Thursday, March 27, 2014

No God in the Old Testament unlike Jesus

Luke is a meticulous historian, gathering up eyewitness evidence about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. But he's also a stellar theologian, interpreting the eyewitness testimony he records in light of the writings of Moses and the Prophets and Psalms to show the necessity of the death, resurrection and subsequent global proclamation about the Christ.

Luke says: this Jesus who was eyewitnessed is that Christ of the Scriptures.

Luke reports that Jesus' coming will bring forgiveness of sins like the sun rising for a new day (Luke 1). As Jesus dies Luke tells that the sun's light failed. Yet at dawn on the third day the Son comes, telling his witnesses that forgiveness is to be heralded to all people groups. No imperialistic imposition, but warm beams of divine love shining out from the risen Son.

Mike Reeves has said "there is no God in heaven who is unlike Jesus" and Luke would agree wholeheartedly. The Son reveals his Father whom only he knows.

But, Luke can go further and say that there is no God in the Old Testament who is unlike Jesus. There are gods who are most unlike him, vicious, lonely, manipulative idols whom Israel and the surrounding nations foolishly chase, but the LORD, the God of Israel is Jesus-shaped.

For us that raises questions because we live in days where we are prone to read a violent god off the pages of the Old Testament. There is wrath no doubt. There is divine jealousy. And exile and death. Pointing to the Christ's suffering...

Luke says: the message is clear - God's story with Israel sets the stage, provides the grammar, and all points to Jesus of Nazareth being the long expected Christ, the Son of God. There is much to wrestle with, but much is clear too: The Christ will suffer and rise, and repentance and forgiveness will be proclaimed to all peoples.

Could it be that to get an insight into Jesus' Emmaus Road bible study is to read Luke's gospel? Luke tells of the things that have been fulfilled (accomplished - Luke 1:1), things that the Old Testament had told must happened, the very theme of Jesus' third day teaching. Things to make your heart burn warmly within you, especially when taken with Bread.

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