You Need to Know Jesus to Understand the Bible: The Clarity of Scripture Part 5
If you do not read the Bible with the ultimate goal of seeing the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, you don’t understand Scripture. We need to see Christ’s glory through his illumining power to truly appreciate why his Word is and what his Word does. Without illumination, Scripture is a textbook at best. With the light of Christ, the Scripture is our doorway to heaven.
The truth of Scripture is like the sun. During the day, the light from the sun is clear to anyone who can see. Not everyone can see, but blind eyes don’t dim the sun. For the blind to see it, the sun doesn’t need to shine brighter or clearer – they need to be given sight to see what’s been there the whole time.
So it is with the sun, so it is with Scripture. God has spoken clearly in the Bible for any who have ears to hear because God is good.. That some claim God’s Word is a jumbled mess of impenetrable mysteries only reveals the hardness of their hearts, not the obscurity of the text. And if those hard hearts would joyfully embrace the truth of God’s Word, nothing needs to change about the Word itself. They need to be given eyes to see what’s been plainly there the whole time.
So, how can blind men see the clear light of the truth of Scripture? “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor 4:4). How can the blind see? Who can give them sight?
Let me make it more personal. How is it that you have any hope of understanding Scripture? In the face of interpretive anarchy, esoteric theological debates, and the world’s ceaseless scoffing at Scripture, how could anyone be so smug as to think they have nailed down the true meaning of the eternal Word of God? Under the devil’s dark veil, how can you see the clear light of the gospel?
Christ is our clarity. The Son of God lights the Word of God. In other words, you need to know Jesus to understand the Bible.
Jesus the Light
The theological term that’s used to describe the lighting up of dark eyes, the giving of spiritual sight to the spiritually blind, is illumination. And we usually think of illumination as an action of the Holy Spirit, and it is. Paul prays for the Ephesian church that “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened” (Eph 1:17-18). To the Corinthian church, Paul explains his ministry by saying, “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual” (1 Cor 2:13). The Spirit opens up darkened eyes to give spiritual sight.
But while the Spirit of God is the agent of human change in illumination, Jesus Christ is the object of that illumination. He is “the light of the world” (John 8:12). It’s in Jesus’ face that we see the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God” (2 Cor 4:6). God is light (1 John 1:5), a revealer of the truth, and Christ is the one who makes him known (John 1:18).
While he was on earth, Jesus not only healed the physically blind but also the spiritually blind. In Luke 24, when Jesus appears to his disciples after his resurrection, he illumines them to rightly read the Old Testament.
“Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’”