This content is part of a series.
Knowing the Bible Comes Easier Than Living the Bible (2 of 7)
Series: Adventures in Missing the Point
Matthew 13:1-23; Matthew 5:21-48
February 15, 2004
When you get a love letter or Valentine's card, what do you do with it? (Hide it from the kids.) Usually you read it, over and over again. What do you feel when you read a love letter? Hopefully, you feel loved. You feel accepted. You feel gratitude that God brought your spouse into your life. Though the ability to read comes from the brain, you really read a love letter with your heart. Above all, you cherish it is something intensely personal.
I've never read a love letter written by Susan and thought, I wish the elders would read this, they really need to hear it. I've never read a love letter and worried, How can I possibly earn her love? I've never analyzed the handwriting to determine who the real author was. I've never parsed the verbs or consulted a commentary to determine what was really being said. I read a love letter as if it were a letter of love to me from someone who loves me. Sounds awfully obvious doesn't it? So help me work this one through.
The Bible is the greatest love story ever told. Yes, it contains instruction on how to live, models for us to follow, and examples of those who both rejected God's love and received it. Sure some of it is hard to understand. But at its core, it is a love letter. From cover to cover, it is the ongoing story of an unconditional, patient, and gentle Lover seeking to win the hearts of reluctant, wandering, unfaithful people like you and me. Yet we seldom read it as if it were the words of a faithful Lover calling us to intimacy.
The Pharisees seldom read it that way either. They read their Bible, (the Law of Moses, first 5 books of our Old Testament) simply as a set of orders to be obeyed. To their credit, they took every command literally and did their best to apply the Law to their behavior. But they engag ...
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