Old and New Testaments: One Great Story

Shrouded in mystery, the ways of God are stitched into stories, carried on the smoke of a burning sacrifice, and sung from the heart with both joy and tears. Through promises and prophecies, God hints at a plan that will reel in rebellion and undo death and loss — until the silence of four hundred years falls like a veil between heaven and earth.  Open to the page that falls between the Testaments and ponder long, for the Old prefigures the New, and the New reveals the Old in a way that could only be true if their message and their Object were one.

Nancy Guthrie traces the point and counterpoint between the Old and New Testaments with sixty devotional readings, each one demonstrating the Old Testament origin of a single concept and then following the dotted line of Truth directly to Christ.  In Seeing Jesus:  Seeking and Finding Him in the Scriptures, the reader lifts off in Genesis with its plural pronouns attached to a Creator God; touches down in John’s Gospel for the unmasking of the Living Word; and then arrives at the stunning conclusion (aided by the Apostle Paul) that Origin and Object are one, for everything that the Living Word spoke into being is shot through with the ultimate purpose of glorifying God. (1-4)

Filling All Things Everywhere

It should be no surprise, then, to find the psalmist’s certainty that God would fill the hungry is echoing anew in the Gospel writers’ assurance that God the Son would fill the wine casks and the fish nets, and then, again, in the Apostle’s confidence that He would “fill all things everywhere,”  and that, one day, Jesus will fill and complete His Body, the church, filling the entire universe with Himself. (153-156)

Each reading traces the actions of God  — at work to show Himself powerful through his protection of and provision for a tiny nation state — and then follows the narrative arc into a larger story that becomes massively redemptive and globally significant. Old Testament promises are fulfilled in Christ only to ricochet off the hard-packed streets of first-century Jerusalem and land in the Revelation with a majestic white horse ridden by a Messiah-King in an unshakable Kingdom where He is both Temple and Lamb.

Until we have seen Jesus in both the Old and the New Testaments . . . I wonder.

Have we really seen Him at all?

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This book was provided by Tyndale Momentum, an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers, in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

An Eternity of Days

With a sigh of relief, I glued the last tiny piece of the decoration into place:  a scattering of yellow felt hay secured to the silhouette of a brown felt manger.  I’m craft-challenged, no doubt, but the adorable grandboy is two, and he’s quite ready to start making memories of an Advent tree banner with 24 Christ-focused decorations.  It’s worth breaking out the craft glue again if it leads to another generation spending some time around the dining room table each day in December to celebrate one aspect of Jesus’ identity, one glorious facet of the miracle of incarnation.

Susan Shipe has opened the Gospel of John and winnowed out thirty-one unique profiles of Jesus that remind me of our family Advent tradition.  Of course, even thirty-one days are really not enough to  encompass the character of God the Son, but Susan has the heart of a true seeker who understands that theology is not a tool for explaining God, but rather a ladder, leaned up against the great truths of Scripture to give us a place to stand and wonder.

Susan’s re-telling of the Gospel accounts surrounding Jesus’ life and ministry slow down the narrative flow and lend a creative spark to familiar verses.  For instance, did you ever notice that the story of the woman who was accused of adultery and about to be executed occurs in the same chapter with these familiar verses:

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. . . Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
(John 8:32, 36)

Truth walked onto the scene and defended that condemned woman and declared her un-condemned.  Truth sent her away free.  Opening the pages of her own story, Susan shares that Jesus has walked into her life bringing with Him that same freedom.

Starting with Jesus as the Lamb of God, we learn that in order for us to be saved, Jesus had to be unsafe, offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the world. Thirty-one Days in the Gospel of John profiles Jesus’ perfect life, His crucifixion, and finally the fist-bumping, post-resurrection breakfast party in which the disciples see Jesus as their Master Chef who serves up breakfast by the sea.  Even better, they realize that He offers the bread of life which will sustain them for the ministry He has for each one of them.

capture

The challenge for 21st century readers of the Gospels is to see Jesus in the pages and then to know that He is not a two-dimensional Savior, trapped on the page or in the past.  He is alive and active in our day, and a commitment to read about him for 31 days is only the beginning.  God has given us an eternity of days to savor the beauty of Jesus, to turn the Truth over in our minds, and to let it sink deep into our prone-to-wander hearts.

Giveaway!capture

Susan Shipe has graciously provided a signed copy of 31 Days in the Gospel of John for one Living Our Days reader.  To be eligible for the drawing, share your favorite story from the life of Jesus in the comments below (or just say, “Hi!”). All those who comment on this blog post will be placed in a drawing for the book.  The giveaway will stay open until Thanksgiving Day and,  the name of the winner will be chosen by . . . you guessed it!  The adorable grand boy!

UPDATE!
Congratulations Ariel of His Grace Goes Deeper!  Your book will be in the mail soon.

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This book was provided by the author in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.