With each passing year, I’ve developed a greater tendency to wake up in the middle of the night. Worry often sweeps in when I am stirred from sleep—and, as is fitting for a pastor, one of my concerns is this: Am I seeing and teaching Christ in and from all the Scriptures?
It is possible to study the Bible without Christ as our focus. We may pride ourselves on understanding it in a very systematic fashion, but in doing so, we run the risk of becoming so enamored with our method that we fail to see Christ.
In Acts 2, when Peter addresses the crowd, he says, “Men of Israel, hear these words.” (His tone seems authoritative, doesn’t it?) And then notice what follows: “Jesus of Nazareth…” Peter doesn’t begin by appealing to the people’s felt needs or by presenting to them all the practical benefits of the gospel, nor does he embark on laying out a set of doctrines or setting forth a series of propositions. Rather, he proceeds to say who Jesus is, why Jesus came, and what Jesus did.
Peter’s teaching was directed to the heart, rooted in grace, and focused on Christ. Such teaching comes at a cost—one that not everybody is prepared to pay. It is much easier to talk about the issues of the day than to truly know and share Christ. Sometimes, in churches that hold the Bible in high regard, we find it more comfortable to talk more of our favored doctrines than of the Christ who often unsettles us and challenges our lifestyles. The hard thing to do, however, is also the right thing to do. What a dreadful waste of energy, to gain insight or provide instruction about almost everything but the saving story of Jesus!
Scripture finds its focus and fulfillment in Christ. The real test of how deeply God’s word is dwelling within us is not our ability to articulate a story line but to see Jesus in all the Scriptures. He is not just the start of the Christian faith but the sum total of it. Aim to go deeper into Christ, not to move beyond Him.