Key Verse, Key Person

I have a few arrow shaped post-its protruding slightly from the side of my Bible. They're there to help me turn up a verse quickly (usually a verse I want to read in the sermon without any delay of looking it up), and so they get moved about from week to week (and from morning to evening). But on Sunday morning, as I was rearranging my post-its, I realised that there was one which had been in place for a very long time indeed and which I had never moved.

Now, this post-it wasn't there for so long just by accident. It had been there so long that I didn't consciously think about it, but it was there for a long time for a purpose. It was even a different colour from all the other post-its to mark it as different. You see, the verse it marked, wasn't a verse I wanted to be able to turn up for one sermon, but rather the single verse I most often have to find to show people. And, why? Because it's a verse of extreme importance.

Now, what could that verse be? What verse would a pastor point to the most often? Perhaps you've got a few suspects in mind, but if so, you might be surprised, for it's not one of the usual suspects. It's not John 3:16, Acts 16:31, Rom. 3:23-24, or 1 John 1:9. So, what is it?

It's Luke 24:27: 'And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.' That my friends, is one of the most important verses in the history of Bible verses!

Well, now obviously all Scripture is equally inspired, and all Scripture is to be read in context (not just a verse plucked out here and bandied about there), so why do I single out this verse as so important? And why do I point people to it so very often?

Because this verse teaches us how to read the Bible. This verse teaches us to properly read countless other verses.

It really is a key verse. Not because it is itself some magic key, but because it points us to He who is the Key - Jesus. For that's what we learn in Luke 24:27: the key to the interpretation of all of Scripture is Jesus Christ. It's not an idea, a philosophy or a doctrine which opens up the Scriptures to us, but a Person, and only one Person - Jesus.

As I've already said that verses must be read in their context, let me quickly recap the context here. This is the day of the Resurrection and Jesus is walking along the road to Emmaus with two of His disciples, but they don't recognise Him. They know all about the crucifixion, and they've heard reports about the Resurrection, but they're confused and don't really know what's going on. None of it makes sense to them. So what does Jesus do? He opens up the Bible to them and makes it all clear how the Scriptures had already taught that 'the Christ [ought] to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory' (Luke 24:26).

They're despairing, so He takes them to the Word. They're confused, so He takes them to the Word. But it's not some sort of sanctified pep talk He gives them from the Word. His expository sermon is not about how they need to buck up, cheer up or man up. No, 'He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself' (Luke 24:27). He takes them to the Written Word to show them the Living Word. His message for their comfort, strengthening and equipping isn't about what they need to do, but about who He is and what He has done. In their distress and confusion, the message they need to hear is Jesus.

But not only is Jesus the message for the hurting, despairing, doubting and confused: Jesus is the message of the Scriptures. 'All the Scriptures', Jesus showed them, speak of Christ. And, of course, the only Scriptures that had yet been written down when they walked to Emmaus were the Old Testament Scriptures. That means that the Old Testament is all about Jesus. And that means that if we read the Old Testament without seeing Jesus, we're missing the point. It's not just the odd Messianic prophecy that speaks about Him, but the whole of the Old Testament.

But the Old Testament isn't the whole of Scripture. Scripture is a technical term, and so what's said about Scripture as a category of writing applies not only to the then already completed Old Testament, but also to the New. In fact, Jesus not only demonstrates here that He is the subject of the whole of the Scriptures, but also teaches it in John 5:39: 'You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.' That's simply what Scripture is: the written Word of God which testifies to Christ the Word of God.

I'm always pointing people to Luke 24:27 because there Jesus points them to the true key to unlocking the Scriptures: Jesus Himself. The Bible isn't a book about me, it's a book about Jesus, and if I want to truly understand the Word and know it's power in my life, I need to see Jesus in His Word.