When Theology is Not Enough

When Theology is not Enough

I am haunted by some verses found in John 5. The context – Jesus has just healed on the Sabbath and the leaders are upset. Jesus offers up an explanation for healing on the Sabbath. This leads to more trouble as the Jewish leaders clearly understood Jesus’ statement about his father (v.17) and want to kill him for blasphemy. In the middle of the subsequent rebuttal by Jesus we read verses 39-40:

39You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.

Wow! Think about those words for a few moments. These men were the elite theologians in Jesus’ day. They knew their Scriptures inside and out. They had been educated in the best rabbinical traditions. They had systematized their Scriptures into a detailed theology and created a whole host of religious practices to live that theology. But they missed the point! They missed Jesus.

Do we do the same thing?

Before we go further, please understand that I am in no way advocating that we give up on becoming better students of the Bible. I am also not setting up a false dichotomy between theology and religious experience, or theology and Jesus, or the Bible and Jesus. We need to be more robust in our theology, but we also need to experience Jesus in our daily lives. Theology without experiencing life with Jesus is like the experience of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day.

When was the last time you truly experienced Jesus in your life?

Do you have friends that can ask if and how you are experiencing Jesus?

When I say experiencing Jesus, I am simply referring to those moments where we can clearly identify God showing up in some way, shape, or form in our daily lives. It might be as simple as a Bible verse taking on new meaning. It might be an answer to prayer. It might be another member of the body of Christ who visibly lives out Jesus in their words and actions toward us. Whatever it is, it leads us to a bigger, bolder, and more beautiful vision of who Jesus is.

This whole blog season has centered around the theme of theology. As we close that theme, I want to leave you with this encouragement. Our theology comes to life when it is infused by seeing and experiencing the living Lord in our lives. As we meet Jesus throughout our daily lives: we learn more about Him and His good plan for the flourishing of all life, we learn more about His character, we are drawn deeper into His love, life, and mission, and we grow in our understanding of what it means for us to follow Him. As our experience of Jesus grows, our theology deepens.

Do you want to deepen your theology?

The flipside of that question could be this one:

How are you making space in your life to be open to hear from, see, and experience Jesus?

Neil Bassignthwaighte
EFCC National Mission Director & Interim Prayer Catalyst