Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Central Message of the Scripture

By Max Strange

The central message of the Scriptures is Jesus Christ, the Promise-Person.  The fulfillment of all the Promises and all the Old Testament shadows converge at a Nazarene who was the summation of everything God had ever disclosed.  This first indication of Jesus is found in Genesis 3:15 when the battle of the Seeds commenced.  Throughout all of redemptive history, the Seed of Promise, the One who would eventually crush the head of the Devil, weaves throughout all of God’s word like a winding river supplying life to the whole terrain.  It is true that Christ is the Word and thus all of the Word must have Himself in it.  To slice the Author out of His own spoken Word is to deaden the word and make the doubled-edge sword into a plastic butter knife.
Saying all this then must have some personal benefit and impact and so it does. 
            First, the central message keeps my eyes, as the reader, dazzled to discover Christ in the text.   This protects my  interpretation from a Christless result.  Christ gives guardrails to the interpretation.  He is the ultimate meaning and to go beyond Him is to float away into some fairy-land of imagination, speculation and conjecture.  He is the gem that I hope to find among the context, grammar and the history. 
Second of all, the central message benefits me personally because it tells me that a Sovereign and all powerful God truly exists, resulting in worship.  If the main thesis of history is Jesus Christ, and all of God’s activity relate to Him in some fashion, then I must conclude that His self-disclosure is bound-up with Christological intentions.  All of God’s orchestration is meant to reveal His Son to the Universe.  If I can grasp the intentionality of that and the power behind all that-by God’s grace, it must enlarge my conception of God’s vast might and massive intellect and immense power.  It stretches my soul and fills me with praise that such a God exists.
Third, knowing Christ Jesus as the central message God’s Word gives me an evangelistic starting point that is grounded and rooted in history. 
Fourth, knowing Christ Jesus as the central message brings life to the Old Testament.  It saves and resurrects 3/4ths of my Bible that is often thought to be ALL about Israel.  Many read the Old Testament as a simple historical and plain chronologically.  This makes the Old Testament a dead-letter.  Jesus brings the meaning out of the tomb when He shows up in His text.  Finding Jesus simply makes sense of the Bible.  To look for Jesus in the text is innate to my new nature.  The central message helps me to know Jesus and see Jesus where ever He may be.  It keeps me Christ centered and from self-implosion.  The central message of Christ counters all my sinful tendencies towards human autonomy and free-will posture.  It keeps me from creating my own narrative and seeing myself as the center of my own Story.    

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