Hosea Say What?

Dec 04, 2014 | Kevin DeYoung

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Matthew 2:13-15)

That last verse has caused plenty of consternation over the years.  The Holy Family goes to Egypt, and this somehow fulfills Hosea’s reference to Israel’s exodus? It looks like Matthew is connecting the prophetic dots by the slimmest of connections.

Here’s what we read in Hosea 11:1-4:

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them.

Clearly, Hosea (speaking for the Lord) is harkening back to the Exodus. He is remembering when Israel was just a little toddler of a nation, and God delivered them out of bondage in Egypt. “Many years ago, by Moses and the plagues and all that, I called my son Israel out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery”–that’s what Hosea 11 is about.

But look again at Matthew. “Out of Egypt I called my son” here refers to God hiding Jesus away in Egypt to avoid Herod’s decree and then calling him back from Egypt when Herod is dead. This seems to be unrelated to anything Hosea was talking about. How can Matthew say this flight to Egypt fulfilled the words of the prophet Hosea when the two events seem connected by no more than the word Egypt? How can this possibly be a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy? Hosea say what?

Those who suggest Matthew is playing free association with Biblical prophecy–“Jesus came out of Egypt; here’s something in the prophets about coming out of Egypt; let’s put these two things together”–haven’t looked closely at how Matthew uses the Old Testament in his Gospel. More than any gospel writer, Matthew goes to great lengths to show that Jesus’ birth, life, and death, are rooted firmly in the Old Testament. Jesus was born of a virgin (fulfilling Isaiah 7:14). He was born in Bethlehem (fulfilling Micah 5:1-2). He was sought out to be killed by Herod (fulfilling Jeremiah 31:15). He was preceded by John preparing the way (fulfilling Isaiah 40:3). He healed diseases (fulfilling Isaiah 53:4). He spoke through parables (fulfilling Psalm 78:2). He came to Jerusalem riding on a donkey (fulfilling Zechariah 9:9). Matthew is very deliberate with his use of the Old Testament. So his citing of Hosea 11 must be more than just a loosey-goosey connection with the word Egypt.

Jesus as the True Israel

The first step toward understanding Matthew’s purpose is to look more carefully at the word “fulfill.” It’s the Greek word plēroō, and it is a very important word in Matthew, occurring 15 times in the book (1:22; 2:15, 17, 23; 3:15; 4:14; 5:17; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35; 13:48; 21:4; 23:32; 26:54; 26:56). Most basically, it means to fill up. Sometimes this means very specifically that the Old Testament predicted the Messiah’s birthplace would be in Bethlehem and Jesus was, in fact, born in Bethlehem. There you go. That’s fulfillment. But fulfillment can be broader than that. It can also mean that Jesus brings the Scriptures to their intended goal, that the incomplete revelation to and through Israel has been brought to completion.

Take Mark 1:14-15, for example. “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.'” When Jesus said “the time is fulfilled,” he did not mean “right now a specific prediction of Scripture is coming to pass.” He meant, “with my preaching of the gospel, the time has been filled up and the kingdom is here. The Old Testament is reaching its climax.” Likewise, I don’t believe Matthew thought Jesus’ flight to Egypt was predicted in Hosea 11:1. But I do believe that Matthew thought Jesus’ flight to and return from Egypt was filling up Hosea 11:1.

So what exactly is Jesus fulfilling, or filling up in Matthew 2:15? Jesus, as Matthew correctly understands the situation, is filling up the redemptive historical purposes of the nation. In other words, Matthew can claim that this Hosea passage, which talks about the Exodus of Israel out of Egypt, is fulfilled in Jesus, because Jesus is the embodiment of Israel.

Matthew looked back and saw an analogical correspondence between the history of the nation Israel and the history of the Messiah…the Hosea 11:1 quotation by Matthew is not an example of arbitrary exegesis on the part of a New Testament writer. On the contrary Matthew looked back and carefully drew analogies between the events of the nation’s history and the historical incidents in the life of Jesus (Tracy L. Howard, “The Use of Hosea 11:1 in Matthew 2:15,” Biliotheca Sacra 143:325).

