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The Scriptorium

Moses Their Judge

Even their own guy condemns them!

The Gospel of John: John 5.31-47

Read and meditate on John 5.45-47.

Jesus says that Moses wrote about Him. That doesn’t mean that Moses knew He was writing about Jesus, just that the Spirit, Who inspired Moses’ writing, used him to point the people forward to the coming of Jesus, so they would recognize Him when He finally appeared.

45And do not think that I accuse you to
the Father. Moses, whom you trust, is who
condemns you. 46If in him you had believed,
then, since He wrote of Me, you would receive
Me. 47But if Moses writings you will not
believe, nor will you hear what I have taught.”           

- John 5.45-47

1.  Jesus said that the religious leaders of His day trusted in Moses. In what sense was that true? What were they trusting Moses for? Why was this wrong, and how does this counsel us when it comes to our own study of God’s Word? Complete the following brief prayer: Lord, I am Your servant, according to Your Word. Let me not try to make Your Word my servant. Instead…

2.  According to Jesus, the Law of Moses accused the religious leaders of His day. The Greek word for accuse has the root of “categorize” in it. Read Psalm 1. In what sense does the Law of God “categorize” people? Lord, I want Your Law, and all Your Word, to categorize me as…

3.  Paul sheds some light on how the Law accuses us. Meditate on Romans 7.7-12. Is this a valid function for the Law of God? Why do we need this kind of “categorizing” in the Christian movement? Your Law, O Lord, is holy and righteous and good. It also reveals sin, and kills all boasting about righteousness. Let Your Law be at work in me, O Lord, to…

4.  Moses gave the Law of God to the people of Israel. Jesus says, “if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.” Should the Law of God have a place in our witness for Christ? Explain. I need to know Your Law better, Lord, so help me…

5.  Jesus saw great value in the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses is the acorn to the oak of divine revelation in Scripture. It teaches about Jesus. It accuses sinners and identifies the righteous. Jesus submitted to and fulfilled the Law of God. What should be your attitude toward and approach to the Law? Bring together into one prayer the prayers you composed from questions 1-4.

“See how he takes away all of their excuses: … You maintain that you believe in Moses in what you dare to do against me, he says. I, on the contrary, show that this is the worst kind of misbelief in Moses you can think of. I am so far from opposing that law that he who shall accuse you is none other than the man who gave you the law. In other words, he says now of Moses what he had said of the Scriptures above, ‘In them you think you have eternal life.’ And so here he speaks of Moses as someone ‘in whom you trust.’ Jesus is always answering them from their own authorities.” John Chrysostom (344-407AD)

The religious leaders wanted to accuse Jesus of breaking God’s Law by appealing to their traditions to condemn His practice. Jesus insisted they had misread Moses in establishing such traditions, and should instead have discovered Him in their reading. He took their claim to Mosaic authority and turned it upside-down on their heads, and made their foremost authority their ultimate accuser. Do you suppose doing this endeared Jesus to these people? Why not? What lesson is there in this for us?

Closing Prayer
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the LORD iss ure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19.7-14

Psalm 19.7-14 (St. Christopher: Beneath the Cross of Jesus)
The Law of God is perfect, His testimony sure;
The simple man God’s wisdom learns, the soul receives its cure.
God’s Word is right, and His command is pure, and truth imparts;
He makes our eyes to understand; with joy He fills our hearts.

The fear of God is cleansing, forever shall it last.
His judgments all are true and just, by righteousness held fast.
O seek them more than gold most fine, than honey find them sweet;
Be warned by every word and line; be blessed with joy complete.

Who, Lord, can know his errors? O keep sin far from me!
Let evil rule not in my soul, that I may blameless be.
O let my thoughts, let all my words, before Your glorious sight,
Be pleasing to You, gracious Lord, acceptable and right!
T. M. Moore

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, can help you gain a better overall understanding of the focus, themes, narrative, flow, and application of God’s Word. Study at your own pace in this free, online course. For more information or to register, click here.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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