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Jesus in the New Testament

These are a few scattered thoughts prompted by my recent mini-series on parables.

We all know Jesus' rebuke regarding Old Testament understanding - John 5:39ff.  Yet I'm sure a rebuke remains for our appreciation of the New:

You diligently study the New Testament thinking that now you're breathing the free air of apostolic Christianity and therefore, definitionally, have life.  But the point of these Scriptures (as with all Scripture) is witness to me.  Yet you neglect to come to Me for life.

New Testament does not mean 'gospel'.  It doesn't mean 'gospel' any more than Old Testament means 'gospel'.  Rather, both are witnesses to Christ.

You see it's not the New Testament that fulfils the Old

 No.  It is not the NT that fulfils the Old. It's Jesus.  There's a difference.  It's He that stands above both Scriptures.

There's nothing inherent in the Greek Scriptures that the Hebrew Scriptures lack.  The point of both - Christ Himself - stands ever above both Old and New Testament.  Life does not exist in the Old Testament.  But life does not exist in the New Testament either.

This is one of the problems with the saying: 'The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed.'  It easily lends itself to the thought that the New Testament itself is the fulfilment of the Old.  But no, Christ is the fulfilment of the Old.  And He's the fulfilment of the New.  The Old is in need of fulfilment in Christ yes.  But so is the New.  To understand Old or New demands that we read them as witness to Jesus.

We've been taught to pick a Christ-less Old Testament sermon from a mile off.  Yet we put up with Christ-less New Testament study much more readily.  How can that be unless we secretly believe life really does exist in the Scriptures - we just happen to prefer the Greek ones?


0 thoughts on “Jesus in the New Testament

  1. Missy

    Glen, I found these "scattered thoughts" a great lesson. Lately, several people have mentioned being careful about looking to scripture for life rather than Christ. I have to admit I was confounded by this. I think you've explained it very well. Thanks.

  2. glenscriv

    Hi Missy,
    I think John 5:39-40 is just so key. You can diligently study the bible and miss the point - it testifies to Jesus and in *Him* we have life. The bible is a pointer and if we don't follow it to Jesus we're like the traveller obsessing over the map and never getting to the destination.

  3. Otepoti

    "The New is in the Old contained,
    The Old is in the New explained" is how I learned it. Does that wording ameliorate the apparent bibliolatry? Maybe a little.

    I see your point here, but I fear that it could be real temptation for our hasty and biblically illiterate (if that word isn't too harsh) generation to believe it can have a real knowledge of Jesus without bothering about a real knowledge of God-breathed scripture. We see the exceptional cases, such as the thief on the cross and the Ethiopian eunuch, and treat them as normative for us. Muentzer ended up arguing for Christ without scripture and it got him in a heap of trouble.

    Trying to be Berean...

  4. glenscriv

    You're right that there is no Christ for us to encounter apart from His Spirit-breathed word. It is the Christ of the Scriptures we must meet - all other christs are figments. So it's holding Jesus and the Bible together - Jesus without the Bible is an imaginary christ, the Bible without Jesus is a dead letter.

    But that's the interplay we should focus on - Christ and Bible - rather than "Old and New" - "Old and New" makes me think that the Scriptures point to themselves. "Christ and Bible" reminds me that Scripture has its true life-giving nature in pointing beyond itself to Him.

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