Tuesday, April 10, 2012

David Lamb on Jesus and the Old Testament

In his book God Behaving Badly Professor David T. Lamb says the following about Jesus and the Old Testament.

People who overdichotomize the two testaments seem to forget one important fact: the Bible of Jesus was the Old Testament. His value for the Old Testament can be seen in how frequently he referred to it. At the beginning of his ministry Jesus quoted Deuteronomy three times in the wilderness to Satan (Lk 4:4, 8, 12; Deut 6:13, 16; 8:3), and he quoted the Psalms as his final words on the cross (Mt 27:46; Ps 22:1). Throughout his entire ministry Jesus constantly mentioned the Old Testament law, the Prophets and the Psalms (for example, Lk 7:27; 10:26; 18:31; 19:46; 20:178; 22:37; 24:44). Jesus loved the Old Testament.

What is particularly relevant for this discussion, however, is that Jesus used the Old Testament to describe God. His description of God as a vineyard owner (Mt 21:33) came straight out of Isaiah 5:1-2. When Jesus told a scribe that the Lord our God is one (Mk 12:29), he quoted Deuteronomy 6:4. When the high priest asked him if he is the Christ, Jesus first stated, “I am,” an allusion to God’s Old Testament name, Yahweh (Ex 3:14), and then he combined two Old Testament texts into a prophecy that they will see him as the Son of Man seated at God’s right hand (Ps 110:1), coming in the clouds of heaven (Dan 7:13). Jesus frequently used Old Testament images to describe both himself and God as a bridegroom (Is 62:5; Mk 2:19), as a shepherd (Ezek 34; Jn 10:11) and as a king (Ps 47; Mt 18:23). Jesus not only knew the Old Testament, he also identified completely with its God. (Pages 20-21)
I think this is well written.

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