Saturday, February 19, 2011

Interpreting the Unfolding Drama the Way Jesus Did

By Max Strange

It is not a limiting theological notion to say that Jesus Christ is the authoritative core and central message of the entire Bible.  Because this so, all passages will be interpreted in relation to this central Figure Head who is God’s final Word, His ultimate Authority, and His definitive Interpreter, Jesus Christ. 
This is not a fanciful theory.  Jesus and His Apostles gave us our approach to read all of Scripture as related, in some way directly or indirectly, to Jesus Christ.  In Luke 24, the Emmaus Road hermeneutic is given to us by Jesus.  He tells us that the entire Old Testament, littered with a Messianic consciousness, is all about Him.  Furthermore, Jesus tells the Jewish leaders in John chapter 5 that the very first books of the Old Testament, the very foundation of their religion written by Moses, is a Christocentric ensemble.  Stephen’s defense in Acts 7 reveals the progressive nature of the Bible all unfolding to the Christ.  This is not mere speculation.  This is not an attempt to allegorize the Scriptures or disregard the immediate context.  The very essence of the Scriptures are Messianic and Christocentric.  Jesus is that crimson thread that weaves through the wide-ranging tapestry of the Scriptures.  He is not the silver lining around the cloud, but the Sun itself shining through the suspended billows.  He is not imposed where He is already located.  He is not superimposed on the pretty picture of the Old Testament.  He is already there being the Source and Substance of His own Word.  We find Christ where He is and assume it foolish to look for any other.  It is Jesus and His Gospel that shapes our whole outlook on the Scriptures.  We can actually go back and read the Gospel of Abraham, the Gospel of Isaac, the Gospel of Jacob, David, etc…because in some germ form, or in some Christo-embryonic way, Jesus and His Gospel is there.  In all the types, shadows, allusions, narratives, poetry, and music, He is there.  This does not mean Jesus will jump out of each line and paragraph.  What it does strongly imply that the Old Testament and New Testament are progressively connected by Jesus who is that life flowing through the entire root system of the Testaments.   Therefore, to interpret rightly is to see Jesus in the interpretation for He is the meaning of it.  To miss Jesus is to misinterpret. 
The character of the Bible is then a Christo-progressing revelation.  From the Old Testament to the New Testament God makes Himself public.  Like an unfolding map, a naturally developing organism, His Bible is a work covering the ages.  Its progress covers redemptive history and its chief object is the self-disclosure of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  As we read, we will find an internal expansion.  Each step down its path brings us to a richer and more comprehensive knowledge of God.  In sequence, God has seen it a happy thing to disclose Himself and perhaps for our best and safest interest. Imagine a poor soul, emerging from a dark cave of 50 years and being accustomed to dark things, would be seriously injured by a sudden flood of light. Graciously, God has given us beam after beam of His Divine light, enabling us to piece together His majesty, keeping us from harm.  It is then, over the long haul of history, we notice the growing truth of God’s radiance.  The light dawns at the beginning of the Story and reaches high noon with Jesus Christ, the Solid Object at which all shadows of the Old get arrested.  Each truth unfolds from the previous showing us that God never acts in isolation from His other deeds.  His acts and words are fused together throughout in an organic and naturally unfolding character.  God gives piece by piece the whole to the puzzle and as each piece is fit, the whole comes into greater clarity and thus making each piece have a greater significance in the accumulation.  If this is so, at the completion of the New Testament and the accomplished work of Christ, we will find ourselves going back through the Cross into the Old Testament.  We will be guided by the author’s of the New Testament into that which preceded to view God’s full disclosure of His Son Jesus Christ. 
In Conclusion, the Bible’s core message is Christ and so it is necessary that our interpretation involve Him.  The Bible also progressively unfolds.  Therefore, the Bible is a progressive unfolding of Jesus Christ. 

No comments:

Post a Comment