October 19, 2017

Shaped By Jesus III

By Chaplain Mike

Update: We’ve had some good comments, but they have focused on academic issues. That is fine, but I’m really much more interested in how this text speaks to Jesus-shaped spiritual formation.

It’s time to get back to our series, begun in June, on the Jesus-shaped life.

“Shaped By Jesus” is a series of sign-posts pointing to Jesus’ teaching and acts as the soil from which Christlike discipleship grows. We are shaped by Jesus and we are shaped to be like Jesus in his character and mission.

The Spirit enables us to be with Jesus today as we live our daily lives in the context of the Biblical story. As we contemplate the words and acts of Jesus, and as we live in a conversational relationship with him, our minds and imaginations discover that Jesus is the Way—not only the Truth we believe, and the Life we receive—but also the pattern of life which shapes ours.

Note on today’s art—

“Yellow Crucifixion” by Jewish artist Marc Chagall (1943) is one of a number of paintings the artist did to express the horrors of the Holocaust by combining Jewish symbols with Jesus’ crucifixion. Note how Jewish Chagall’s Jesus is—wearing the tallith or prayer shawl around his waist, donning the tefillin (phylacteries) worn by Orthodox Jews on their arms for morning prayers, and holding an oversized Torah scroll above images of European Jewish suffering. For Chagall, Jesus represented the ultimate Jewish martyr.

Today, we look at Jesus’ words introducing his Messianic perspective on the First Testament Scriptures and righteousness in Matthew 5:17-20.

Matthew 5:17-20 (TNIV)—

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

If Jesus is going to shape our lives, we must adopt his way of approaching the Scriptures and what they teach about being in the right before God.

The first two parts of this sermon laid all the stress on God’s grace in Jesus. He came to bring “blessing” to those the world considers losers. These unlikely “blessed ones” also receive the grace of vocation, becoming God’s representatives in the world, slowing the pace of corruption and promoting positive good and God’s glory. Jesus seemed to be turning the world upside down. If blessedness and vocation are gifts of God’s pure grace, what then do we do with the First Testament Scriptures and their emphasis on the Law and righteousness? Jesus answers in Matthew 5:17-20.

1. The Bible, the whole Bible, points to Jesus. When he came, he did not replace the First Testament Scriptures and declare them no longer important or in effect. Rather, he came to fulfill those Scriptures. Its stories, genealogies, moral, ethical, social laws and religious regulations, songs, wisdom writings, and prophecies all anticipate his coming. Whether through direct prophecy or typological foreshadowing, “the Law and the Prophets” (the OT canon, sometimes called, “The Law, Prophets, and Writings”) must be “understood through the person and teaching of him to whom it points and who so richly fulfills it” (D.A. Carson, EBC vol. 8, “Matthew”).

Since the Bible is supremely about Jesus, when he came, he asserted his right to tell us what it’s all about. We can only understand it through him. We only truly understand it when we let it lead us to him.

Jesus shapes our lives when we go to the Bible to know him. That means First Testament as well as New Testament. The First Testament is not Law, as contrasted with the New Testament, which is Gospel. It is all Gospel, from different perspectives. It is the story of God announcing his Good News, then bringing it to pass through Jesus. Jesus’ disciples are those who enter and walk in this Biblical story.

  • They breathe the fresh air of creation,
  • Feel the shame of nakedness and exile from Eden,
  • Watch in awe as the sea parts and then returns to drown the relentless enemies of God,
  • Join the gaggle of slaves who travel to the mountain where Yahweh’s covenant love transforms them into a nation,
  • Cry out to this same covenant-keeping God through centuries of mixed faithfulness and unfaithfulness.

And then Jesus is born, the Seed of the Woman, the Seed of Abraham, the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Prophet like Moses, the Son of David. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). And when he came of age, he began proclaiming that the Kingdom of God had dawned. In his words and works he demonstrated that he was indeed “the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The King had come, the Kingdom begun. Good News!

And then, of course, every page of the New Testament more fully explicates the significance and implications of this Christocentric message for now and eternity. Somehow, in some way, every passage in the First Testament prepares for Jesus, and every passage in the New Testament points to Jesus.

