39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
Jesus called Scriptures as His fourth witness to Himself (vv. 39-47). We meet the genuine Jesus in Scripture.
You search the Scriptures,
Jewish scribes meticulously studied the Old Testament. This is not a command to study Scripture but a statement about the fact that the Jews were diligent to study the Old Testament. Jewish leaders sought to understand the Word of God, but they did not know the God of the Word. They did not see Christ as Messiah in the Bible.
for in them you think you have eternal life;
There is nothing intrinsically profitable about studying the Word of God if we do not see the truth that it communicates.
and these are they which testify of Me.
The Scriptures testified of Christ as the Messiah, yet the Jews were deaf to what they said. The Jews studied Scripture but they missed seeing Jesus as the Messiah. No matter how much the Jews searched Scripture, they were so out of touch with the revelation of God that they could not appreciate the teaching of the Word of God. Simple knowledge of the Bible is not sufficient; we need to grasp its point and purpose.
But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
Negative volition of the Jews was at the heart of their rejection of Christ. They were unwilling to see Jesus in their Bible. This is the true reason why people reject the gospel. The issue was not that Scripture was obscure but that their hearts were hardened.
An open heart toward God’s Word will lead to an open will.
Pursuit of God through Scripture is obviously valid, but there is a qualification that is necessary to fully come to grips with truth. Scripture cannot be an end in itself. Openness of heart to the Bible without bias will lead us to truth. Learning God’s Word without applying it to one’s life is a major flaw of many Christians today.
Some painstakingly study the Bible without any effect on their lives. They believe that the study of Scripture is an end in itself. Rather, the purpose of the Word of God is to lead us to understand and know God personally. This is especially true when it comes to Christ.
People reject Jesus because of prior decisions. The issue is the will. The ultimate reason is a heart issue rather than the mind.