How readest thou?

By Rick Kirk

“Come and see” was an invitation to Nathanael from Philip to know Jesus “whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” This account was written in the book of John chapter 1 verse 45. Philip’s invitation was in response to Nathanael who had doubted what he can learn from a person from Nazareth (John 1:46). 

More than 2000 years later, how can one see Jesus? We will not see the physical Jesus, but we see His life, death, burial and resurrection through the records before us. Such evidence have been preserved in the bible. It, being the word of God, is still available today for all to see and hear.

In the book of Luke chapter 10, preceding the parable of the Good Samaritan, a certain lawyer asked Jesus “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25). In response, Jesus replied with two questions, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” (Luke 10:26)

The first question from Jesus was to direct the lawyer to refer to the law of Moses. The law in written form, is common knowledge amongst the Jews and more so amongst teachers of the law, the lawyer being one. Jesus did not ask what the lawyer think, perceive or feel the law of Moses is. He used a written document to set the basis of the discussion on how one inherits eternal life. 

From reading the passage in Luke chapter 10, both Jesus and the lawyer knew the law of Moses well. Without hesitation, the lawyer answered clearly and precisely that one ‘… shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ (Luke 10:27). Jesus agreed with him wholeheartedly as these were the two great commandments: “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt 22:37-40) as there is no other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:31). In so doing, Jesus moved to ensure that there will nopossibility of ambiguity in understanding the subject matter at hand. The law of Moses would serve as a common point of reference in their discourse where misrepresentation, arguments or misunderstanding will be avoided. 

Similarly, the word of God in the bible serve as a point of reference pertaining to all things eternal. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17). “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). This truth is contained in the bible. Thankfully, we can “know the truth, and the truth shall make us free” (John 8:32) for God’s word is truth (John 17:17). Searching, comparing and reasoning the scriptures help one understand accurately what is expected to receive eternal life (John 5:39)

Secondly, Jesus asked the lawyer, “What is your reading of it?” This question was not to find out if the lawyer know how to read, but what he understands from quoting the first and second great commandments.

Knowing to quote the scriptures is all very good. However, one needs to understand what a word, verse or passage means and its application. Failing to do so correctly can, and often, lead to a different conclusion. Sometimes there may be a tendency to read more into a verse or passage, and at other times, omit or misread thereby contributing to disputes and unwarranted allegations. In an account in Matthew 22:29, Jesus admonished the Sadducees for they were “… mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” Like many Jews, they “have a zealfor God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2).

This example of Jesus shows how we ought to preach and teach by referring to book, chapter and verse. We can help others understand God’s word and perspective accurately just as Priscilla and Aquila did to help Apollos (Acts 18:26). In doing this we will save both ourselves and those who hear us (1 Tim 4:16) through searching and obeying the written word of God to inherit eternal life. 

Matt 13:16-17 “…Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”