Friday, 19 December 2008

The Strange Christological Excess of the Old Testament (Part III)

The point of the preceding posts (here and here, and this began the train of thought) is that it is only in the light of faith in Christ that the continuity between Jesus and what went before him can be glimpsed. And it is not a nice, neat, simple, linear progression from one to the other. Jesus was a surprise. Those who like the linear approach seem to think that this 'proves' that Jesus is the messiah. (and provides a handy ground for condemning those who have missed this obvious progression and fulfillment.) But it is the surprise of faith in Jesus that strikes me. And it is this surprise, the way in which Jesus does not fit the expectations of the day, that lends credibility to the claims of faith. Where did the strange claims come from? Were they just made up? (Because, without the claims themselves, it is difficult to see how Jesus is the fulfillment of the expectations of the Old Testament.) And if a non-believer were to assert that the claims about Jesus (e.g. his resurrection) are made up, where did they come from? There were plenty of other claims to fabricate that would have met the expectations of the day, been more believable, and therefore more attractive to a Jewish audience. The lack of fit between Jesus and the expectations of the Jews demands explanation.

In all of this there is an excess in the Old Testament that allows for the strange twist that leads from the Old Testament to Jesus, but the excess is only accessed via a Christological reading of the text. And the Christological content is provided by Jesus, crucified and risen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Warren, This is only part of what I think was your best sermon at Holy Innocents. Can you add what you said about finding God's purpose for our lives? Cheers Wendy