John 5:39-46

[See also comments about the Gospels in general, and the book of John in particular, under the reference Matthew 6:33 – in the “Happy Conclusions” subsection. Also check out the passage from John 7 under the heading “When You Are Doubtful”].

This passage is very similar to the one in John 7:16ff. Once again Jesus is responding to criticism and skepticism about his status as a teacher, and therefore the passage is a good one for when we ourselves are feeling skeptical. In Jesus’ comments about his listeners searching through Scripture without the benefit of having bought into the spiritual lifestyle themselves, is an interesting one. Scripture is a collection of literature which arose from a group of people over a period of about 2000 years – a bit like a collective journal. It is a running commentary on lifestyle which is centered on a belief in, and relationship with God as both creator and sustainer of the universe.

Jesus challenges the people he is talking to, by saying that they are hearing the words in the book, but they are not engaged with the spirit of those words, because if they were, they would sense the same spirit in the words that he was speaking in real time.

In effect, the creator of this list of suggested readings seems to believe that if we are skeptical, we need to take our own spiritual temperature, and ask ourselves if we have a spiritual kinship with the people who have written down the treasures within Scripture.