Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament_
_By Christopher Wright The role of Jesus in the New Testament can hardly be disputed. He is the foundation, the source, and the completion of salvation into the Church for all who would believe. A question that is often ignored, though, is how does Jesus relate to the Old Testament. Is there a relation between Jesus and the Old Testament? If so, then what factors are involved in that relationship? Is knowledge of the Old Testament essential for understanding Jesus, or can one get by without it? Christopher Wright attempts to answer these questions and to bring out the substance of the relationship between Jesus and the Old Testament in his book _Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament_. Summary
Wright's purpose in writing this book was to inform his readers, specifically non-scholars, of the importance of valuing the Old Testament when attempting to understand Jesus, and of valuing Jesus when attempting to understand the Old Testament (_x_). The author accomplishes this goal in the first chapter by drawing out the relationship between Jesus and the storyline of the Old Testament. He begins this section by sketching a cultural picture of Jesus as an authentic Jewish man who was the end of the royal genealogy found in Matt 1:1-17. As a member of this genealogy, Jesus was found to be of the royal line of David, which when combined with the promise to Abraham to bless the nations through his seed, shows the birth of Jesus to be not only of importance for the nation of Israel, but of universal significance as well. He was the end of the genealogy, but also the beginning of the kingdom of God. The author's purpose of valuing the Old Testament is then accomplished by investing examination into the Old Testament to understand better the basis for Jesus' claim to the role of Messiah, as well as valuing Jesus when interpreting the Old Testament. This latter value does not mean that a pre-Christ interpretation of the text is discarded in favor of a Christ-overshadowed interpretation; rather, the life and work of Christ add gradations to the original interpretation that could not have been understood until His coming (28). Wright then moves from the basis of valuing Jesus in the Old Testament to the need for a proper lens with which to appreciate His value. The author accomplishes this task by focusing on the importance of the uniqueness of the story of Israel for the salvation of the world. Only through this particular lens could one rightly understand the universal aspect of salvation in Christ. This aspect of Jesus' universal ministry is brought out even more in Wright's second chapter when discussing the relationship between Jesus and the promise. God's initial promise to Abraham was that, "In you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen 12:3). The whole of the story of Israel from that point is specific in its relation to the nation, but it is also general in that it speaks of the plan of God in bringing about the blessing of the world. This promise is given in the form of covenants at different times and situations in the Old Testament. Wright divides the covenants into three sections of elucidation: scope, substance, and response. He concludes that the point of all of these covenants is to show God's desire to bless, and He accomplishes this desire in Jesus (101). Wright's third chapter discusses the Old Testament identity of Jesus in light of God's pronouncement at His baptism, "This is my Son, whom I love, the one in whom I delight" (Matt 3:17). Wright also explores the purpose of typology in the Old Testament and its validity in seeking an Old Testament understanding of Jesus' identity. This discussion feeds back into the former discussion of Jesus as Son in that many places in the Old Testament refer to Israel as a nation as Son. Wright attempts to show that the nation was a type of the individual, thus allowing some meaning of the former's relationship to...
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