The Gospel Lesson for Easter Tuesday from Luke 24:36-48 gives great insight into the priorities of Christ. Here Luke writes of the first appearance of the risen Christ to the Eleven. After Jesus patiently lets the disciples know it was really him and calms them down a bit, what does he then do?
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures . . .
Luke 24: 44-45 KJV
Since Jesus himself was and is “The Word,” it is remarkable that the first thing the risen Christ teaches the disciples is . . . scripture, the written word.
One would think the very presence of the risen Christ, the living Word, was enough. Yet Jesus saw fit right away to teach the disciples from the scriptures.
And even before that, on the road to Emmaus, Jesus spent an afternoon teaching two crestfallen followers from the scriptures, as Luke wrote in 24:13-35, the Gospel for Easter Monday. Remember the risen Christ only spent 40 days on this earth before the Ascension. Yet he clearly spent a lot of that time teaching scripture!
If Jesus put so high a priority on scripture and on the teaching and learning of it, then we are surely inconsistent (at the very least!) if we claim Jesus as Lord, but then either neglect scripture or downplay its authority. The clear priorities of the risen Christ himself give no room to those who say things like “We don’t believe the Bible; we believe the Christ behind the Bible.” Nor does it allow the hubris that we know enough scripture already and have no need to be digging into it much anymore, or just do not have the time.
No, if we really believe in the risen Christ and follow him, we will not only believe the Bible, but will be diligently studying it.