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John 5:37-47


The Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 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. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 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. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do 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? (ESV)
The Old Testament Speaks of Christ
Wednesday of Lent 4
9 March 2016
Every Sunday the Christian church reads from the Old Testament in its divine service. Why are Christians reading what appears to be an antiquated document penned by Jewish holy men living in the ancient cultural backwater of Israel? What could be gained from such reading? Even if it could be fully debunked and reinterpreted to bring it up to date, modern thinking doubts that it would be useful to the contemporary religious mind. Haven't we advanced far beyond the primitive religious sentiments of the wild holy men and untamed seers of the ancient near east? This prejudice against the Old Testament is the prevailing view of university religion departments everywhere. This magisterial rejection of the message of the Old Testament has had baleful consequences in actual church teaching, where the Old Testament is a barely tolerated document not often studied.
 
The Son of God Himself had a far different view. Not only was the Old Testament the very Word of God, but it was a direct testimony and God's promise to the people of God about the Messiah's coming and ministry to seek and save the lost. The Old Testament promise of the Messiah was potent testimony to the long standing promises of God; promises that God would not fail to put into effect.
 
If the opinion of the Son of God means anything at all to the Church He founded, we need to change our dismissive views about His Old Testament. In the pages of that writing He Himself is unveiled, along with His glorious grace. St. Peter, Christ's apostolic witness to this truth says, "Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.  It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things" (1Pt 1:10-12).

 

Martin Luther

"St. Peter refers us to Holy Scripture in order that we may see there how God keeps His promise, not because of any merit on our part, but out of pure grace. For it is the purpose of all Scripture to tear us away from our works and to bring us to faith. And it is necessary for us to study Scripture well in order to become certain of faith. So St. Paul also leads us into Scripture when he says in Romans 1 that God promised the Gospel "beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures" (Rm 1:2). And in Romans 3 [:21] he says that the law and the prophets bear witness to the faith through which one is justified.
 
"In Acts 17 we read that Paul preached the faith to the Thessalonians, led them into Scripture, and expounded it to them, and that they returned to Scripture every day and searched to see whether his teachings were in agreement with it (Acts 17:1-11). Therefore we must do the same thing. We must go back to the Old Testament and learn to prove the New Testament from the Old. There we shall see the promise concerning Christ, as Christ Himself declares in John 5: 'You search the Scriptures ... and it is they that bear witness about me.' (Jn 5:39). Likewise: "If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me" (Jn 5:46).
 
"Therefore we must ignore the useless babblers who despise the Old Testament and say that it is no longer necessary; for we must derive from it alone the basis of our faith. For God sent the prophets to the Jews to bear witness to the Christ who was to come. Consequently, the apostles also convicted the Jews everywhere from their own Scriptures and proved that this was the Christ. Thus the books of Moses and the prophets are also Gospel, since they proclaimed and described in advance what the apostles preached or wrote later about Christ."

Martin Luther, Sermon on the First Epistle of St. Peter, 1.9
 
Prayer
Lord Christ, You have spoken by Your holy prophets of old and You promised Your coming and salvation to them. In the fullness of time Your promise was fulfilled when You were born of a virgin. Grant that we might diligently look into the things that the angels desire to see and in those sacred pages hear the message of the holy gospel. Amen.
 
For Pastor Joseph Radrianasolo, that he would be upheld in every good deed and truthfully proclaim the faith of the holy church
 
For infants, who will be brought to holy baptism, that the Lord their God would watch over and guard them in body and soul until the day when they are brought into the kingdom through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit
 
For all those suffering from depression that they would be comforted that God knows them as His children in Christ

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Isenheim Altarpiece (1515)

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