What God promised for his people is often frustrated by our unfaithfulness. The good news is that all the promises are fulfilled in Christ.
Open Zechariah 12.
We’re looking at how Jesus fulfils the hope of the Old Testament prophets. The Gospel writers say this is how Jesus understood himself and his role, but it’s often not a straight line from prophecy to fulfilment. Israel’s history wasn’t a straight line. They took many detours to reach what God intended them to be: his kingdom.
So, to make sense of how Jesus fulfils the prophets, we need to follow their journey. Without taking those steps, it may feel like the Gospel writers were cherry-picking texts to suit themselves.
Take the classic text from Zechariah 9 about the humble king riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. Matthew says, This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet. Zechariah was talking about a son of David being recognized as king as he entered the capital to end the conflict and restore God’s reign over them (9:9-10). In all the generations between Zechariah and Jesus, this had never happened. Some exiles had returned to rebuild Jerusalem, but they were still ruled by the nations. How would God restore his reign over them?
Continue reading “What God decrees for his people (Zechariah 12:1-9)”
Read Ephesians 4:1-16
It’s easy to spend thousands on books and courses to help you become a better human. We’re preoccupied with how I can reach my potential and have the best life I can.
There’s a fatal flaw in that approach. What if my boss is a tyrant, or my spouse is a control freak? I can learn to disassociate, to isolate myself for my own sanity, but human flourishing is something we can only do together. Who can show us how to develop a better life together?
Let me recommend a book. It’s called Ephesians. It’s the good news that God is working to restore not just me but all of us together to become all he intended. Continue reading “Becoming human: life in Christ (Ephesians 4:1-16)”
What we are in Christ — it’s more than we think.
Many people love Ephesians for the way it explains who we are in Christ. That phrase (or in him) turns up 20 times in the first three chapters.
But if the phrase has you thinking about your personal identity, you’ve barely scratched the surface. Ephesians makes a gigantic claim: God is restoring the broken fragments of humanity, bringing us all together into communal life under King Jesus.
Imagine a world released from its dead existence under evil, raised to life in God’s anointed, participating in his resurrected life as he restores us all into community under his kingship.
Continue reading “In Christ: humanity restored (Ephesians 2:1–10)”
How does Jesus’ resurrection make a difference for humanity?
Open Ephesians 2:5-6.
The resurrection is the moment in history when everything changed, for everyone.
Jesus was not the first to be put to death unjustly. That kind of thing happens every day. One of Judah’s kings is said to have filled Jerusalem with innocent blood (2 Kings 21:16).
What was unique in Jesus’ case was what happened three days later. When they went to wrap his dead body with spices, it wasn’t there. God had intervened. Earthly courts had authorized his execution, but a higher court exonerated him and restored him. Continue reading “What difference does the resurrection make?”