The Scriptures and the Power of God

The Scriptures and the Power of God

Holy Week 2022

It is Tuesday of the Holy Week. Jesus engages with the Jewish leaders and calls out their errors.

Sunday is coming.

But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.” – Matthew 22:29

Picture this: the King of kings, Lord of lords, almighty and everlasting Savior of the world is walking the earth. Previously during the week, Jesus had been praised when entering the town of Jerusalem (Mk 11:1-11). He had cleansed the temple and cursed the fig tree (Mk 11:12-26). Now, his authority is being questioned by the Jewish leaders.

Tension amongst the Jewish leaders had been steadily rising as Jesus had administered authoritative teachings, discussing the Kingdom of God, throughout his ministry (Mt 7:29). As Jesus was walking into the Temple he was met by the Jewish leaders (Mk 11:27). How did they respond? They scrutinized, challenged, and doubted the authority God has given to his son, Jesus Christ. Instead of having open ears and tender hearts, the Jewish leaders immediately saw Jesus as a threat to their own righteousness.

Jesus debates with the Jewish leaders while covering several topics (Mk 11:27-12:40; Mt 21:23-23:39; Lk 20:1-21:4). The Jewish leaders had intended to entrap and find fault in Jesus’ teachings to discredit him. They sought to belittle and ensnare Christ through their questioning and prompting. The Jewish leaders hated Jesus because he claimed to not only be from God but to be equal to God (John 5:18). They could not accept his authority.

These religious leaders were supposed to be the trained or ‘certified’ ones when it came to such matters, involving the Scriptures. Jesus comes swooping in. He interferes, in the best way, with the Jewish leaders and their inability to uphold God’s teachings as they have now turned Scripture into fallible human tradition. For the Jewish leaders, Jesus is a threat to their way of life. He is a threat to their identity. Jesus was not ‘certified’ by man, but was given all authority – in heaven and on earth – by the God of the universe (Mt 28:18).

As Jesus stated, the Jewish leaders were wrong (Mt 22:29). They did not know the Scriptures. They did not know the power of God.

In application, the Christian has to know the Scriptures as they reveal the power of God. The Christian has to know the power of God in order to see the value of the Scriptures. This is not surface-level knowledge. The knowledge Jesus is referring to requires soul change. Jesus Christ and the Salvation he provides has to threaten our own self-perceived and sinful righteousness, just as it threatened that of the Jewish leaders.

While our sinful nature dashes our hopes of being justified by our good deeds, Jesus’ death and resurrection demand an internal change that translates to an eternal change of our very soul. Jesus interferes in our lives in the best way. He requires a change in the depths and crevices of our soul, which then produces an outward transformation.

We have no righteousness outside of Christ. Because of Christ’s authority, we can be hidden, in him, by his wondrous acts on the cross (Col 3:3). As Christ’s authority comes from God and only by the work of Christ, we can be made righteous.

What is Good?

What is Good?

Missions What I Learned Last Sunday

Christ’s death and resurrection demands change at the innermost, conflictory aspects of our souls. At the Ridgeview Conference for Global Missions, a woman named AN* described her life’s story in light of God’s convictions and holiness through Scripture. She described her need for a savior after her empty and meaningless pursuit of Buddhism. She said she desired a personable, accessible, and relevant God. She discussed how the Lord used fellow believers to encourage her towards Christ’s saving works on the cross. AN explained her experience of undergoing the devastating diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB). Throughout her battle with TB, she stated she had experienced the significance of Romans 8:28 to an incredible degree.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

As I was reflecting on her story, I was struck by her discussion of suffering working out for good. Humanity’s perception of goodness is often misaligned with what the Bible reveals as good. Through life’s experiences, at some point, we come up with the characteristics of goodness whether we realize it or not. We determine that certain things are ideal and acceptable as others are unfavorable and negative. Our lives are defined by crucial events that shape and mold our worldview. For AN, her suffering gave opportunity for growth in Christ. It gave way to the eternal change of salvation. Most of the global population would deem AN’s TB diagnosis as a negative or unfavorable aspect of life. But for AN, the outcome of her challenging experience was good.

When we believe that the Bible is true, relevant, sufficient, and inerrant, we proclaim that God is good. We proclaim that the things he sets before us on this earth have purpose and reason. We trust that he is in control and holding us in our sorrow. We believe that God is the very definition of goodness.

Another passage that was heavily discussed involved Romans 10:13-15.

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” – Romans 10:13-15

AN called on the name of the Lord. She was saved. AN believed that Jesus Christ died and rose again for the reconciliation of her sin. She was able to believe in Christ because of what she had heard. AN heard of this saving grace because someone preached to her. These individuals and vessels of truth were sent to reach AN. At the heart of this Biblical process, AN heard and believed the good news.

I ask you, what defines goodness?

In Titus 3:3-5, it is stated that “when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us…” Because God is good, sending his Son to die, for our sake, became his outpouring action of goodness. God, in Christ, bringing us from death to life is the good news.

*As she often does ministry in closed countries, we have withheld AN’s real name.