Scriptures: Psalm 119: 1-16 and Matthew 7:15-29
Jesus studied the scriptures of his time, and knew them deeply. On several occasions in the Bible he quotes them outright, or makes comments upon them. It is in the nature of Scripture that it bonds a group of people in a shared experience and understanding of God, and what it means to be the people of God, however that may defined by that group. The Scriptures become that common touchstone that helps to mediate differences, which provides a common language for morality and disciplined living, and describes the means by which we may gain access to mystery. Jesus studied the Scriptures of his time because they were the spiritual teachings and proclamations of his people, and they gave witness to the One he called Abba, “Father.” To follow Jesus Christ is to identify with him and his teaching and the life he demonstrated. The community of the followers of Jesus should be molded and formed by his life and his teachings. What the New Testament becomes, in this analysis, then, is a manual of spiritual formation. In addition, the New Testament is a manual of the Church’s identity. It contains the church’s story—where it came from, how and why it exists, where it is going, and where its place in the cosmos is. But pre-eminently it contains a “program” of spirituality that forms people according to the vision of human potentiality and community that Jesus described and demonstrated.