Thursday, November 17, 2016

Reading the Scriptures with Unveiled Heart

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But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. (2 Corinthians 3:16)
For the Church, the Old Testament is a theological book that reveals the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus himself showed us that the Law and the Prophets are about him and that he is their fulfillment (see Luke 24:25-27, Matthew 5:17 and John 5:39-40, 46). Jesus also showed us that the Old Testament cannot be understood properly apart from him. On the night of his resurrection, he came to his disciples and said, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then, Luke says, “he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:44-45).

The disciples had been with Jesus for three years — following him, watching him, listening to him, learning from him — yet there was still something vitally important they were missing about the Scriptures. What they needed was for Jesus to “open their minds.” The Greek word for “opened” is an intensive one and means to open thoroughly and completely. The word for “mind” is nous, which encompasses not only the intellect but also heart and soul. Jesus helped them put it all together, to understand it not only in their brain pan but deep in the core of their being, in the realm of the spirit. This is revelation from the Spirit of God communicated to the human spirit, something Paul talks about in his letter to the Church at Corinth.
What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind [nous] of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:12-14)
Christ opened the nous of the disciples, imparting by the Spirit something of Christ’s own nous to them, and they gained a new understanding that had up till now eluded them. And now they could see the Scriptures for what they had been all along: a testimony to Christ.

In another letter to the Church at Corinth, Paul spoke of a dullness and a veil that hindered a good understanding of the “old covenant” (that is, the Old Testament). But in Christ, he says, that veil is lifted.
We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory into glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:14-18)
We do not really understand the Old Testament until we read it with the veil removed and discover the glory of Christ there. The revelation of Jesus Christ changes how we see everything. He is the lens through which we read the Scriptures and the context by which we understand the world. His glory is a light by which we can see what we could not see before but was there all along, that it is all about Christ and has ever been so. This same glory that illuminates and reveals Christ to us in the Scriptures also illuminates us and reveals the image of Christ in us, transforming us in ever-increasing glory.