Home > Reading > NALC Lenten Devotion – March 17, 2017

Today’s readings: Jeremiah 5:1-9; Romans 2:25–3:18; John 5:30-47

Friday of the Week of Lent II

“You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).

Our Lord is making a fine distinction here. Of course, He is speaking of the Jewish Scriptures because, at this time, there were no New Testament writings. His message remains, however: eternal life and salvation are not to be found in the Scriptures apart from Christ!

Now, the fine point is that the whole of the Old and New Testaments contain Jesus Christ and point to Jesus Christ. The Bible proclaims the whole story of God at work for the salvation of the sinful world, through the life, death, resurrection, ascension and second coming of the Son of God, our Savior and Lord. For us, the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God and we don’t separate the Scriptures from Christ.

In Jesus’ time, however, there were those who were searching the Jewish Scriptures for eternal life but were not receiving and believing in Jesus, to whom those Scriptures bore witness! In this passage, Jesus is affirming that, as John the Baptizer bore witness to Him, the Jewish Scriptures bore witness to Him, even as Jesus bore witness to the Father who sent Him. Even Moses, Jesus says, was bearing witness to Him, pointing to the coming of the Savior!

And what does this say to us, we who have the Old and New Testaments? What does this say to we who have the whole Bible? It reminds us that Christ is on every page of the Bible, from the first to the last! It reminds us that even the Old Testament points to Christ and prepares for Christ. It reminds us that we cannot, as Christians, understand the Old Testament apart from Jesus and the New Testament. And this reminds us that the Bible is trustworthy and true, because it bears witness to Jesus Christ, God’s own Son!

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, help us to see you and to believe in you as Scripture bears witness to you. Amen.

Lenten Response: Read the first and last chapters of the Bible.

Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David M. Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.

Friday Lent 2 from North American Lutheran Church on Vimeo.

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Video of each day’s devotion is available here. The 2017 Lenten Devotional, based on Year I of the LBW and written by Pastor David Wendel, is available for download/printing in two formats and as a daily text/email message.

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