When we go through Job-like experiences and trials, we sometimes wish that Jesus was right here with us, so we could talk to Him face-to-face instead of just reading the Scriptures. We think Jesus would have something new to say to us outside of Scriptures, something that would fit our unique experience. However, let’s see what often happened when people in Scripture talked to Jesus personally.
Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:3-4 NKJV
The tempter tries to get into a theological debate with Jesus, but instead of thinking up clever comebacks, Jesus just quotes what is already written in Scripture. I’m thinking we should do the same. So in this discussion, even though the tempter had a personal conversation with Jesus, nothing was revealed that you and I could not already find in Scripture.
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” Luke 10:25-26 NKJV
Once again Jesus does nothing more than take the lawyer to Scripture. The same Scripture you and I have, even though we’ve never had a physical person-to-Person talk with Jesus, like many wish for.
In Luke 24 Cleopas and his friend are walking towards Emmaus when they meet Jesus. They don’t realize who He is as they tell Him about their doubts about what happened that crucifixion week. Now here they are talking to Jesus personally, and what does He do? He doesn’t tell them anything other than what was already written in Scripture!
And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24:27 NKJV
So here we have three cases of someone actually having a real-live physical one-on-one conversation with Jesus, and each time He revealed nothing but what was already written in the Scriptures. Could it be that everything we need to know about life’s trials is already in the Scriptures?
Later Cleopas and his friend said, ““Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32 Have there not been times when you have read the Scriptures and your heart burned within you as though Jesus was talking personally to you? It’s because He was! Someone once said, “I may know a lot of books, but the Bible is the only book that knows me!”
Several years ago my church had an agape communion feast. It was supposed to be a time for personal healing and restoration. The leader assigned us each a partner to pray with. My partner refused to pray with me because I had a different opinion about a local issue. I would prefer to not give that member the satisfaction of reading this and triumphing in that she successfully hurt me, but she did. What God had designed to be a healing time, this member had used to bring me pain. I questioned God as to why He would let this happen. This was a sacred feast, and yet someone used it for evil. God did not answer me audibly, but once again, through the Spirit, He pointed me to Scripture. We were celebrating an “agape” feast, similar to the Passover supper. That night Jesus wanted someone to pray with, but His disciples failed Him. Sure they were not mean-spirited like this church member, but still they let Him down, and Jesus had to experience the post-agape feast praying alone just like I did! I realized I felt His pain, and He felt mine! When I realized Jesus and I had shared a unique situation together, that brought healing. Through both providence and Scripture Jesus revealed Himself to me.
In chemistry you have a classroom where you learn theory, and a lab where you practice what you were taught. When we go through trials like Job, we have the Bible to learn theory, but then we have the world as our lab where we put it into practice. Through practice Jesus leads us by His Word and providence. As different lab experiments turn out uniquely, so does our providence, but God has given us His Word in the Scriptures to guide us all, even in our unique experiences.
This is why Paul said the Scriptures are profitable for doctrine, but not only for getting our 28 fundamental beliefs. He went on to say for all our instruction in righteousness, as we become just as complete in Him as we are individually unique in Him.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV