Old-time religion ∙
You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! – John 5:39
44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,
47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
That old-time religion
Give me that old time religion, Give me that old time religion,
Give me that old time religion, It’s good enough for me.
It was good for Paul and Silas, It was good for Paul and Silas,
It was good for Paul and Silas, It’s good enough for me.
It was good for the Hebrew children, It was good for the Hebrew children,
It was good for the Hebrew children, It’s good enough for me. In
Makes me love ev’ry body, Makes me love ev’ry body,
Makes me love ev’ry body, It’s good enough for me.
Great works of literature have certain features in common: a theme, a structure, and a topic or subject. What is the theme of the Bible? The answer is concise and summarized by one word: redemption. What is the subject of the Old Testament Scriptures? Again the answer is concise. The subject of the Old Testament Scriptures is a person: The Lord Jesus Christ. The Father’s sacred book is all about His beloved Son providing redemption from sin for the human race.
After the Lord Jesus Christ appeared and was recognized by His disciples, He taught one of the greatest and most important Bible studies of all time.
So often when the Scriptures are read or studied, they are more like a mystery novel than an almanac. Too often the Bible seems like a closed book. Somehow, its meaning and significance elude us. That is exactly what happened with the disciples. They had spent over three years with the greatest teacher that has ever lived. They had heard numerous stories, parables, illustrations, and explanations from the very lips of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, over and over again, they were left scratching their heads. They simply did not get it. It was not that the Scriptures were closed, rather the disciples were! Their hearts were obtuse, dull of hearing. Their minds were often confused and unable to grasp what they were taking in.
They were strongly influenced by the culture and religious beliefs of their times. They entertained futile speculations and conflicting opinions. They did not grasp the big picture, nor even many of the details. They were intellectually unreceptive to the Father’s Truth. In this way, they were not unlike the Gentiles, the pagans of their day.
17 The Gentiles . . . Are hopelessly confused.
18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him.
But they were not pagans, they were Jews. This made it all the more tragic. Although they were Jewish and had the law of Moses, their minds and hearts were resistant.
2 Corinthians 3:14-16
14 But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the Old Testament is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ.
15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.
16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
But the disciples had turned to the Lord Jesus Christ. Something marvelous was about to happen. And the most amazing thing of all is that what happened to them can happen to every child of the King.
Luke 24:45 He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
REFLECT & PRAY
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. – John 16:13
Father, thank You for giving us the word of God. Father, thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit that we might comprehend it. Open the eyes of our hearts and minds that we may receive what You have already provided for us.
The Lord Jesus Christ takes the disciples through an old-fashioned, old-time religion Bible study. But it was more than a Bible study. The Lord Jesus was not merely a teacher, He was a prophet. Prophets are the Father’s spokesman. They are the Father’s seers. When they speak, they open the minds of those that hear, to see. A prophet’s impact was more revelatory than expository. They often disclosed the truth which lies just beneath the obvious. For example, in the sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus did this repeatedly.
27 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Recall the problem was, their minds were closed, not the Scriptures. The Lord Jesus Christ enabled them to get what they were not able to grasp before. What they had heard or read earlier without understanding, they could now comprehend.
This tremendous gift was freely given to them by the Lord Jesus Christ. As they unwrapped their wondrous present, the Scriptures were suddenly opened to their understanding. Their beauty and truth was finally clear and understandable. There were no longer any limitations. No longer would they struggle with the milk of the word. Henceforth, they could even tackle the solid meat within. They could now plumb the depths of its rewarding riches, wisdom, and knowledge.
The Jewish people had divided and ordered the Old Testament into three segments: The “Law” included the Five Books of Moses, the “Prophets” included Joshua through 2 Kings and Isaiah through Malachi, and the “Psalms,” the rest of the Old Testament.
Before the time of Christ, the Jewish people gathered snippets from the entire Old Testament into clusters of various kinds. They created collections of prophecies that spoke of the coming of the Messiah.
The Gospel of Matthew presents fulfilled Old Testament messianic prophecies that provide objective evidence to demonstrate that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world. The Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled them exactly as predicted. It is one thing to have a list of messianic prophecies, it is quite another to understand them and recognize how they have been fulfilled. Where did Matthew’s knowledge and understanding of these prophecies come from? Perhaps it was from the intensive biblical review, which the Lord Jesus Christ provided.
The Father’s intervention is required to open our closed hearts and minds to help us understand and accept the truth of His Word. Without spiritual discernment, the things of the Spirit of God are “foolishness” to the “natural man” (Stanley).
What a delightful privilege to have the Lord Jesus Christ personally expound, explain, and illuminate the word of God. The Lord Jesus Christ promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to teach each child of the King in much the same way.
John 14:26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative – that is, the Holy Spirit – he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.