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus is cast as the true and faithful Israel. Matthew is retelling Israel’s well known story, but he’s putting Jesus right in the middle as the main character in the story. Jesus is the new Israel.

  • Chapter one starts with the genealogy of Jesus. The very first words, in Greek, are “biblos geneseos Iesou Christou“–a book of the beginning of Jesus Christ. Now why is that significant? Well, because that word geneseos is a form of the word genesis, as in the first book the Bible. I don’t think Matthew is trying to be tricky here, but surely he knew the first book of the Bible and realized that when he begins his gospel with “a book of the genesis of Jesus” he is, at least, strongly suggesting that this story of Jesus Christ marks a new beginning for the people of God. The story is starting over. This suggestion is supported by another parallel with the first book of the Bible. Genesis is broken up into ten toledoth sections. Ten times in the book of Genesis, we read “these are the generations (toledoth) of…” Interestingly enough, these toledoth sections are, in a couple of places, translated into the Greek Septuagint with biblos geneseos (Gen. 2:4; 5:1), which further points in the direction that Matthew understood Jesus to be a new generation, a new genealogy, a new beginning for the nation of Israel.
  • Not only is Jesus the new Genesis, his life embodies the new Exodus. Shortly after Jesus’ birth, he was rushed away to safety to avoid the wrath of a jealous king who had ordered all the young boys to be killed. Where else does this happen in the Bible? Exodus 1. Pharaoh fears the Hebrews and so he orders that every baby boy be thrown into the Nile. But Moses was spared because his mother hid him in a basket in the river. Likewise, Jesus was spared Herod’s decree because his mother hid him in Egypt.
  • Following right on the heels of Jesus’ exodus out of Egypt, we come to his baptism in the Jordan in Matthew 3. Again, I don’t think Matthew is trying to speak in secret code, and he certainly isn’t making the stories up, but he has arranged the material in such a way as to retell Israel’s story, with Jesus now as the true Israel. So just like the Israelites left Egypt and then passed through the Red Sea (baptized into the sea according 1 Cor. 10:2), Jesus too leaves Egypt and passes through the waters in his baptism.
  • Just to point out one more parallel, think what happens to the Israelites after they pass through the Red Sea. They wind up in the desert where they wander for forty years. And where is Jesus in Matthew 4 after his baptism? He is in the desert about to be tempted after having fasted for forty days and forty nights.

Matthew clearly wants to portray Jesus as fulfilling Israel’s history and bringing it to a climax. Matthew didn’t think Hosea 11:1 was a direct prophecy about Jesus and his family going to Egypt. And Hosea didn’t mean it as such. The passage is about Israel’s Exodus out of Egypt and about her subsequent idolatries and adulteries. Matthew understood that. He wasn’t trying to give Hosea 11 a fanciful new meaning. But he did see something Messianic in Hosea’s words. Jesus would be the faithful Son called out of Egypt, filling up what was lacking in the first faithless son, Israel. From his genesis to his exodus to his baptism in the Jordan to his forty days in the wilderness, Jesus was identifying himself with the covenant people. He was the embodiment of Israel.

With Him He Was Well Pleased

And so when Jesus fled Herod and went to Egypt, it brought to a climax the work of deliverance that began in the Exodus of Israel and was now coming to completion in the Exodus of Jesus. That’s why Matthew can say “this was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet.” But whereas the first Israel, God’s son, broke the covenant and deserved God’s wrath, when God beholds his only begotten Son Jesus Christ, he says in Matthew 3:17, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Far from being a barely connected prophetic fulfillment, this word from Hosea 11 filled up in Matthew 2, is a robust piece of New Testament theology. This text says something weighty about the person of Jesus Christ: he is the one who came to complete all that Israel was designed to perform. All the adulteries and idolatries and rebellion and waywardness that characterized Israel would be recast in the true Israel Jesus Christ. God sent his Son to do himself what his people could not do for themselves. This is the meaning of fulfillment of Hosea 11 and the true meaning of Immanuel, God with us.

