by Steven Chan
To some people, it seems very difficult to them to understand what one needs to do to please God. Some become confused when they listen to very complicated arguments about certain doctrines or teachings of the Bible. To some, it looks like one needs to be as good as an expert lawyer to interpret and understand the Bible. Is the gospel of Christ or the Word of God so complex and difficult to understand?
If it the teachings of Christ were so complex and difficult then it would not be likely that the common man in Judea would understand the teachings of Jesus. But such was not the case. In Mark 12:37, the Bible tells us that “the common people heard him gladly”. That observation was made after Jesus had answered the question posed to Him by a scribe as to what commandment is the first of all? Jesus gave him the answer and the scribe was pleased with His straightforward answer of ‘loving God with all of one’s heart, soul and mind as the first commandment’ and Jesus also told him the second commandment, was to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’.
Then Jesus posed a question in Mark 12:35-37: “How say the scribes that the Christ is the son of David? David himself said in the Holy Spirit, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet. David himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he his son?”
Now it is evident that Jesus was asking an interesting and challenging question. How can the scribes say that Christ is the son of David and yet David called him ‘Lord’? Clearly, Jesus was implying that whilst Christ was of the physical lineage of David, He was also the Son of God and therefore, David recognized Him as ‘Lord’.
Immediately after this discourse, the Bible noted that the “the common people heard him gladly”. It implied that the common people understood the point made by Jesus about the Christ. The common people followed and understood the reasoning of Jesus as He expounded or explained the teachings of the Scriptures. Jesus did not use very complicated arguments. He merely highlighted what the Scriptures said. The Bible makes the same point in I Cor 14:29: “So also ye, unless ye utter by the tongue speech/words easy to understood, how shall it be known what is spoken?”
The Bible warned us that our minds may be corrupted by crafty teachings such that we depart from the simplicity that is in Christ: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ.” (2 Cor 11:3) Some people want to be impressed by the “smooth and fair/flattering speech that beguile the hearts of the innocent.” (Rom 16:18) Others seek to be moved by persuasive words of the wisdom of men” (1 Cor 2:4)
The teachings of the Word of God are simple and straightforward. Indeed, that’s why God said that His word is food for us (Matt 4:4) and we should delight in the simple truths revealed in the Scriptures. No wonder the Psalmist declared in Psa 119:97-105: “Oh how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thy commandments make me wiser than mine enemies; For they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers; For thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, Because I have kept thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, That I might observe thy word. I have not turned aside from thine ordinances; For thou hast taught me. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: Therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And light unto my path.”
May we all be diligent in reading the Word of God and meditating on what it says. Psalms 119:130 says: “The opening of thy words giveth light; It giveth understanding unto the simple.” Let’s open our Bibles and allow the light of God provide us with understanding.