“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
“I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:39-47)
Do you read the Bible looking for answers to your questions? Or do you read the Bible looking for God’s answers to his questions? Jesus told the religious establishment that they were indeed very serious about the Bible, but that it wasn’t doing them a whole lot of good. They read the Bible. They knew what it said. But somehow the implications and the whole point of God’s words still entirely escaped them. Instead of seeking the esteem of God, they only cared about the esteem of their colleagues.
The word translated “trust” and the word translated “believed” are the same in Greek, so Jesus expressed what seems to be a paradox. “You’re trusting in Moses, but if you trusted in Moses, then you would trust me.” And then, “Since you don’t trust in Moses, then it follows that you don’t trust in me.” Huh?
Jesus was pointing out the cognitive dissonance that existed among the religious leaders. There was a gap between what they claimed to believe and how they lived. By pointing out their internal conflicts, Jesus hoped they would confront the contradiction, recognize the problem in their lives, and then change their minds. Jesus wanted the religious leaders of his people to recognize the truth. Interestingly, after his resurrection the book of Acts reveals that many Pharisees and priests did become believers in Jesus.
It’s better to listen to Jesus and discover what matters to him, rather than listening only to your own heart and what matters to you.