You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.--John 5:39-40 (ESV)
Jesus was a counter-cultural revolutionary. To think of Him as less is to deny that His life was lived in opposition to the ruling powers of both religion and state. Think of His famous woes: "Woe to the scribes and Pharisees." In John 5:39-40, Jesus pulls the rug out from under the Jewish religious leaders. He essentially says, "What are you doing? You think you can get to the Father by just reading the words and not believing on the Son?"
For the last few weeks, I've been noticing a tendency in my heart to subtly move towards legalism when I'm having a good day. During my daily Bible reading time, I find it very easy to think that God is impressed by my devotion to Him. When I think on the Cross and pray during the rest of the day, I get an inflated head and feel like I've earned my way into God's favor.
Jesus minces no words, however, for people who rest on their works (like me at these times). Those who trust in their works for life will not receive the free, gracious gift of God: eternal life.