“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” (Luke 11:52)
Marie Curie was a brilliant physicist and chemist that conducted some of the most fundamental and significant research in the study of radioactivity. Her efforts made her the first woman to win the Nobel Prize; not once, but twice!
Yet for all the knowledge she acquired during her research, she missed a critical element of knowledge that would ultimately take her life.
Specifically, the knowledge she lacked was the knowledge that the human body will die if exposed to sustained high levels of radiation. This fact was not known in her day.
She would often carry test tubes of radium around in her pockets while conducting research. She was also exposed to excessive levels of radiation in her early work with mobile X-ray systems that she was creating. Sadly, this brilliant scientist died in July of 1934 from a condition called aplastic anemia, which we know today is frequently brought on by excessive exposure to radiation.
Knowledge can make a significant difference in our lives. As Marie Curie unfortunately discovered, the inverse is also true; a lack of knowledge can also have terrible consequences. Had she known about the dangerous characteristics of radiation, she would have no doubt made different choices in terms of how she handled radioactive samples in her research.
Today, when students study radiation in labs, they are led by teachers that incorporate knowledge on how to safely handle such materials. It would be unconscionable if a teacher ever withheld knowledge on the dangers of radiation to new students.
Education and understanding of knowledge is not a new thing. At one point in his ministry, Jesus had been invited to a meal with several religious leaders of his day. It was clear that they intended to use their mealtime to promote themselves and their knowledge of the scriptures. Jesus saw through their shallow agenda and spoke truthfully and honestly to them. The Pharisees (Religious leadership) were very offended. The scribes (Legal experts in religious matters) quickly jumped to their defense.
In the end, Jesus made his position clear. In his view, the religious leaders had not only withheld knowledge to the average person that attended church, but intentionally hindered the transfer of knowledge that would lead others to an understanding of His role as the Messiah and to eternal life.
He didn’t mince words with these guys either!
In the verses immediately prior (Luke 11:51) He made it clear that as holders of such knowledge, these teachers would be held directly accountable for not only taking away knowledge, but for hindering those that were actively seeking to understand the key to eternal life, namely a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
When I find myself in a role teaching scripture, be it teaching adults or children, I am very mindful of the weight of responsibility that teachers bear. We must always be on guard to fully prepare ourselves and to understand the lessons we teach. Care must be taken to not interpret scriptures in a way that is anything other than what the scriptures are teaching.
We must never do or say anything to hinder someone from coming into a right and eternal relationship with Jesus Christ. Whenever we teach or share information about the scriptures to others, we need to do so with the aim of helping others to grasp the “key of knowledge,” knowledge of Christ that would permit them to to receive Christ into their lives.
Even if we are not teachers in our church, if we are simply a believer in Christ attending church, we must never shy away from sharing with those that God brings into our lives the knowledge of salvation. While we might not be scholars, our daily conduct, our heart attitude of love towards others are often the only tools we might have to communicate the message of salvation through Christ.
If you’re reading this devotion and have never encountered the living Christ, let me take a moment and share with you what the scriptures tell us about Christ’s love for you and about our mutual need for Christ.
The scriptures tell us that Christ loves you and I to the point of death. He willingly gave his life for me and for you. (John 3:16) The same scriptures also remind us that we are impacted by something called sin. It’s a condition that exists in our world and will keep us separated from God. Everyone is impacted,( Romans 3:23 ) and unless I take personal steps to address this condition, the condition will result in eternal separation from God when our bodies die. (Romans 6:23) But not to worry, the scriptures share some great news! Jesus has given each of us the opportunity to receive the gift of eternal life. This gift is unmerited and cannot be earned in anyway. (Ephesians 2:8-9 )
So what must one do to receive such a gift!
Admit: Admit that I have sinned and fall short of God’s expectations. The scriptures are clear that all of humanity is impacted by the presence of this sin condition. (Romans 3:23).
Believe: Believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins (John 3:16 and 1:12). Jesus is uniquely qualified to meet God’s standard for entering Heaven. As such, He chose to allow himself to be a substitute for me, to suffer the ultimate consequences of sin, separation from God, so that I would never have to experience what that might be like. His motive…love.
Conviction: There must be genuine conviction of the need for repentance, confession, and baptism. Our hearts must truly desire to change; we must want to live our lives in a manner that honors God as an ongoing expression of our gratitude for the gift of eternal life, obtained through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9).
How do I do communicate my desire to follow Christ?
We do this by prayer.
Prayer is simply talking to God using our own words. There is no special formula. It’s not magic, its just communicating. Simply pray from your heart to God, and He will save you. If you feel lost and just don’t know what to pray, here’s a prayer of salvation that you can pray:
I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you. -Amen”