That does not mean Jesus’ name or a detailed description of his person and work is immediately apparent in every text. At times, we only see him as we step back and see the big picture—the broad sweep of the Biblical story, its shape and contours. Nevertheless, the whole First Testament is like a wave that swells until it crashes on the shore in Bethlehem of Judea, the beachhead of redemptive history.

When we read and study the Bible, our study is not complete until we are able to answer, “What does this tell me about Jesus?” And as the Spirit shapes our understanding of the Bible to conform to its picture of Jesus, his teaching and his work, our lives become shaped to be like his: “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2Corinthians 3:18).

Therefore, Jesus proclaims, not even the smallest part of the Word will pass away until it is all fulfilled in him. And those who teach it and follow it faithfully will be considered great in God’s Kingdom. It is they who will be most shaped like Jesus.

2. Jesus, the One who fulfills the Scriptures, interprets what “righteousness” means. In Isaiah 61, the prophet proclaimed that the poor who received the Messiah’s Good News would become “oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.”

Righteousness signifies a right standing before God and conformity of life with his own righteous character. Isaiah prophesied, and Jesus reiterated in the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount that those who receive God’s grace are declared righteous in God’s sight (justification) and set on a path of transformation into experiential righteousness (sanctification).

This righteousness “surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law.” Theirs was the “right living” of conventional religion. The religious system set forth the behavioral expectations, and as long as one stayed within bounds, that person was considered “righteous.” To be fair, many Pharisees and religious teachers stressed attitudes as well as actions, but overall the system they oversaw was designed for external conformity, not internal transformation. Instructions and rules cannot turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. Laws can tell us what to do and not do, as well as enumerate the consequences of obedience and disobedience, but they cannot create love, trust, and filial obedience in our lives.

There must be an inward change. This is what the New Covenant promised:

Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD; I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jer. 31:31-34)

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezekiel 36:25-26)

This is what Christ came to bring. This righteousness, this inward change is the effect of the Kingdom on those who receive it. When we trust Christ, who died and rose again on our behalf, God forgives our sins and declares us righteous in our standing before him. He pours out his love and Spirit into our lives, raising us from our own dead works to walk in the good works he has prepared for us (Eph. 2:1-10).

Much of this obviously is detail that goes beyond Jesus’ introduction to the concept of New Covenant righteousness in the Sermon on the Mount. Nevertheless, he sets forth a thesis here that it will take the rest of the New Testament to fully explain: In Jesus, a righteousness from God has been revealed (Romans 1:17), a righteousness that surpasses that of conventional religion.

Jesus shapes our lives into a life like his when…

  • We read the Bible in a Jesus-shaped way.
  • We seek a Jesus-shaped righteousness.

Comments

  1. “…… the whole First Testament is like a wave that swells until it crashes on the shore in Bethlehem of Judea, the beachhead of redemptive history.”

    – Beautiful!

  2. Buford Hollis says:

    The tradition that the Old Testament anticipates and prophesies the life of Christ, is not borne out by secular scholarship. That means that it is impossible to understand the historical Jesus if we insist on reading the Old Testament in this way.

    On the Pharisee issue, the New Testament was written long after the events it describes (if they happened), after a time when Christianity and Judaism had already gone through an acrimonious split. I wouldn’t take it at face value. In fact, there is good reason to see Jesus as a Pharisee himself. (Of course they argued–that’s how Jews study Torah!)

    Notice how well your criticisms of “the Pharisees” could be applied to Christians. (“…overall the system they oversaw was designed for external conformity, not internal transformation.”) But Judaism has a mystical dimension as well, which involves a way of approaching scripture that Christians might well imitate. Reading it should be a creative act, not mere submission to authority. You can’t imitate Christ by obeying Christ (or an image of Christ promoted by the churches).

    • Buford, we disagree radically on your first point. Particularly when one steps back and sees the OT canon as a whole, and its shape, the work points to a complete return from exile, and an ideal Davidic King who would take up his throne in their midst. Thus, Matthew introduces the NT with a genealogy that reflects this canonical shape, organized around Abraham and David. Jesus, the son of Abraham (Torah) and son of David (Prophets) comes to fulfill the destiny they anticipated.

