Saturday, December 15, 2018

Preparing for the Invasion - #22 - Jesus Reinterpreted the Jewish Festivals in Terms of Himself

Teacher and students, in Jerusalem

(C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, referred to Christmas as "The Great Invasion.")

The following story is not true.

On July 4, 2018, as America was celebrating Independence Day, John Piippo drove into Washington, D.C. in a rusty, beat-up car. A million people had gathered in the National Mall. A breathtaking display of fireworks was coming to a close as the military band led the people in the singing of the National Anthem. 

Piippo walked through the crowd and made his way to the top of the Lincoln Memorial. As the singing ended he grabbed the microphone and cried out, "You who have ears to hear, listen! I am the way to freedom! All who want Independence, follow me!" 

From that day on our government leaders made plans to put Piippo to death.

False. How absurd to view oneself as the fulfillment of over 200 years celebrating America's greatest holiday!

But... consider Jesus. "The Festival of Dedication then took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in Solomon's portico." 
-John 10:22-23

Uh-oh. It was Hanukkah. What is Jesus doing? Two things. He is attending the Festival as an observant Jew. And, he will interpret the Festival, indeed every Jewish Festival, in terms of himself. Craig Keener writes:

John's "Gospel connects Jesus' mission with features of each of the festivals: Jesus is portrayed, for example, as a (probably) Passover lamb. Likewise, he appears as the foundation stone from which living water would flow, a hope specifically celebrated at the festival of Tabernacles. John's Hanukkah passage might also make a similar point. Some scholars suggest that this passage depicts Jesus as consecrated or dedicated to God the way this festival celebrated the altar's rededication (cf. 10:36; elsewhere this Gospel connects Jesus with the temple)." (Keener, 
Jesus and Hanukkah: John 10:22-23)

Jesus takes Israel's "Fourth of July" and sees himself as its real meaning, as that which it has always been pointing to. N. T. Wright writes: “Understand the Exodus, and you understand a good deal about Judaism. And about Jesus. Jesus chose Passover, the great national festival celebrating the Exodus, to make his crucial move.” (Simply Jesus, 33) 

As the cries of Passover lambs are heard in Jerusalem, Jesus hangs on a cross atoning for the sins of humanity. Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! And before that, recall how Jesus ate that last Passover meal with his disciples, and radically reinterpreted the wine and the bread in terms of his own life and death.

Jesus is the "new Moses" who is leading his people in a "new Exodus" to freedom. 


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