11 October 2006

Part 4 - The Jewish Basis for the Gospel

This week's message handout was NOT for further study during the week, but rather for following the talk in the service. What follows is that outline. This stuff is so fundamental to understanding the gospels' picture of Jesus, that I encourage you to get the message from the IC if you weren't here last week.

Jesus comes into the midst of a long, unfolding story. If we're going to understand anything that He does or says, we have to have an accurate sense of what a Jew was looking for in a Messiah and out of life. This can best be accomplished by visiting four places that were central to their history and faith.*

EGYPT the place of bondage
Exodus 3:7-10 "heard them crying...am concerned...so I have come to rescue them..."

God always hears the cry.

SINAI the place of identity and purpose
Exodus 19:3-6 "If you obey Me fully...then...you will be My treasured possession."

God chose them to give a new identity for a purpose.

JERUSALEM the place of presence
1 Kings 9-11 "He has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness."

We have a choice between two reigns.

BABYLON the place of consequence and anticipation
2 Chronicles 36:15-20 "He carried into exile...the remnant, who escaped from the sword...they became slaves..."

Our choice has tangible consequences.

Psalm 137 "By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion."

Even if exile, there is still a reason to hope.
* I am extremely appreciative of the guides that I've had to better understand how Israel's past shaped a Jew's worldview and is necessary to understand to give us an accurate picture of Jesus as Messiah, what salvation is about, and the nature of the Kingdom of God. In particular, Rob Bell (who inspired this message) and N.T. Wright (who I've now been reading for about four months!) have been extrememly helpful in this regard.


L & J Olafsson said...

What great information. Instead of blowing past the names of places as if they were some extraneous detail, I now understand that they are mentioned to communicate a specific social / emotional/ spiritual context for the surrounding text. It's similar to when some refers to 9/11. For us it provides a social/emotional context for what the speaker is trying to communicate.

Erin said...

Horray for context! I love how the things I read in my own study always seem to coincide with the devotion I read online, and with the college study, and with the sermon, and so on and so on...God is sweet :) At our college study we are reading "Adventures in Missing the Point," by Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo, a GREAT tool for discussion. We just read about what Babylon and Jerusalem would have signified to people in Bible times, and what that means in the context of the book of Revelation. Add to this my new found knowledge about how engagements worked in Bible times-thanks Janet-and I feel like so many puzzle pieces that have been floating around in my brain for years of growing up in church suddenly fit together! I didn't know that when Jewish couples were engaged to be married, the man would leave the woman to go build a room on his father's house for them to live in. The only one who could tell the man when the room was ready was his father, so the only thing the bride could do was wait for her fiance to come back for her. This is what Jesus is talking about when he calls the church the bride, when He says he is going to make a place for us, when He says that even He doesn't know when He'll be back for us. What a beautiful, poetic representation!
Herein lies the importance of context. Without this knowledge of Jewish culture, this context, I was totally confused by this anology.