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Five Points for Parents Who Want to Pass On the Faith

Dec 02, 2014 | Kevin DeYoung

How is religion passed down across generations? That’s the theme of the new book Families and Faith by Vern L. Bengtson (with Norella M. Putney and Susan Harris). As an exercise in statistical and sociological research, there is nothing particularly biblical or spiritual about the book (though, interestingly, the author describes how at the end of the project he started going to church again and now is an active part of a local congregation). And yet, this doesn’t mean there is nothing to learn from books like this.

In the concluding chapter Bengtson suggests five things families should know, do, or remember if they want to pass on their faith to the next generation (195-98).

1. “Parents have more religious influence than they think.” One of the main themes in the book is that parental influence with respect to religion is not actually waning, despite the alarmist cries from watchdogs and worry-worts. The single most important factor in the spiritual and religious lives of adolescents continues to be their parents.

2. “Fervent faith cannot compensate for a distant dad.” It’s important for children to see religious role modeling in their parents. But personal piety is no substitute for the quality of the parent-child relationship. Parents who are warm and loving are more likely to pass on the faith than those that are distant and authoritarian. This is especially true when it comes to fathers. A relationally and spiritually distant dad is very difficult to overcome, despite the religious zeal of the mother.

3. “Allowing children religious choice can encourage religious continuity.” On the one hand, Bengtson argues that tight-knit religious communities with clear doctrinal and ethical boundary markers are more likely to pass on the faith from one generation to the next. On the other hand, families must allow for some flexibility. Children must not be afraid to explore the whats and whys of their parent’s faith, even if that exploration feels uncomfortable to mom and dad for a time.

4. “Don’t forget the grandparents.” This was the most eye opening theme in the book. In white middle class America, when we talk about the family we mean the nuclear family of mom and dad and their kids. Bengtson’s research shows the important role grandparents play in either subverting the faith of the parents or reinforcing it in their grandchildren. It makes sense: if our children are around grandparents (not to mention aunts and uncles and cousins) who all believe, faith will feel much more of a natural given.

5. “Don’t give up on Prodigals, because many do return.” In Bengtson’s sample, the prodigals who came home were the ones who knew they had parents waiting for them, ready to accept them if and when they returned to their roots. Don’t give up parents. Keep praying and keep on loving.

Overall, Bengtson argues that families are doing pretty well in passing along their faith to the next generation. Intact families do better than families with divorce, and religious homogenous parents are more successful than parents in interfaith marriages. Warm, affectionate parents–the kind kids admire and look up t0–do better than cold, distant parents. And these parents do better with the support of grandparents. But even when these ideals are missing, family mechanisms can compensate: “families are wonderfully resilient” (198).

The even better news is that our God is wonderfully gracious, faithful, and able to do more than we ask or imagine.

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Monday Morning Humor

Dec 01, 2014 | Kevin DeYoung

It’s been around the block a few times, but still a lot of fun.

And why not one more, just for some great falsetto.

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Gratitude to God’s Glory

Nov 27, 2014 | Kevin DeYoung

For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:15)

The Heidelberg Catechism is famous for its threefold outline of Christian theology: guilt, grace, and gratitude. We are guilty sinners before God. God saves us from guilt by his grace. We respond to this grace with heartfelt gratitude. You could add a fourth strand-glory. When we respond to grace with gratitude, God gets glory.

Psalm 50:23 says, “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me.”  We often think of thanksgiving as a family holiday, or something we give perfunctorily before meals, or something our mother commanded of us when we were in a rotten mood. But being thankful goes deeper, or, I should say, it goes higher. Gratitude makes much of God because it shows (1) that God is the author of all that is good and (2) that we love the Giver more than the gifts.

Paul explained that he ministered for the sake of the Corinthians so that more people might receive grace, so that more people might be thankful, so that more glory might go to God. What marvelous, gospel-proclaiming, God-glorifying logic! When we minister faithfully, God gets glory every step of the way.

