I’m in Chicago for The Gospel Coalition Conference. The theme for the week is “They Testify About Me: Preaching Jesus and the Gospel from the Old Testament.” We have attended a pre-conference seminar as well as visited the massive bookstore/book publishers display (oh, my heart!). We are eagerly awaiting the actual conference to begin in hour or so.
I just learned that the plenary session of the conference will be be streamed live. I believe that you can view them here. The first session is “Studying the Scriptures and Finding Jesus (John 5:31–47).”
The religious leaders were a little upset with Jesus:
“For this reason the Jewish leaders were trying even harder to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was also calling God his own Father, thus making himself equal with God” (John 5:18).
I’ve heard people – even Christians! – suggest that Jesus never actually claimed to be God. Jesus did such a thing on many occasions and this was one of them.
Here is part of Jesus’ response to them in that passage, that speaks about how all of “the scriptures” (i.e. the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament) point to himself:
“But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (John 5:36–40 ESV emphasis mine).
Here are some helpful comments (and warnings) from Colin Kruse:
The Scriptures had a central role in Judaism as they did in the life and teaching of Jesus. Through the diligent study of Scriptures ‘the Jews’ believed they would find eternal life. The Mishnah says, ‘the more study of the Law, the more life … If a man has gained a good name he has gained [somewhat] for himself; if he has gained for himself words of the Law he has gained for himself life in the world to come’ (’Abot 2:7). The pursuit of eternal life through study of the Scriptures is valid, but in the case of ‘the Jews’, Jesus said, These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. They studied the Scriptures but could not see that they bore witness to Jesus, and therefore refused to come to him and receive life. These verses stand as a warning to all who make the study of the Scriptures an end in itself and fail to relate to the one about whom the Scriptures testify.
Colin G. Kruse, John: An Introduction and Commentary (TNTC 4; IVP/Accordance electronic ed. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 158-159.