      We also disagree on the historical reliability of the NT documents. Your position is the common critical one, but there are plenty of respectable scholars who are not so skeptical.

      Conservative NT scholarship has come a long way to answer many of your objections, Buford, and also to give a much more nuanced view of Judaism at the time of Christ, as you articulate here. If you haven’t done so, for example, I would urge you to read N.T. Wright, who makes a strong, historically-informed case to counter what you’ve set forth here.

      We are, however, in full agreement, that much of Christianity sadly resembles the “external conformity” model rather than what Jesus is setting forth. That critique is one of our main themes here at Internet Monk.

      I’m glad you’re participating here at IM!

      • Buford Hollis says:

        Sure, there are conservative Christian scholars. But finding somebody who ISN’T one, who reads the OT in this way (I mean in their capacity as a scholar, not as a religious act), is about as rare as finding a non-Mormon who agrees that American Indians are Jewish.

        The OT evolved as it got added to, but yeah, exile / return is definitely one of the overarching themes. (I suppose its earliest editors were from the Babylonian exile.) Messianic lore seems not to be so old (Second Temple period?) but Jesus was never a king, however much people like to visualize him that way. These correspondences are made retrospectively, and require a very loose sense of logic.

        • Don’t forget that all scholars have their “faith” commitments. Not much absolute neutrality when it comes to interpreting these data. Having said that, I would hesitate to make a blanket statement about this. Many Jewish scholars have seen the Messianic import of the OT, even if they don’t accept that Jesus is the Messiah. I read commentaries by critical scholars all the time who likewise acknowledge this reading, even if they come to different conclusions about the significance and implications of that.

          As to your second paragraph, all I can say Buford is that the more I have studied the Old Testament as the Old Testament, (and it’s been a 25 year project for me) the more I see its eschatological and Messianic shape.

          And to understand Jesus in “kingly” terms, one must have some confidence that his words and actions were reliably recorded and accurately represented in the NT documents. I realize you may not have that confidence.

        • David Cornwell says:

          Not sure we will ever have “proof” that will satisfy everyone about the accuracy or meaning of anything in the OT or NT. In the end it comes down to faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Can we trust the testimony of the apostles? Are the teachings of Jesus recorded in the gospels actually what the recorders believed he said? Did they believe that Christ rose from the dead, or did they just make it up for some reason? Someone believed it because it is part of the testimony of scripture. Can I trust that testimony, say as opposed to the testimony of a Mormon who makes such and such claims? Does it have relevancy for me and for the world? So in a way at least, Jesus and all that led up to him, require faith, not proof.

          How did the gospel writers and apostles interpret the OT? To me this a relevant clue.The same for the testimony of the early church.

          We, the church, have made a mess out of following this Christ, but that doesn’t change what was given to us.

          And then, perhaps none of this makes much sense. If not then I’ll just live with my happy illusion.

      • Buford Hollis says:

        PS. One of the main criteria for the messiah according to Jewish tradition is that he brings peace. Jesus obviously has not–therefore, say Jews, he is not the messiah. I think the best approach is to try and keep both traditions in mind at the same time (but contextualized by secular scholarship). After all, there is no “truth” about the messiah apart from these rival traditions.

        • Isaac Rehberg (the poster formerly known as Obed) says:

          I think it’s important to remember that Judaism as it stands today is not identical with the religion of the Hebrews in the OT or the various Judaisms in the NT. What survived the destruction of the Temple is based on one sect’s practices and viewpoints (i.e. the Pharisees) and has greatly been formed not only by the Temple’s destruction but also by the cultural ascendancy of Christianity in the West and (to a lesser extent) Islam in the East.

          To that end, Judaism as we know it is really more of a sister faith to Christianity than a parent faith.

          Of course, the traditional take in Judaism would disagree with what I said. But that holds about the same intellectual honesty as the Roman Catholic Church claiming that their tradition is exactly the same as the Apostles’ Christianity. Are there roots that go back that far? Certainly. But at some point the evolution of tradition has made the various traditions look quite different from their roots.

