And when they put the teaching of rabbis and schools of thought in place of the Prophets, they made sure to bury the increasingly clear revelation concerning the Coming One under piles and piles of man-made regulations, vainly designed to acquire righteousness. Jesus Christ is the Key to Knowledge; indeed, He is Truth itself (John 14:6). And when the lawyers took away the Prophets and substituted the teachings of men, they deprived the people of the opportunity of seeing the cumulative testimony of Jesus in the pages of the Old Testament.

It’s no wonder that, though Jesus over and over pointed to the Prophets to validate His claims and calling, the people just didn’t get it. Their teachers had denied them the teaching of the Old Testament and robbed them of the Key to Knowledge, so that they were unable to put together the Old Testament pieces that finally became a whole puzzle in Jesus Christ.

And this is the great sin of the lawyers: they kept people from seeing Jesus. They kept people from the Truth by weighing them down with lies. By withholding the Prophets and substituting the teachings of men in their place, the very men entrusted with the teaching of the whole counsel of God had taken the Key of Knowledge and thrown it into the depths of the sea. This is the greatest sin of all, the sin that tries to substitute the righteousness of men for the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ, that teaches popular opinion, good ideas, half-truths, and outright lies as though they were the Word of God, and, as a result, keeps people from seeing the Truth that is in Jesus Christ.

What’s saddest about this comic situation is that these lawyers are still among us today—preachers who ignore the Law, who only preach from the New Testament, who prefer movie reviews and anecdotal homilies to the sound exposition of the whole counsel of God in the Old and New Testaments. And we do this to ourselves as well, when we fail to make reading and study in the whole Bible part of our regimen of spiritual disciplines.

Jesus Christ is the Key to Knowledge—not just Biblical knowledge, but all knowledge. In our day, that Key has been relegated to a drawer in the church, where it is used to open a few doors and windows to allow a little light of spiritual refreshment into our knowledge-starved souls. We will never be able to engage all thought, every area of knowledge and study, and every lofty opinion set up against the knowledge of God, until we first begin to know the Key of Knowledge Himself as He is revealed cover to cover, page after page, in all the books of the Old and New Testaments.

Is the sin of the lawyer keeping you from the Key of Knowledge?

For Reflection

What is your approach to reading and studying the Bible? Does it include the whole Bible? Does your church lead you to reflect consistently on all the counsel of God in Scripture?

T. M. Moore is dean of the BreakPoint Centurions Program and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of 20 books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are Culture Matters (Brazos) and The Hidden Life, a handbook of poems, songs, and spiritual exercises (Waxed Tablet). Sign up at his website to receive his daily email devotional Crosfigell, reflections on Scripture and the Celtic Christian tradition. T. M. and his wife and editor, Susie, make their home in Hamilton, Va.