What Do You Find in the Bible?—Life Application for September 25, 2016

September 18, 2016 No Comments »
What Do You Find in the Bible?—Life Application for September 25, 2016

By David Faust

faustMy mother gave me five tattered leather-bound volumes of Adam Clarke’s commentary on the Bible. Published in 1833, the books belonged either to my great-grandfather Daniel or more likely to his brother Timothy. My great-great-uncle Timothy was a circuit-riding minister who rode on horseback from one preaching location to another.

I noticed some scraps of paper tucked inside the pages of those old books. One slip of paper is evidently a receipt from a feed mill personally signed by my great-grandfather’s fountain pen. He paid $1.00 for a barrel and $5.00 for a plow. Several other notes contain comments on Scripture passages. For example, Exodus 28 commands the Hebrew priests to wear dignified but colorful garments. On the American frontier most ministers wore plain black clothes when they preached. The handwritten note says, “How unbecoming of the good tidings announced by Christian ministers that they wear a color emblematical of nothing but mourning and woe.”

What Jesus Found

Jesus stood up in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth and read from the book of Isaiah. Luke’s Gospel makes a point of saying that Jesus himself unrolled the scroll until he found the particular text he wanted to read, and the unrolling might have taken a while because the passage Jesus selected appears in the 61st chapter of Isaiah. What did Jesus find in the ancient text?

He found himself there. Isaiah prophesied about a messenger anointed by the Holy Spirit who would “proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Jesus rolled the scroll back up, gave it to the attendant, and sat down, while everyone in the synagogue fastened their eyes on him. In a moment of high drama, Jesus said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:16-21)—a bold, unmistakable claim that he was the promised Messiah.

Jesus also found his personal mission statement in that ancient scroll. The Messiah’s job description? “To proclaim good news to the poor. . . . to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (v. 18).

What You Can Find

If you look carefully within the pages of sacred Scripture, you can find yourself there. Do you recognize your own struggles with temptation when you read about Adam and Eve? Do you resonate with Jacob’s duplicity, Moses’ impatience, and Naomi’s sorrow? Do you relate to David when he’s bold one moment and broken the next? Do you see yourself in Daniel’s determination, Peter’s impetuousness, Martha’s worries, and Thomas’s doubts?

Look closely at the Bible and you can find your personal mission there. While detailing the work of the Messiah, Isaiah 61 also lays down a purpose statement for the Messiah’s disciples. We are his instruments to bring others “beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning.” He intends for us to grow like oak trees—“a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor” (v. 3).

Most of all, make sure you find Jesus Christ himself in the pages of Scripture. Miss him and you miss the Bible’s main point. The written Word reveals the living Word. My favorite note I found in those old books was written with a flourish and underlined with a fountain pen: “Christ, the very crux.”

David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

For evaluation questions that coordinate with today’s article, go to Evaluation Questions in our Bible Study Tools menu.

Daily Readings

Sept. 19

M.

Isaiah 42:5-9

A Light to the Nations

Sept. 20

T.

Luke 4:16-21

Anointed for Ministry

Sept. 21

W.

Luke 4:22-30

No Ministry in Our Backyard

Sept. 22

T.

Isaiah 60:1-5

The Exiles Will Return

Sept. 23

F.

Isaiah 60:19-22

The Glory of the Nation Restored

Sept. 24

S.

Isaiah 54:4-8

With Everlasting Love and Compassion

Sept. 25

S.

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

Righteousness and Praise Will Always Rule

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