          • cermak_rd says:

            I would disagree that the ascendancy of Christianity made much of a theological imprint on Judaism, after all the Jews tended to isolate themselves and interactions tended to be of a business sort or a pogram sort depending on the region and era.

            Certainly the destruction of the temple played an important role in forming modern Judaism. The Pharisees (your bad guys) are our good guys. They managed to take a temple based faith and move the temple into the home. Judaism had to evolve or die and it evolved, I’m not sure Christianity has anything to do with that.

            Along the way Judaism encountered the Enlightenment which spawned it’s two biggest branches today, Reform Judaism which is my branch, with an emphasis on autonomy of the individual and Conservative Judaism which stressed the community aspect of Judaism. When it encountered post-modernism, Reconstruction Judaism (an attempt to return to its roots, less emphasis on Law as Law and more on folkways that should be respected) and Humanist Judaism (maybe there’s a Divine, maybe not, but the traditions and heritage is important and should be respected) sprang up to respond to it. None of these branches came about as a response to Christianity (unless you want to say the Enlightenment came from Christianity and to an extent it did and to an extent it didn’t).

          • For whatever it’s worth, I’ve got a good amount of Jewish friends and family including a brother whose studying to get his smicha in Israel. I actually identify with the Pharisees quite a bit as fellow religious-types who sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees. They were the “evangelicals” of their day for sure.

            I think it’s really hard to make the argument that modern Judaism has no cultural knee-jerk reaction to Christianity. A lot of theological developments happened in the Judaism early centuries of the Common Era through the middle ages that had a lot to do with a buncha goyim claiming they knew the Messiah and that the Messiah’s people rejected him. Don’t get me wrong, we treated y’all absolutely shamefully through much of our history. But to claim that Judaism ignored Christianity and did its own thing seems rather myopic.

            The Jewish Enlightenment in Europe was VERY much influenced by Christianity. Many of the founders of that movement wanted to have a Judaism that fit in better with normative European (i.e. Christian) culture. That’s where you got things like organ music mixed in with synagogue worship, yeshivas that were patterned more after the Christian seminaries than traditional rabbinic teaching methods, etc.

            And of course, there was influence that went both ways. After all, the Orthodox/Catholic patterns for the priesthood were totally borrowed from 2nd Temple Judaism, as was much of the liturgy. And the parallels between my Book of Common Prayer and my Siddur are pretty amusing.

            But probably the biggest area where modern Judaism reacted against Christianity was its understanding of Messianic Expectations. The post-exile through 2nd-temple writings suggest a much broader view of who the Messiah could be. (e.g. the concept of Messiah ben Joseph and the Messiah ben David). Once Christians said they had the Messiah, things got a lot narrower.

            Which is natural. Traditions evolve and never in a vacuum. Think of how different Christianity would have been if it never became the official Imperial Religion in the 4th Century. Or how Judaism would have been if the Temple never got destroyed.

          • Buford Hollis says:

            I agree with this. You’re right, post-Second Temple messianic lore (whether Christian or Jewish) can’t be relied on for information about earlier beliefs, of which I’m sure there were a great variety. I just mentioned this because when we read the Bible, we are also reading it with an eye to later tradition (both Jewish and Christian, maybe others too).

        • Buford is right. Jews expected the Messiah to rebuild the Temple, overthrow the pagan oppressors and bring and end to exile. Jesus died before all this happened. But then God vidicated Him by raising Him from the dead, and everything the Messiah was supposed to do was done, but not in the way they expected. N. T. Wright does a good job of addressing this in “The Challenge of Jesus.”

    • Does it have to be written consciously to point to Jesus in order to point to Jesus? I can think of books that point me to Jesus that are not about Jesus at all.

      I am certainly not a scholar at your level, but it seems to me that retroactively seeing linkages that the original authors may not have been aware of might be part of that mystical dimension you mention.

