Word of the Week by Justin Breeden – The Danger of Religious Pride
The Word of the Week – The Danger of Religious Pride
John 5:39-40 NASB “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”
In the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John, we read about Jesus healing a man at the pool of Bethesda who had been lame for thirty-eight years (John 5:1-9). While it would seem that this miraculous event should have been the cause of great rejoicing it actually infuriated the Jewish religious leaders (John 5:10-16). Why? Because Jesus had healed the man on the Sabbath day and in their eyes this constituted the breaking of the Mosaic Law.
Jesus responds in verse 17, saying, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” However, rather than calming the men His remarks served to anger them further. In verse 18 we read, “…therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.“
Rejected, Jesus gives four witnesses regarding His Person:
- John the Baptist (v. 33-35)
- His Miracles (v. 36)
- God the Father (v.37-38)
- The Scriptures (v. 39-47).
Notice that it is the fourth point that Jesus elaborates upon the most. Why? Because these men esteemed themselves as “experts” regarding the Scriptures. In reality, however, they had no true understanding of the things of God at all, being proven in their rejection of Christ. As Warren Wiersbe writes, “[They] sought to know the Word of God but did not know the God of the Word!”
These men prided themselves on their Jewish nationality, their religious heritage, and their good works – believing these things would make them righteous before God. However, the Scriptures have always been clear that no man is made righteous by his good works (Genesis 6:8, Genesis 15:6, etc.). Sadly, many people today are trusting in these same things to make them righteous before God – such as church attendance, religious ceremony, religious family members, etc. In plain speech, those who die trusting in such things will spend eternity Hell!
In verse 40 Jesus plainly tells these men that in order to have “life” they must come to Him – yet they were unwilling. These men were “experts” in the Scriptures and yet they did not know the One the Scripture pointed them to. They were not concerned with God and His glory but with their own glory before men (v. 41-44). In the end, the very things which they trusted to save them would actually end up condemning them (v.45-47). Why? Because the only way of salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-10; Galatians 2:16; etc.).
John 14:6 NASB Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
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I am Justin Breeden. My wife, Stacy, and I live in Dandrdige, TN. Currently the pastor of French Broad Church of the Brethren. Previously I served as Pastor of Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN for two and a half years. I am studying the Two Wine Theory. Regarding my faith, I praise God that the Lord Jesus Christ was pleased to save me by His grace during the summer of 2006 at the age of 22.