I have been told that the Norwegian Bible translates the word “search” with the word “ransack”. I love this. Right off the bat I get an image in my mind of a bunch of Viking raiders sitting around with their Helga horns on tearing through the Bible searching for something and willing to tear it apart to get it. I have the image of the widow who had 10 silver coins and lost one and she lights a lamp and ransacked the house until she found it, and then she calls all the neighbors together and says rejoice with me, I lost my coin and now it is found. It brings an image to my mind of a shepherd who lost one sheep and he leaves 99 and he ransacks the wearisome ravines and terrifying cliffs until he finds that sheep. He puts it over his shoulders and home rejoicing brings it. He calls the neighbors together, and he calls the other shepherds together, and says come rejoice with me. My sheep was lost and now it’s found!
Jesus told a bunch of people gathered around Him that they ransacked the scriptures thinking that in them they had eternal life and they testified about Him. There are two ways to take that passage. (John 5:39) One way is as an imperative. Jesus urges folks to ransack the scriptures because they testify to Him and He has eternal life. The other way is to see it as a kind of insult – “you’ve been ransacking the scriptures, thinking that in them you have eternal life and all the while they have been testifying about me. The implication is that they are rejecting Him.
On an Easter Sunday talk show there was one of those usually inane questions by the host to a favorite author of mine, Eric Metaxas. She asked him what we needed most on Easter and instead of the usual fatuous answers like “peace” or “understanding” he said “Jesus”. We need more Jesus. Luther said somewhere that what is not Christ is sin and damnation.
So as you ransack the scriptures do so to find Jesus. Not quotable quotes for a self improvement seminar – Jesus. As you ransack the scriptures do so to find Jesus, not little notes that you can put on the mirror to inspire you in the morning, but Jesus. He is there for you.
Rev. Bernhard Seter has been a Pastor in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod for over 42 years. He served on the Board of LCMS World Relief and Human Care for ten years and is now the Chairman of the Board of International Missions. He has been privileged to travel around the world and see the churches' mercy work in action. He is convinced it is not only what we are "compelled" to do because of Christ; it is what we have been baptized for. Christ's love compels us, constrains us, and sends us forth.
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