Monday, September 20, 2010

WORD Interpreting Word

Jason Strange

After our Lord rose from the dead he appeared to his people. Was it mainly to shock and awe them? They needed it. Was it primarily so that their slumping hearts might be lifted up and filled with inexpressible joy, they needed that too? Was it so that his apostles might be filled with hope, strengthened with courage, commissioned and sent out? That was part of the agenda. I think the main reason was so that he could hold a 40-day crash-course in Hermeneutics. He wanted to show his people not only his resurrected body as physical, tangible, demonstrative evidence; but he wanted to confirm to his people that the Old Testament was Christocentric, it was all about Him!

Jesus here unpacks the OT and shows how all of Redemptive history has culminated to this point and that Jewish history has just climaxed with the coming of their Messiah, his death, and subsequent resurrection. Not only has Jewish history reached its peak, but all of human history has now just been significantly altered. Jesus knew they needed interpretation, he knew they needed clarification, someone to elucidate Moses, the prophets and the psalms. And by doing this he was showing himself as the author of interpretation; and without a thorough explanation of the OT this new community of believers would still be stuck in a Judaic legalistic moralistic religion, they still would need temple and sacrifice; they would still need ceremonial washings and mediation. They would still be trapped in symbol and shadow.

In Luke 24: 27, “and beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. “ Jesus is demonstrating how we are to view all of scripture and how we are to interpret. We are to interpret with one eye on Jesus and the other eye on the text. Jesus uses himself as the interpretative networking by which the Church is to properly handle our Old Testaments, not as random Sunday school stories focused on us and our circumstances but first and foremost on Christ Jesus and big picture. All the smaller details must be plugged into the big picture lest we lose the Authors intent. We distort the drama of redemption when we forget to plug the small details into the overarching story. Christ transforms the storyline, as he not only is the Author, but the central character of the play. To spiritualize the OT actually puts us at the center of the drama when as Michael Horton has said, “This character must be killed off.”

Jesus-The Ultimate interpreter began with Moses, which means he most likely took them to Genesis and worked through the whole Old Testament illuminating the text and showing that the Gospel message was there all along thus establishing a gospel centered hermeneutic. And now this gospel hermeneutic is the way by which all scripture is to read, in so doing he thus gives us the New Covenant style which flavors our understanding of Old Covenant truths. In essence he was bridging the storyline of Scripture and revealing that there was indeed a causeway of truth that connected the various points of redemptive history. He connected the dots and sketched a picture of himself. This was his ‘arch de triumph’; he arched back into the OT and grabbed it all, gathered it up and presented it as proof that he was who he said he was. This is how Jesus uses himself; WORD interpreting word.

Also in our consideration is Luke 24:44-45. Jesus told them that all things which were written about him in the in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Jesus was the prophetic fulfillment and he stayed back for those 40 days and taught them from the OT showing forth himself. The whole OT is filled with Christological symbols and signs, and Jesus showed them ‘all things’ which were written about him. (We see him as Word, promise, Law, Priest, covenant, Judge, King, Shepherd, song, wisdom, prophet ect…)

Also, in verse 45 it says that he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. He not only was interpreting for them but he was illuminating their minds. This shows the primacy of Gods hermeneutical method and its result. It also shows God’s sovereignty in our understanding and that it is Jesus who opens up the mind for our comprehension and that there is a reversal of sin darkened minds, blinded eyes, and stopped up ears, pointing to New Covenant promises now being fulfilled.

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