Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Truth Spaces (8) - Another difference

2) Scripture is Alive
Its all very well to claim that Jesus continues to question people today but how can we know? By the Bible! God has revealed who Jesus is and what Jesus says through Scripture. The Bible is a God-breathed book (1 Tim 3:16). As the Holy Spirit inspired its writing in the first place, so he makes it alive today. Its message is never out-dated or out-of-touch. Never!

When we open the gospels we read about Jesus in the past. These stories need to be understood within Jesus Christ’s historical ministry and studying them means taking their original context seriously. But, because Jesus is alive and the Scriptures are a living word by which God continues to speak, we can also encounter Jesus in the present. Nowhere is this more true than in the questions Jesus asks. These remain relevant in every culture, especially his side-by-side questions.

Certainly Jesus asked some top-down questions. After all, he reveals truths that no one else but his heavenly Father knows. But, too often people have been presented only with a top-down Jesus Christ, who lays down truths as though everything that matters is found on a long list of boxes to check. Yes to this and this and this! As though I can only be Jesus’ friend by my head assenting to a check-list of cerebral doctrines. Of course, doctrines are important but first Jesus wants to open up truth spaces with my heart as well as my head.

These questions show that the Lord of heaven and earth, Alpha and Omega, the Word made flesh, actually comes alongside ordinary people and opens himself up by risky, untidy and costly questions that help us grow. Interestingly, one of the descriptions given the Holy Spirit in John’s gospel is the Paraclete, which literally means “To call beside” (John 14: 16, 26, 15:26, 16:7). And Jesus describes himself as “The Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). He calls himself “The Way” to emphasize that he does not offer a list of truths to be checked but he is the Truth who offers a new way of living with him. Not for some of the time but for all the time. He invites followers into a relationship that keeps on moving and developing. Indeed, the earliest description of the church was “The Way” as believers showed they were on a spiritual journey with their Lord (Acts 9:2, 19:9, 23, 22:4, 24:14,22).

So Jesus continues to come alongside and ask these questions today as the way we should go. The Holy Spirit continues to minister, he does so side-by-side, guiding, reminding us of truths.

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