      • In a word, ‘no.’ They do not have to be explicitly about Jesus to be ‘about’ Jesus. I think our post-Enlightenment ideas of how to properly interpret the bible (i.e. hermeneutics) have helped us miss the point in this regard. The Church Fathers, like the Jews before them, applied a much more generous hermeneutic than we would today. Allegory was acceptable, for example. Hyper-literalism was very rare in those days. Shoot, if the four Evangelists or St. Paul went to seminary today, their biblical interpretation professor would probably give them a failing grade if they submitted some of the NT writings. I’m honestly more familiar with traditional Jewish hermeneutic than traditional Christian hermeneutic, but my readings of the Fathers has convinced me that there are a lot of similarities. The four principles of traditional Jewish hermeneutic are:

        1. P’shat – the plain, literal meaning (which is all many modern Christians care about)
        2. D’rash – homiletic application, often applying the text to modern situations
        3. Remetz – hint, using similar phrases in one part of Scripture to interpret another part of Scripture. This is a technique we see the gospels employ a LOT regarding Jesus in the OT
        4. Sod – a mystical reading, often using the numeric values of the Hebrew letters to come up with meaning (some of the Church Fathers did this also, but with Greek. The famous Revelation 666 passage is probably an example of this)

        • Buford Hollis says:

          The question of how to read Torah is different from the question of what message you ultimately get from it (which can be done very creatively). Jesus seems to have been an apocalyptic, as was John the Baptist. So a “Jesus-shaped spirituality” ought to include a lot of talk about the end of the world, ecstatic heavenly journeys, angels, prophecies…anyway, stuff that makes exorcism look mainstream!

          Not that that was the ONLY aspect of his teaching–there’s also a lot of folksy ethical stuff, for instance.

    • “But Judaism has a mystical dimension as well”

      Wonderful truth about the mystical dimension/reality that one can enter into/experience while bathing in the Presence of God through the scriptures; just a few words embraced in the heart, in the center of one’s soul, is enough to enkindle a loving communion. If one is willing and open to this reality it is transformation from the inside out. Carmelite spirituality, which is rooted and has it’s foundation in the Old Testament scriptures, especially in the prophet Elijah, brings the reality of this Judeo-Christian mystical dimension to life. It is within the walls of Carmel that living in this all-embracing Presence of the Divine was made known to me. Though historically there was a split between the Jewish and Christian peoples, Christianity has it’s roots deeply embedded in Jewish spirituality.

      Jesus was a Jew. The very Jesus of the New Testament. The Jesus that gave birth to what is known as Christianity. If one embraces in all truth, wholeheartedly, the Old Testament Scriptures and embraces them within that “mystical dimension” of Jewish spirituality, one will ultimately find Jesus; not because they are looking for Him, not because they are actively searching out words about Him, not because they are scholastic, but because the true “mystical dimension” is being embraced by the very Presence of the One true God, the God that gave birth to the Jewish people, and this God Himself will reveal His Son, Jesus.

    • cermak_rd says:

      Benedict is the first Pope, I believe, who has ever stated that the OT can be understood without Christ.

  3. Dana Ames says:

    CM,
    thank you for emphasizing the “shape” of the OT and its unity with the NT. So often we focus on the trees and lose the forest, or wish to make lack of understanding, or paradox, easier to deal with by heading toward dualisms of various sorts.

    Since you are familiar with N.T. Wright, I’m somewhat surprised reading your definition of “righteousness” as “right standing before God and conformity of life with his own righteous character” without reference to Wright’s focus on r. as (covenant) faithfulness as a whole, and the Jews of Jesus’ day not so much concerned about “getting in with God”, but more with what constituted identity markers of a Jew in good standing. Wright’s interp., for the most part, makes so much more sense; reading the dik- words as “faithfulness” 90% of the time solves all kinds of problems for me. And I came to this understanding reading his big books, not the explicitly NPP stuff.

    Conformity of life with God’s character could be a definition of “faithfulness”; I’m just concerned that this sort of phrasing keeps the focus on rules and laws, on “how to get in”, and minimizes the importance of the Resurrection. I know you certainly would not mean to do that. Perhaps we will disagree about this. But Wright was a big, big part of why I became Orthodox; so much overlap between them, esp. re the Resurrection.