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Our Father in Heaven

Nov 26, 2014 | Kevin DeYoung

To call God Father is the privilege of those who know Jesus Christ as their brother. The universal fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man may have been hallmarks of 2oth century liberal theology, but they are not exactly biblical categories. We are not born into God’s family as some natural right. We must be reborn into his spiritual family. Only by adoption do we have the right to call upon God as our Father.

We see hints of this in the Old Testament—about fifteen times God is called Father in this relational sense. But what is hinted at in the Old Testament becomes abundantly clear in the New Testament: God is revealed as our Father almost 250 times.

The fatherhood of God can be challenging to some—there are bad fathers, abusive fathers, absent fathers, unkind and unknown fathers. The word father does not always conjure up good thoughts. But here again we must let Scripture reinterpret our experience rather than reinterpreting Scripture through our experience. God wants to be known as a Father. He wants to remind us that we are his precious children, that he loves to hear from us, that he knows what is best for us, that he alone can do all things.

Think about it: The Father who loves us is the King who reigns over everything. God is your Father, and your Father is God. The one who knows you best and loves you most can also do and see and know all things. We ought to have all this in mind–and plant it deep into our hearts–every time we pray.

The distinguishing characteristic of Christian prayer is not so how we pray, or how much we pray, but to whom we pray. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

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A Prayer for Ferguson

Nov 25, 2014 | Kevin DeYoung

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

In the mess of Ferguson, make your name known. In the division and disappointment, make your name sweet. In the rage and reaction, make your name a balm. Be glorified through the winsome witness of the church in St. Louis. Be glorified through the saints–of every race and ethnicity–as we try to walk together and talk together in a more excellent way. Be glorified, O Father, as the Spirit reveals Jesus Christ and opens your word to the hurting and to the hurtful.

Your kingdom come.

Shine the light of truth wherever there is the darkness of injustice, ignorance, or misunderstanding. May your reign and rule be evident in our lips as we speak, in our heads as we think, and in our hearts as we feel. Cause truth to triumph over falsehood, gospel unity over devilish division, and affection over apathy. Grant us courage and humility, diligence and rest. May the Sun of Righteousness rise with healing in his wings.

Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Help us turn from the things of this world, the things that are passing away–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–and turn to your will so that we might abide forever. May we do your bidding here on earth just as the angels serve as your ministering spirits in heaven. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–may these things be cherished and sought after in every black community and in every white community (and every shade of community in between), in the suburb, in the city, and in the country, in any neighborhood overrun by crime and in any police department overrun by prejudice. Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Give comfort to the grieving. Give safety to the innocent. Give hope to the hopeless. Give us judges and prosecutors and juries that are fair. Give us good laws, wise procedures, and politicians better than we deserve. Be a rock and a refuge to those who are scared or suffering. Help the weak to find their strength in you. Help the strong to see their need. Help sinners find the only Savior.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

As your people, may we never forget all we have been forgiven. No crime against us is worse than the crimes we have committed against you. Make us slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Forgive us when we fight with the weapons of the world. Forgive us for not weeping with those who weep. Forgive us for judging others with a measure we do not use to judge ourselves. Forgive us for speaking when we should be silent and being silent when we should speak. Forgive us for being hard-hearted and dim-witted. Forgive us for loving our comfort more than our neighbor. Forgive us for being too often indifferent to injustice in our world and unrighteousness in our lives.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Help, O Lord. We are tempted to despair, tempted to cynicism, tempted to bitterness, tempted to give up, tempted to assume the worst about our brothers and sisters, tempted to let commentators and cable news networks tell us what is real. We are sorry for the times we have been unthinking, unfeeling, and unsympathetic. We are sorry for the times we have rushed to judgment. We are sorry for self-righteous grandstanding and self-serving stereotypes. Deliver us from the evils of lawlessness and lovelessness.

For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.

