The Scrolls and the Scribes

“You study the scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life” (John 5:39-40).
When King Herod inquires where the prophecies say the Messiah will be born, he asks his scribes. These men are highly intelligent, very skilled in the law, and most likely have most, if not all, of the law memorized. They know the Scriptures like the backs of their hands; they have an answer for every question, and they are considered the most knowledgeable spiritual men of the time.
The scribes know the scrolls, yet they won’t travel a few miles to see Jesus. For years they’ve read over the prophesies that predict the coming of the Messiah. They’ve studied the Scriptures diligently and have given their lives to the study of the law and history, yet they won’t travel to see Him. They won’t believe in His power or His authority. Men who have dedicated their lives to the prophets’ words won’t go and meet the great Prophet, Rabbi, and Counselor Himself.
When Jesus speaks in John chapter 5, He is speaking to people who, much like the scribes from His birth, fail to see that head knowledge is not enough. Life is not found in our head knowledge, but rather through the heart knowledge that comes from the Spirit of God.
Sometimes, we might fall under the impression that our intellectual knowledge about the Bible or theology will somehow give us the upper hand. However, intellectualism prevents insight. This is not to say that we should not strive to learn, or that intellectualism is a worthless cause, but too often our use of knowledge causes us to walk the road of pride.

We think we know it all—we’ve seen it all. But Jesus tells His disciples, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4). True insight is not being filled with knowledge but being empty of pride.

It’s not enough to study the Word. It’s not enough to just read the Bible. Let our prayer be that we don’t just get in the Word but that the Word would get in us. Let’s pray that we wouldn’t just read our Bibles, but that our Bibles would read us. Let the Word examine us, and may we be found with humble, child-like hearts, open hands, ready feet, receptive ears, and souls ablaze.

The knowledge of God can’t just stay in your head—it must drop the 16 inches from your head to your heart. Let’s not be like the scribes who knew the prophesies but missed the Prophet. To be responsive children, we must first know the Father.

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