    Dana

    • David Cornwell says:

      Yes, the Resurrection is central. Thanks.

    • Dana, thanks. Here’s how I read Wright. His book on justification is much more nuanced on the subject of righteousness than some of his earlier writings, and this helps me see that he isn’t setting forth a total “either/or” approach on the subject. He affirms the Reformation tradition. However, he reminds us that many of the Reformation formulations were specifically tied to issues in their own day. And then he adds the broader context of 2nd Temple Judaism and the issues Jesus was facing. I don’t think (though it has been often charged) that the NPP or Wright’s teaching threatens the Reformation view. It merely adds to it much needed historical perspective and fuller meaning.

      To put it simply: the common perspective of Reformation theology is soteriological. Wright is both soteriological and ecclesiological, as well as adding the whole Biblical-Jewish historical background and context.

      • And eschatological! Wright’s theology has some really, really neat eschatological dimensions that are outgrowths of his soteriological and ecclesiological view. Actually, I think there are too many overlaps in Wright’s theology to fit into the traditional “systematic theology” categories!

    • Dana, let me say one more thing. The reason I focused on this aspect of “righteousness” in today’s post is because I am focusing on the subject of personal spiritual formation, and this side of the coin seemed to speak to that more clearly.

      • Dana Ames says:

        CM,
        I understand.

        Many of those problems that were solved for me by reading the dik- words as “faithfulness” had to do with my own personal spiritual formation, and anecdotally I head from others Wright helped this way too. It was a very deep and comprehensive thing for me, beginning with picking up “The New Testament and the People of God” in the summer of 2001, a year after I left Evangelicalism and parked in a “conservative” PCUSA church waiting for God to show me where I should go.

        I know Wright affirms the Reformation; he’s a loyal Anglican, after all… I’ve read “Justification” and agree it is very nuanced. And I think the brilliance of Wright’s work overall really serves to unravel the bulk of Reformation theology and show how it falls short. A few aspects of Ref. theology are very good, but it is reaction to late medieval Rome; most of it departed from the earliest Christian understandings as per Wright and the Apostolic Fathers. (Have you read the AF? Penguin Classics “Early Christian Writings” edited by Andrew Louth is a good modern English edition. I read them in the wake of NTW, and in that context they also helped to deconstruct my former theology…)

        Well, I don’t want to upset anyone’s faith. I’m not worried about who’s right; as I said, I expect we’ll disagree. You’re a committed Protestant, camped with Luther right now, and I with Athanasius, Basil the Great and Isaac of Syria… Just wondered about this because of your familiarity with, and admiration of, Wright, and your general kindness and insight.

        Dana

        • Dana, thank you for your kind words, and thoughtful discussion. I too have been helped a great deal by Wright. I will admit that I approach these discussions out of a concern that so much of the fighting that has gone on, calling Wright and NPP proponents heretics and so on, is so completely unnecessary and based on insufficient reading and thinking about what these folks are really teaching. There seems to be so little trust between Christians in different “camps” these days. So little willingness to give others the benefit of the doubt. It’s sad. We need more commenters like you, Dana, who can discuss matters from different perspectives with respect and goodwill.

  4. Chaplain Mike, have you read anything by Scott Hafemann? I just finished a course from Gordon-Conwell Seminary that he lectured, and your article is like a refresher course. The unity of scripture, OT and NT as one story, is big with him–all pointing to Jesus (“I have come not to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill them”). Jeremiah31:31-34, it’s all eternal stuff that stiff-necked people (including us) have, uh, overlooked…or outright rebelled against.

    Nice choice on the Chagall, too. Jesus was supremely Jewish, lived and breathed Judaism and OT. We can certainly adopt the painting.

  5. I confess to not having yet read the post. I just wanted to say thank you for putting the Marc Chagall painting in. He’s been one of my favorite painters for years now, but I wasn’t aware of the Yellow Crucifixion till I saw it here. Thank you so much for making me aware of this work. It’s very powerful.

  6. Read “The Challenge of Jesus” by N. T. Wright. Redemption is of the Jews, and has come from a Jewish King, for the whole world. Amen!