You are strong; we are weak. You are eternal; we are infinitesimal. You lack for nothing; we need everything. You see all, know all, and can do all. We see in part, know in part, and can barely do our part. Be wisdom in our confusion, victory in our struggle, and peace in our fear. We gather at the cross and lay our burdens down. No matter the pain, no matter the sadness, no matter the fog of friendship or the fog of war, every day when morning gilds the sky may Jesus Christ be praised. In whose name we pray, Amen.

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University Reformed Church Votes (Again) to Leave the RCA and Join the PCA

Nov 24, 2014 | Kevin DeYoung

At a special congregational meeting last night University Reformed Church voted 366-18 (95.3%) in favor of leaving the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and affiliating with the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

Of the 384 votes, 335 (320-15) were cast at the meeting and 49 (46-3) by absentee ballot.

The 384 votes represent 91% of our communicant membership. University Reformed Church currently has 422 members and a Sunday morning attendance of around 650.

It may seem like you’ve heard this news before, so let me try to explain the process.

  • Our congregation also voted in April to leave the RCA. This was only an advisory vote and not required by the Book of Church Order (BCO). In our polity, the consistory is the body that files the petition for withdrawal. The meeting we had in April was the consistory’s attempt to discern the mind of the congregation before making our final decision. We filed our petition with the Classis of South Grand Rapids in May.
  • After the classis received our petition they established a four person committee to investigate the reasons for withdrawal. As a part of their investigative work, the committee, as per the BCO, met separately with each of the installed pastors and then with the consistory (without the pastors present).
  • The classis committee called a special congregational meeting for last night. I was given 10 minutes to present our reasons for withdrawal. The committee then spoke for 10 minutes against the motion to withdraw. Following the two brief presentations, the congregation was given about 30 minutes to ask questions of either side. We then voted by secret ballot. The results of our vote in April do not matter to the classis. Last night’s vote is the one that counts.

What happens now?

In the next month, the classis committee will meet with representatives of the PCA to ascertain whether we would be received into our new denominational home with open arms. The committee will then write a report, with recommendations, that will go before the whole classis. This report is due in January. The classis will vote on the committee’s recommendations in March.

If our church is given permission to withdraw from the RCA we can officially join the PCA once (1) any classis stipulated obligations are met and (2) the elders and pastors are examined and received into membership by the Presbytery of the Great Lakes.

Please continue to pray for a fair process and an outcome that will best serve the interest of Christ’s kingdom.

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Monday Morning Humor

Nov 24, 2014 | Kevin DeYoung

Make sure closed captioning is on. You may need to click on the YouTube clip itself and turn it on.

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Compassion Without Compromise

Nov 21, 2014 | Kevin DeYoung

Recently I had the privilege of writing the foreword to a new book authored by my friends Adam Barr and Ron Citlau. The book is entitled Compassion Without Compromise: How the Gospel Frees Us to Love Our Gay Friends Without Losing the Truth (Bethany House, 2014). It’s a very good book. You should think about getting a copy. My foreword is below.


Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear something about homosexuality. It’s all over the news and all over social media. It’s the subject of countless conversations, arguments, diatribes, rants, punditry, and commentary. You can’t help but wonder: Is there really anything left to say?

Actually, there is a lot that still needs to be said. This issue is not about to fade into the background, and many of the hardest personal and pastoral questions are just beginning to surface. That’s why I am delighted with this new book.

Adam and Ron are excellent pastors, good thinkers, and great friends. I’ve known Adam since we went to college together and I sat there jealously as he, with his long, flowing locks, played guitar and crooned in the worship team, much to the admiration of many young women. Since then we’ve become close friends, colleagues in ministry, and, in many  ways, brothers in arms.

My friendship with Ron is not as long, but just as rich. I will never forget Ron’s stirring, courageous testimony at our denomination’s General Synod back in 2012. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the gospel more poignantly and powerfully presented at such a gathering. I’m grateful for Ron’s winsome, yet bold, approach to this difficult topic of sexuality. I have learned much from him.

