Monday, March 25, 2019. The center of the New Testament is the cross of Jesus. What is it about? It was in about the year 30 of our calender, when a Jew named Yeshua (Jesus) was crucified in Jerusalem. He had come into conflict with the authorities of his time, and was sentenced to death by the Roman authorities.
How many people have died from various causes? How many have been killed over time. What should be special with this particular death?
Text from 500 years before …
The special thing is that the death of Jesus has been connected to Jewish scriptures. People who have been with Jesus drew a clear line from what the prophet Isaiah has been writing about the coming servant of God. In Isaiah 53 it is written:
1 Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (from Isaiah 53)
The Old Testament texts, interpreted as Texts on Jesus, had a clear message. This death was not random. It was not an accident. It was not just something caused by the Roman authorities. Nor was it caused by the Jews. It was God himself who was at work in these events.
Resurrektion and Salvation …
The death of Jesus is said to be healing for mankind. The verses above mention that this death is bringing peace. It is even written in past tense: this death has brought us peace. As if this future event - from the perspective of a prophet writing about something to come - has already taken place. Past and future and presence seem to merge into one in the light of eternity!
The New Testament will continue this story. It will come with much more detail. And it will talk about the resurrection - about Jesus becoming alive. It will talk about the spirit of Jesus, coming to the church, to the believers. It will talk about life in his spirit.
This text we have here is talking about the suffering of the servant of God. It talks about his sorrows, his grief, about his pain and death. It also talks about him suffering for us. This transition is of particular importance. How can it be that someone suffers for us? In our modern juridiction guilt is always personal. We have to pay. Of course, if you pay money, someone else can pay it. But what about prison. I cannot go into prison for someone else. Here, we hear from a death which is suffered for others. In Jesus, something very important happens. Something far reaching is offered to mankind: a substitutional punishment and death. A restoration of a lost relationship. There is much more here to think about … (Roland Potthast) ... further texts