Matthew 17:13 (KJV)
Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
I remember a Christian friend of mine from many years ago. He and I got saved at about the same time and, though we attended different churches, we began to attend an independent Baptist church at about the same time. He was married with kids. I was newly married. One day, in a conversation at work, he expressed confidence that his kids would grow up to live for God. He was sure church and faith would guarantee him a happy future. The sad fact is that I’m just a couple of years he was divorced, out of church, and living alone in an empty house.
I spoke with a man just the other day who confidently boasted that as long as a Christian read his King James Bible, he could not be duped into believing the false doctrines so universally accepted in our world today. But unfortunately, his idea is as naïve as my friend who lost his family. Christianity is more than just going to church, doing what the pastor says, and reading your Bible.
Our text has Jesus’s disciples asking about the Old Testament prophecy of Elias’s coming before the Messiah. They knew what the Bible said. They believed Jesus to be the Messiah. But they wondered about that unfulfilled prophecy.
- They were looking for a literal fulfillment
- This prophecy was fulfilled in a spiritual manner
Here’s the rub. We believe the Bible is to be interpreted literally unless the Bible specifically gives reason to look instead for a figurative interpretation. The difference cannot be assumed. It requires careful study, deep prayer, and an understanding of the Bible as a whole. A few minutes with a devotional booklet each morning isn’t going to cut it. May I say that neither will reading your Bible through every year? These are simply tools to make a person believe he is being spiritual. It is not the equivalent of studying to show oneself approved unto God.
By the way, they got the answer not from reading books by the writers of their day. They got their answer directly from the Lord. (Your pastor can help you, so long as he is going to the Lord, through the Bible, and not a bunch of other guys.) I suggest that’s the only place any of us will ever really come to know God’s Word.
To my readers:
Thank you! It is a great joy to me to know you read the thoughts and lessons God has given me in His word. I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave comments.
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