Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bible Marathon - New Light on the NT

I finished reading the Old Testament and began with the gospels this week, and have a heightened awareness of the ways the two connect, especially with all the quotations from the prophets, the psalms, the law. I also read Philip Yancey's book of reflections on the Old Testament, The Bible Jesus Read. It's excellent. I loved his chapter on Deuteronomy, the most gracefully written of the five books of Moses. He was at the end of his life, recapping for the younger generation - as the only old man in their midst - what God had revealed.

It's bittersweet. Moses, the man of God raised up after a 400-year silence, he who led them out of Egypt and who talked with God as a man talks to his friend, he will not be allowed to enter the Promised Land. Until - well, consider this scene from the New Testament:
"Jesus knew Deuteronomy well: during his own wilderness sojourn, he quoted from it three times to counter Satan's temptations. Later, at a hinge moment in his ministry, Jesus climbed a high mountain to meet with God the Father. As when Moses met with God on the sacred mountain, Jesus' appearance changed too. 'There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun; ... his clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.'

"Peter and John shrank back, dazed by the scene. A voice rumbled from heaven and suddenly, there on the mountaintop before them, stood two giants of Israelite history. At once they recognized Elijah, the fierce, wonder-working prophet whose return every Jew anticipated. Just to the side - it could be no one else - stood Moses, engaged in casual conversation with Jesus.

"...The scene of Jesus' transfiguration contains a fact often overlooked by Christians, but poignant for any Jew. At that moment of tender mercy, Moses finally realized his life dream. He stood on a mountaintop smack in the middle of the Promised Land."

(Philip Yancey, The Bible Jesus Read, pp. 104-105)

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