you expected was completely different when the lights came on. But no matter how close your guess may have been, there was always something in the room that you missed or misinterpreted just by touch. It took removing the veil of darkness to see how things really were.

The Apostle Paul described trying to understand Scripture in much the same way. In 2 Corinthians 2:14-15, he wrote, For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside only in Christ. Even to this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts (HCSB). Paul knew this from experience. He had grown up being taught the scriptures. He had studied under Gamaliel, one of the most renowned teachers of the day. But until Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he misunderstood the Scriptures. Once he met Jesus,  Paul spent three days without being able to see in fasting and prayer, rethinking everything he thought he knew. At the end of those three days, he stood up and began using those same Scriptures he had known all of his life to preach the good news that Jesus was the Messiah who had come to save us from our sins. Despite all of his great study, encountering Jesus was necessary for Paul to understand the Scriptures accurately.

The Bible, while it can be studied from an academic perspective, can never be understood fully in that way. Trying to convince people about the Bible's worth or accuracy, trying to make people understand the Creation account or believe in the Virgin Birth, is a waste of time until you come to believe in Jesus. Until that point, they are effectively wandering around in the dark trying to make sense of the room without any light. They might study and examine intensely and even come close to understanding, much like Paul did. But even having a  great understanding of scripture doesn't save people. Believing in Jesus does.

As we share the Gospel, we should share scripture with them. After all, God promised that His word would never return void. But we should focus on sharing Jesus with them - what the Bible tells us Jesus did but also what Jesus has done in our own lives. We must focus on Jesus above all else. Paul, in his own words, told the Corinthians, "When I came to you, brothers, announcing the testimony of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. For I didn’t think it was a good idea to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:1-2, HCSB). Paul could have quoted scripture until he was blue in the face and probably could have recited the entire Torah, but he chose not to know anything except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

If we want people to believe the Scriptures, let's bring them to Jesus. He will remove the veil from their hearts so they can understand.

Insulting Your Dinner Host

Suggested Reading: Ephesians 3 One of the things that drove me crazy when my children were younger was how they had no shame in asking p...