“Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”” (John 5:45–47, ESV)
Anyone who is under the delusion that Jesus would be a friend to post-modern philosophy must surely be disabused of that notion by his own words [of course I do not mean that he is not a friend of post-modern philosophers, for he surely loved/loves every person where they were/are, but he was not afraid to point them relentlessly to truth].
Jesus tells his opponents here that they do not believe the writings of Moses. But wait! If we asked his opponents “do you believe Moses?” they would most assuredly have said, “Yes! We believe everything that he wrote.” What is going on here?
[Post-modern philosophy smack-down alert: Stop reading if you don’t like intolerance, especially of things you hold dear]. What Jesus seems to be saying here is that, if you do not interpret words correctly, then whatever belief you may hold is…wait for it…wrong! His opponents were reading Moses’ words; they were interpreting Moses’ words, and they were coming to the wrong conclusion! The sincerity with which they held their beliefs was of no consequence if those beliefs were wrong. Jesus tells them that they were wrong. Ouch!
In this case the words of the Torah had meaning, they spoke of Jesus [he wrote of me]. The fact that Christ’s opponents missed that fact was their own fault. They had enough information to learn and know the truth, but they missed it and are guilty because they missed it!
Upon Christ’s words hang the fate of important concepts like truth, belief, and interpretation. He takes a totalitarian, true truth, words-have-real-meaning-and-you-should-search-out-and-understand-that-meaning approach. This flies directly in the face of post-modern philosophy which claims exactly the opposite. It teaches that “truth depends upon the interpretation of the reader.” “No,” says Jesus, “it does not.” Truth depends upon what is actually true.
This is hard Jesus. This is no compromise Jesus. This is unsettling Jesus. This is a “true truth is really important” Jesus. He seems everywhere intent on upsetting people’s belief system [whether they be conservative or liberal] and forcing them to face the truth as it is, not as they wish it would be.
This Jesus makes me uncomfortable, and that seems to have been his aim.