Monday, August 2, 2010

The Treasure Chest

Of the many reasons that believers read the Bible, first and foremost is to know the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me" (John 5:39).

I was struck by this today in my reading of Psalm 1. David depicts the godly man in this chapter who delights in the law of the Lord, walks not in the counsel of the wicked, and who will be "like a tree planted by the rivers of water" (Psalm 1:3). Only one person in all history perfectly fits this description, the Lord Jesus, and a reading of the Psalm becomes an opportunity for grateful praise, thanksgiving, and appreciation of our Savior as we see Him as the first and best expression the Psalmist's theme.

The Bible should always be read with this theme as the foundational context. Who is the Lord Jesus? What has He done? What is He doing, and what does He promise to do forevermore for those who trust Him? We either begin here, that is, with He who is "the Beginning," or we do not adequately begin at all (Revelation 1:8). The Lord Jesus declared that the Scriptures "testify of Me." Therefore, we must approach them always with the expectation that the knowledge and understanding of Christ awaits us in every book, chapter, verse, word, and letter. Certainly we will see only glimpses of His glory, and sometimes as we read, we may feel that we've seen little at all. However, consistent consideration of Scripture with the centrality of the Lord Jesus in mind will result in growing apprehension of His person and work, and the changing of ourselves into His spiritual and moral image, as promised by the Apostle Paul:

"Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).

Very early in my Christian life, I was taught that until we have seen the person and work of the Lord Jesus in any passage of Scripture, we have not adequately interpreted the passage. If the Scriptures testify of Christ, this is true. However, I must be honest with you that despite my longheld conviction about such an emphasis, I still find this to be a great challenge in the reading of the Bible. The world, the devil, and the flesh unite to divert our attention from the holy theme, and how easy it is to read without remembering that the written Word exists to reveal and glorify the living Word.

The Lord Jesus is the Treasure of the ages, and of our hearts if we have believed. We might say that the Bible is the treasure chest that reveals "the unsearchable riches of Christ" as we open it with expectation to be illuminated by His glory (Ephesians 3:8). May the Holy Spirit who also purposes to exalt and reveal our Savior remind us often that the Scriptures exist for testimony of the Lord Jesus. Every sub-subject, as it were, will gleam and glimmer in His reflected glory as we expect the crucified, risen, and ascended Christ to shine forth from the pages of the Book devoted to the revelation of His Person and work.

"He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence."
(Colossians 1:18)

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