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Monday, 28 October 2013

Christ and Scripture (Part 3)

I have a suspicion that we can perhaps get the best model for engaging Scripture from one biblical passage. It is Luke's record of Jesus' encounter with the disciples on the road to Emmaus (24:13-53). I encourage you to read it again. It is absolutely brim-full of insights - at least hints of everything we need to know about encountering Christ through Scripture. And allowing Christ to interpret Scripture for us. I can't go into lots of detail here (any USMM students reading this, get ready to dig deep into it!) but here are a few thoughts.

Jesus meets us where we are, on a journey in conversation with each other, struggling with life in all of its messiness, pain, disappointment, and confusion as well as the good stuff (i.e.not just in the Bible study, your daily quiet time or faith confessions). And he's happy to come to us hidden and in disguise at times, getting us to be honest about our feelings and experiences ( he doesn't want us getting all religious on him!). So when we're at the point when we want to cry out because things just don't make sense, that could well be him turning up. He's content to start with our experiences and even the testimony of miracles that raise a hope we hardly dare believe. But he doesn't just leave us in the realm of experience, whether our feelings or the confusing testimonies of the supernatural. He takes us back to the Scriptures.

He helps us to understand that all the Scriptures were always all about him - and he makes that which was familiar blaze with freshness. He reveals himself in the Scriptures. We learn later that this was not just stimulating the disciples' minds but setting their hearts on fire. He reaches the deepest part of them as he opens up the Scriptures to them. But it is significant that that though they were granted insight to Scripture, it was only as he enacted the breaking of bread that they really recognise and encounter him. It is by pointing them to his death on the Cross that they truly begin to see beyond concept and testimony to the person, the one it's all about. This is just one of the reasons why I believe that the Cross lies at the heart of God's self-revelation in Scripture. It is the crux of the story; everything turns on this.

But the process of revelation and encounter is not complete until this Christ is shared with others. Then they too come to encounter the risen Christ. And their encounter with the Messiah catapults them into engagement with his Mission. They are to be witnesses of the resurrection and sowers of its message. They - and we - get to continue the story that Scripture unfolds, that Jesus has just been revealing, and that is all about him.

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