John 5:39-40 – You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is they that testify on my behalf, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (NASB)
Recently I completed an Alpha course where participants were given the opportunity to examine issues of faith in a safe and loving environment and in community with others. It was a wonderful experience, and what struck me most was that even the most learned participants grew in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, even to their own amazement. Often we think that because we have been raised in Christian homes, and/or have become ministers within the church, we have what it takes.
Today's Scripture is clear on that point: we search and study, but unless we have a personal encounter with the loving and living Lord Jesus Christ, until we come to Him, we have only head knowledge. The Alpha course gives the opportunity for that knowledge to drop down to the heart level, revealing the relevance of faith in today's world, which is hostile to that faith.
The Scriptures testify to Jesus, and Alpha gives the opportunity to learn that, in 10 short weeks. Jesus said, "I am the way." Scripture is the road map, not the way itself.
When confronted with doubt, or when facing difficult times in our lives, we need a Lord who lives and loves unconditionally. Sometimes we need to put down our Bibles and come to Jesus, share His love with the unloved, and take up the life to which God calls us.
Our text today is clear: the knowledge of Scripture can in no way be a substitute for a daily walk with Jesus. Lest we become like the students of Scripture whom Jesus scolded, we must come to Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life.
Prayer: God of light, open the eyes of our hearts that we may truly see the way leading to life. Help us to see Jesus. Amen.