Together in Christ: 'The Life-giving Word' — John 5:39-40

Thursday, December 14, 2023

[Jesus confronted his religious critics by saying,] "You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life."
— John 5:39-40 NLT

Key Thought

John emphasized that Jesus is God's ultimate Word and God's most complete message to humanity. [1] Jesus was the fulfillment of the Scriptures [2] and spoke God's truth to His disciples of every age with all authority. [3] Jesus alone fully communicated the heart and will of God on which the Scriptures are built and help us find life as we dwell in and obey Jesus' teachings. [4]

What Jesus says to his religious critics in today's verses does not diminish the importance of the Scriptures or their authority in our lives. Jesus, however, is the key to understanding the goal of the Scriptures. [5] Jesus poured out the Spirit on us when we came to Him as Savior and Lord. [6] The Spirit helps us understand the Scriptures and live out the will of God in our lives as we are transformed to become Christlike. [7] The Holy Spirit is our anointing Who guides us into all truth about and from Jesus. [8]

So, what do I need to take away from today's verses on my relationship with Jesus?

  • If I want to know God — the heart and will of God — I must know Jesus.
  • If I want to honor and obey the will of God, I must obey Jesus and live out what He teaches by word and example.
  • If I want to interpret Scripture and apply them to my life properly, then I must look to Jesus and see how He handled Scripture, interpreted it, and applied it to everyday living.
  • I must read the Scriptures with Jesus as their goal and look to Jesus as my authority for life and faith.
[1] John 1:1-18.
[2] Matthew 5:17; 2 Corinthians 1:20; Ephesians 1:9; Luke 4:14-21, 24:44-49; John 12:14, 16, 18:32, 19:28.
[3] Matthew 7:28-29, 28:19-20.
[4] John 8:31-32, 10:10.
[5] Jesus demonstrates this repeatedly in the Sermon on the Mount when he says "You have heard that our ancestors were told... But I say..." (or something similar — Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44). In 2 Corinthians 3:14, Paul makes the point explicitly .
[6] Titus 3:3-7.
[7] 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 2 Corinthians 3:1-18.
[8] 1 John 2:20-27 ESV for the word "anointing" which the NLT interprets and translates, "the Holy Spirit"

Today's Prayer

Almighty God, I believe You spoke to us in many ways in the past, but I believe that Your primary way to convey truth and reveal Yourself is found in Jesus. I believe He is Your ultimate Message and final Word. So, Holy Spirit, please open my mind to understand the Scriptures and how they point to Jesus. Empower me as I seek to obey all that Jesus taught and treat people as Jesus did. Most of all, I long to know Jesus and experience His presence in me so I can live as Jesus wants me to live and touch the lives around me that He wants me to influence. I ask this prayer in the mighty name of Christ Jesus. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 1:1-18
  • Hebrews 1:1-3


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Illustration of John 5:39-40 NLT — [Jesus confronted his religious critics by saying,] "You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life."

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.