Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Old Testament Mission

Previously, I shared how a friend had encouraged me regarding the nations with a couple of passages. As we discussed God's glory being visible in the glory of the nations, he also pointed me to a passage I'd read many times, but highlighted a point I had previously overlooked.

Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.--Luke 24:45-49

Consider the details:

"The Scriptures" is clearly a reference to the entire Old Testament, as stated in the previous verse (Law of Moses, Prophets and the Psalms). Therefore, when Jesus states, "Thus it is written" He is preparing the disciples that all which He is about to state is not new, but has been stated before in the Old Testament.

The Christ will suffer. Jesus' atoning sacrifice is foreshadowed, prophesied and preached throughout the Old Testament. (Dan Phillips has a wonderful series of posts that "even" Proverbs teaches substitutionary around for the other posts.)

And rise again from the dead the third day. Somehow, we often forget that many details regarding the resurrection are given in the Old Testament. We often affirm "Christ died, for our sins, according to the Scriptures" but forget Paul also said, "and He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Repentance for forgiveness of sins. How sad that many in today's church have eliminated repentance from their gospel presentation because it is no longer palatable. As if Jesus the Savior can be separated from Jesus the Lord, they attempt to get people to call out for forgiveness of sin before they turn from it to Christ. Even in the Old Testament, the understanding was repentance and faith.

Would be proclaimed in His name to all nations. There is no transition in Jesus' words at this point. Jesus has not established His death, resurrection and appropriation only to switch at the lengths of the proclamation. No, Jesus is teaching the Apostles that proper exegesis of the Old Testament will lead to seeing not only Christ, but the call to proclaim Him to all nations! This was a fabulous truth that leapt out at me. We do not reach out to the nations to fulfill a New Testament calling alone, but in the unity of the Scripture, we actually fulfill the Old Testament mission as well.

The awareness of this truth can obviously effect ways we preach about mission and world evangelism. It will cause our church as a whole--and sheep individually--to desire a passion to reach the nations. It is certainly what the Lord has ignited in my friend...

but there is one other thought (for which I won't blame him), which these two verses brought to my attention...


Brad said...

Yes! yes! and--oh yeah-- yes!

Darby Livingston said...

Rock on. Great book concerning this topic - "The Mission of God" by Christopher Wright.