As much as I appreciate Adam and Ron personally, that’s not the reason to read this book. A much better reason is that they have teamed up to write an engaging, accessible, sensitive, uncompromising, wise, and biblical book about the most controversial issue of our day. There are other books on homosexuality–and many of them should be read alongside this one. But what makes this volume unique is the personal touch–especially Ron’s story of having had gay feelings for most of his life–and the pastoral approach to the difficult questions none of us can avoid:

  • Should I attend my friend’s gay “wedding”?
  • Should we invite our homosexual son’s partner to our home for the holidays?
  • How should I respond if my young child thinks he’s gay?

There are dozens of questions like this in the book, each one answered with biblical insights and with good sense. I can’t imagine any Christian not being helped by this book. Adam and Ron are clear about the Bible’s prohibition of homosexual activity. They are informed on the latest scholarship. They are discerning when it comes to real-life application. And they are, above all, hopeful. Hopeful in the power of the gospel to save, to forgive, to restore, and to transform. If you are looking for a resource that will help you think about the issue of homosexuality with unflinching truth and with sincere grace, this is a great place to start.

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Who Do You Say That I Am?

Nov 20, 2014 | Kevin DeYoung

The greatness of God is most clearly displayed in his Son. And the glory of the gospel is only made evident in his Son. That’s why Jesus’ question to his disciples is so important: “Who do you say that I am?”

The question is doubly crucial in our day because not every Jesus is the real Jesus. Almost no one is as popular in this country as Jesus. Hardly anyone would dare to say a bad word about him. Just look at what a super-fly friendly dude he is over there. But how many people know the real Jesus?

There’s Republican Jesus who is against tax increases and activists judges, and for family values and owning firearms.

There’s Democrat Jesus who is against Wall Street and Walmart, and for reducing our carbon footprint and spending other people’s money.

There’s Therapist Jesus who helps us cope with life’s problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves.

There’s Starbucks Jesus who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid and goes to film festivals.

There’s Open-minded Jesus who loves everyone all the time no matter what, except for people who are not as open-minded as you.

There’s Touchdown Jesus who helps athletes run faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.

There’s Martyr Jesus, a good man who died a cruel death so we can feel sorry for him.

There’s Gentle Jesus who was meek and mild, with high cheek bones, flowing hair, and walks around barefoot, wearing a sash and looks German.

There’s Hippie Jesus who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagine a world without religion, and helps us remember all you need is love.

There’s Yuppie Jesus who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.

There’s Spirituality Jesus who hates religion, churches, pastors, priests, and doctrine; he wants us to find the god within and listening to ambiguously spiritual musical.

There’s Platitude Jesus, good for Christmas specials, greeting cards, and bad sermons; he inspires people to believe in themselves, and lifts us up so we can walk on mountains.

There’s Revolutionary Jesus who teaches us to rebel against the status quo, stick it to the man, and dream up impossible utopian schemes.

There’s Guru Jesus, a wise, inspirational teacher who believes in you and helps you find your center.

There’s Boyfriend Jesus who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his intoxicating love in our secret place.

There’s Good Example Jesus who shows you how to help people, change the planet, and become a better you.

And then there’s Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham’s chosen seed, the one to deliver us from captivity, the goal of the Mosaic law, Yahweh in the flesh, the one to establish God’s reign and rule, the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim good news to the poor, the lamb of God come to take away the sins of the world.

This Jesus was the Creator come to earth and the beginning of a new creation. He embodied the covenant, fulfilled the commandments, and reversed the curse. This Jesus is the Christ that God spoke of to the serpent, the Christ prefigured to Noah in the flood, the Christ promised to Abraham, the Christ prophesied through Balaam before the Moabites, the Christ guaranteed to Moses before he died, the Christ promised to David when he was king, the Christ revealed to Isaiah as a suffering servant, the Christ predicted through the prophets and prepared for through John the Baptist.

This Christ is not a reflection of the current mood or the projection of our own desires. He is our Lord and God. He is the Father’s Son, Savior of the world, and substitute for our sins-more loving, more holy, and more wonderfully terrifying than we ever thought possible.

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