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Christ And The Word OF God

a study by

Ken Chant




See Luke 4:16 ff. In the Nazareth synagogue Jesus applied scripture to himself in a startling new way

  • on that day a new era began, a new kind of man appeared, a man empowered by the indwelling word of God.

  • Jesus saw something in scripture that no one before him had ever seen with such clarity and faith –


    (1) The greatest thing about Jesus was not his miracles, but his relationship with the word of God ‒

  • note how Luke 4:16-18 emphasises "preach" and "proclaim" (see also vs 22,31-32)

  • he constantly turned the attention of the people away from his miracles to his message.

  • (2) More than any person before him, Christ built his life and his ministry upon the truth and authority of the word of God ‒

  • it gave him his concept of his messianic office (Mt 26:53-56)

  • he defeated Satan by it in the wilderness

  • he healed in fulfilment of it.

  • (3) Most astonishing of all, he died in obedience to it, confident that he would rise again according to its promise ‒

  • yet how tenuous that promise seems; how seemingly thin the foundation it provided him! (cp. Mt 12:40; Mk 12:10-11; Lu 18:31-34)

  • see also Luke 24:44-47 (plus many other places where Jesus claimed that scripture was being fulfilled in him, Lu 22:37; Jn 10:35; He 10:7).

  • (4) Why did he have such confidence in the scriptures? It was because –


    (1) In this, Christ differed from –

    (a) The Psalmist

  • who saw scripture only as a righteous light (cp. Ps 119:9,105,130).

  • (b) The Pharisees

  • who saw scripture only as a ritual law (cp. Mk 12:24).

  • (2) By contrast, Jesus was the first man truly to see the need for an inner revelation of the word

  • Jesus gave the word a new authority

  • he approached it with a new kind of faith

  • he drew out of it a new kind of personal authority and personal power

  • and in particular –


    Christ demonstrated three things about God and scripture –

    (1) God is alive in scripture

    • the Bible is not just a book about God; rather, it is a self-revelation of God, who is alive in scripture, revealing himself to the earnest seeker (2 Pe 1:3-4; 1 Th 2:13; Cl 1:25-27; Ro 1:19-21)

    (2) God is accessible in scripture

    • this is in strong contrast with the temple and its forbidden altar, which only the priests could approach, and even then only if they were rostered for duty

    • no other faith has dared to make such an offer, that is, to make God freely and openly available to every person (not just priests or saints) who desires to seek him!

    (3) God is found in scripture by prayer

    • indeed, there is no salvation apart from the discovery of God in scripture (1 Pe 1:23-25)


    (1) Here we make the most surprising discovery of all: Christ had to struggle as we do to accept the scriptures and to embrace them by faith - see Hebrews 5:7-9.

    (2) This is because he faced the same barriers we face –

            (a) The Barrier of His Natural Perception

    • see Isaiah 9:6, and imagine how difficult it must have been for Jesus (when he was still a young man) to accept this witness of scripture about himself, for everything he could observe and feel about himself shouted a contrary message!

            (b) The Barrier of His Natural Desire

    • cp. his bitter struggle in Gethsemane, where he had to suppress his natural wishes and submit to the dictate of heaven.

            (c) The Barrier of His Natural Peers

    • e.g. Mark 6:1-4; 3:21; Luke 4:22-29.

            (d) The Barrier of His Supernatural Foe

    • see Matthew 4:1-4; etc.

    (3) Every person who seeks to embrace the command and promise of scripture faces the same barriers, and must break through them as Jesus did

  • only then can the full splendour and power of the Word of God be released into the believer’s life, as it was into the life of Christ.

  • conclusion

    See John 2:22. After the resurrection, the apostles discovered this new dimension in scripture, and they too became men of the new era

  • they saw that salvation came only by believing the scriptures (Ep 1:13; 1 Th 2:13)

  • they recognised that the scriptures could be understood fully only by revelation (Lu 24:45; Ep 1:15 ff.)

  • their attitude is summed up in 2 Timothy 3:15-16.