3 June 2019
A third question was raised about the Old Testament. ‘What is the relevance of the Old Testament in today’s church/world?’ I imagine this was asked in the light of the controversial brutality, indiscriminate slaughter, sacrifice and prejudice which appears in its pages.
The three great religions of the world respect the Old Testament. It is the Bible of the Jews. It was the Bible of Jesus. It is a record of the history, literature, spirituality of the Hebrew people and as such is a valuable resource.
It has given birth to the New Testament. The work of God failed in the Old and for some it looks as if it failed in the New. The two are intimately related. The face of God grows ever more compassionate and understandable in the New Testament.
The prophetic writings illuminate the shape of things to come in the Messiah who is counter-culturally a Suffering Servant and Jesus reinterprets the Law without diminishing it but radically transforming it.
Thankfully, we may view the Old Testament through the eyes of Jesus as well as celebrating it as a collection of ancient writings reflecting the realities of dysfunctional families and tyrannical leaders as well as the deep and lasting spiritual insights of poets, prophets and kings.