The story of Jesus is connected to the story of Israel….Israel’s story began it all, and without it there would be no Jesus story.
But the Jesus story also brings with it something utterly new and unexpected that Israel’s story is not set up to handle.
Jesus’s story is deeply connected to Israel’s story yet has a surprise ending. If we miss this paradox, we will miss seeing how the earliest Christian writers creatively adapted the familiar language of their Bible (the Christian Old Testament) to talk about Jesus. They believed Israel’s story was God’s Word, but what Jesus said and did could not be explained by that story.
To talk about Jesus they had to adapt and transform the old language for a new task.
Watching the New Testament writers at work yields a valuable lesson for Christian readers today: explaining Jesus drove the early Christian writers to read their Bible in new, sometimes radically different, ways.
The Bible was non-negotiable as God’s word, but it was not God’s final word. Jesus was.
Israel’s story, taken on its own terms, is not equipped to bear the weight of God’s surprise move of a crucified and resurrected messiah. It must be reshaped around Jesus.
If we miss that lesson—if we look to the Bible as a collection of unchanging information about God and miss how the reality of Jesus necessarily transforms Israel’s story—we will miss what the earliest Christian writers have to say.
We will miss Jesus.