Tuesday, May 07, 2013

What a teacher!

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Luke 24:36-53

TO CHEW ON: “And He opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” Luke 24:45

The resurrected Jesus appeared to His disciples numerous times. Their conflicted states of mind when they saw Him are evident by His words to them: “Peace to you,” “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?” He knew they needed an understanding of the meaning of His life and death. They had had the right idea of His identity (Messiah) but the wrong idea of what kind of kingdom He would establish and how He would do it.

Jesus taught them how His life and death fulfilled plans of a kingdom way bigger than any they had imagined – one that would encompass “all nations” vs. 47. He showed them how it was all there, in the prophetic Old Testament Scriptures. His explanation helped them 'get it.'

Still today we have blind spots about what God’s plan is about. Various teachers get on their hobby horses to expound their views of how it works. Emphasis on certain Bible passages can lead to beliefs that the Gospel is mainly about personal prosperity or gaining God’s favor by living a prescribed outward lifestyle. Putting faith in human ideas that seem to make more sense than God’s can lead to a lopsided gospel that focuses on God’s mercy and grace to the exclusion of His holiness, righteousness and justice.

How can we know that what we believe is truth? I would suggest three principles - two of them modeled by Jesus in this passage:

1. Jesus used the Scriptures. In His time this was the writings of the patriarchs and prophets. He frequently quoted the Psalms, Isaiah and other writers. God’s truth is based on the Scriptures and that means all of it, not just proof texts. Similarly we need to base our beliefs on what the Bible says.

2. We need God as our teacher. Here the disciples’ teacher was Jesus - God the Son. Our teacher, now that Jesus has ascended to heaven, is God the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:10-13; John 14: 16-17, 26)

3. We need to line up our lives with what we know; the word for that would be obedience. Romans 1 gives us a sobering picture of what happens to our “understanding” when we live in disobedience.

PRAYER: Dear Holy Spirit, please open my understanding to comprehend God's plan and my part in it. Then fill me with the power to share it with others.

MORE: I believe that two ways the Holy Spirit uses to teach us what the Bible means is through the use of our own common sense and  the wisdom of others. An article titled “22 Principles of Biblical Interpretation: How to Eliminate Apparent Bible Contradictions” begins:

“One of the major reasons why people have different ideas concerning what the Bible says is that they use different rules or standards for interpreting it. We believe that the following principles, called “canons of interpretation” are essential to understand and apply if there is to be any hope of Christians getting to the truth when they read the Bible.”
It suggests some excellent principles to use when interpreting the Bible.

"22 Principles of Biblical Interpretation: How to Eliminate Apparent Bible Contradictions" 

Are there any of these principles with which you disagree?


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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