Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas is the story Moses wrote

We had a tour of a Synagogue as part of our Newfrontiers Leadership training a couple of weeks ago. Our Jewish guides assumed that we would know nothing of the Old Testament. Ironically five of our previous six study days had been on Biblical Theology and The Prophets, and more obviously if Christianity is anything it the message of the Old Testament (though many Christians do run scared of the OT).

Our guides clearly revered the Scriptures, and particularly the books of Moses, but seemed to have no notion that they testify about Jesus (or particularly much sense of Messianic hope at all...). This isn't ironic but tragic, and something that Jesus himself ran into on many occasions. We could have been in John 5 where Jesus challenged the Pharisees for being Moses experts but missing him or John 9 where the Pharisees claimed to follow Moses and not Jesus or Luke 16 where Jesus laments the way the Pharisees have Moses & the Prophets and still miss him.

I preached part of Zechariah's prophecy last weekenend (Why Christmas?). Earlier in the prophetic word we see that the coming of Christ is, 1v70, what God spoke by the holy prophets and is 1v72 the mercy promised to their fathers and 1v73 the oath sworn to Abraham. This was not new, rather it is, 1v1 the accomplishment (fulfillment) of what had been promised before.

Moses and the prophets had said it was necessary for the Messiah to come, die and rise so that forgiveness could be preached to the nations.
" [44] Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” [45] Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, [46] and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, [47] and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem." (Luke 24:44-47 ESV)
Jesus opened their minds to "understand the Scriptures" to see that "it is written that..."
They had not seen in the Scriptures, not because it hadn't been in the Scriptures, but because their minds (hearts) hadn't been open to see and believe. They'd missed good news that was written long before.

This is Jesus who had said, Luke 16v31, "if people wont hear Moses and the prophets they wont believe if they see someone raised from the dead". And, 20v37, "Moses showed that the dead are raised". Kings and prophets longed to see what child-like disciples have revealed to them by the Son from the Scriptures. They knew what was coming. They knew what they spoke of and modelled to the world.

Those who will believe Moses and the prophets will see the one raised from the dead and will have their hearts burn within them. Hearts warmed by the coming of Messiah who comes with forgiveness, pouring out life to those in the darkness, like the sun rising on Christmas morning.

See also - Glen debunks the myths of Pop-Biblical-Theology which I've been guilty of believing and teaching at times:
Myth #1 – The prophets spoke better than they knew.
Myth #2 – No-one expected the kind of Messiah that Jesus was
Myth #3 – The Apostles read Messianic meaning into Hebrew texts that weren’t intended by the original authors.

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