Jesus’ Reliance on Scripture

“‘For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished’” (Matthew 5:18).

Repeatedly during His earthly ministry, Jesus referred to the Old Testament as authoritative truth (e.g., Matt. 19:4; 24:38–39; Mark 12:26; Luke 11:51; 17:29; John 3:14; 8:56), always confirming its accuracy and authenticity. On one occasion, in defending His messiahship before the unbelieving Jewish leaders, He declared, “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).

For Jesus, it was clear that God gave His Word to lead people to salvation. In His parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Abraham tells the rich man that if his brothers, whom he did not want to follow him to hell, “do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31). Scripture is more than sufficient to bring sinners to salvation.

More than once, Christ used Scripture’s authority to establish His own. At a Sabbath service in the Nazareth synagogue, He appealed to the book of Isaiah: “‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.’… And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’” (Luke 4:18–19, 21; cf. Isa. 61:1; Matt. 11:3–5; Mark 11:17).

Scripture’s authority is Jesus’ authority, and to obey Him is to obey His Word (John 6:68; 8:47).

Ask Yourself
What argues against our confidence in the convicting, converting power of the Word of God? What could we do to ensure that our hearts aren’t blinded to this truth, to put ourselves in positions where we can see God at work through the Scriptures?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610

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