Saturday, October 31, 2015

Zechariah 13 – Jesus In the Old Testament

7 “Awake, sword, against my shepherd,
    against the man who is close to me!”
    declares the Lord Almighty.
“Strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep will be scattered,
    and I will turn my hand against the little ones.
In the whole land,” declares the Lord,
    “two-thirds will be struck down and perish;
    yet one-third will be left in it.
This third I will put into the fire;
    I will refine them like silver
    and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
    and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
    and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”
NEW TESTAMENT buffs are to be forgiven for being totally perplexed by the Twelve — the Old Testament prophets. Reading them through our typically Western eyes, through our cultural lenses for technology, of materialism and education, and for an individualistic dialect of comfort, we are quickly puzzled by scriptural riddles. But many New Testament concepts appear lurking just underneath the prophets. The prophets reveal the same principles that the New Testament does. The Old Testament illuminates the New Testament, but only if we’re curious enough to find out.
What I like about a site like Bible Gateway is it’s a one-stop-shop in terms of biblical translations and paraphrases, and, when it comes to doing our own exegesis, we can contrast the many versions of the Word with ease. Before we make life easier for ourselves in our use of commentaries.
In the abovementioned Word — from penultimate Zechariah — we see the oracle about the Shepherd who is struck and their sheep that are scattered. From this text we can tell that it was God’s intent to scourge his Son. Jesus would need to be slain in order for the New Covenant to be realised. The Son Incarnate was learned in the Old Testament (it was his Bible; the Bible he and everyone used in his day), duly obedient in doing God’s will to reveal in his being what the prophets said about him, and was also directly implicated in what the prophets said about him beyond his own control. Jesus was Israel’s Messiah. He would need to die. And the sheep would need to necessarily be scattered. But they, themselves, are not scattered for no reason. The third that Isaiah talks about is a remnant; a portion of the people of God who, though they will be refined, will be made good for the journey; those who survive and who carry forth the glory seed until the day of Jesus. They will be the faithful people. And to God will they look, as God will view them with unconditional kindness. They are his people and they will ever proclaim the Lord is their God. And they will trust and obey. They’ll be those who embody the Holy Spirit and seek God will all their heart.
On that day, the day of Jesus’ slaying on the cross, the faithful will call on God’s name and they’ll be saved.
The faithfulness of the New Testament is that Jesus is found in the Old.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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