Tuesday, November 19, 2013

In This Is Love (part 10)

Having examined Adam, Israel, and Solomon, this study now turns to the one more formally recognized as the Son of God, that being Jesus of Nazareth.  Naturally, when one reads in the New Testament about the Son of God, it is Jesus that is being referenced.  He becomes a bit of a summary of the sons of God, and is therefore seen as the last Adam, as something of the embodiment of Israel in His being cursed with the exile of death but then blessed with a restoration to life (the recurring theme of exodus to exile), and as the king of Israel (the Solomonic messiah) that demonstrates discernment and desires the just rule of the Creator God over His people. 

Therefore Jesus is to be known as the Son of God, at least partially, within the context of the vision and concept of son-ship as it is presented throughout what is understood to be the history of Israel.  If one does not understand and take seriously this history, and in so doing realize at each step of the way, in the revelation of His son, that the Creator God is taking steps to assert His just rule over His creation and to destroy the works of the devil, thereby revealing His love, then it will simply not be posible to make proper sense of Jesus’ mission.  Jesus, of course, when He is understood to be Israel’s Messiah, is also understood to somehow be the physical embodiment of Israel’s God, as would seem to be indicated by the prophets (proleptically and in retrospect).  If this is the case, He is thence also the revelation of love of the Creator God. 

In the accounts of His life that are presented by the Gospel writings, ones sees Jesus alternately taking up the various mantles of son-ship that had been worn by the revealed sons of God that had preceded Him.  His time of testing in the wilderness following His baptism is highly demonstrative of this, and it is two-fold.  In this, He actually demonstrates a congruity with Adam.  Utilizing Mark’s account, one finds that Jesus has been set forth before men, presumably by the Creator God with a voice from heaven, as “My one dear Son,” in whom the Father takes “great delight” (Mark 1:11).  In accompaniment, it is said that the Spirit descended on Him like a dove (1:10).  This coming of the Spirit upon Jesus, strangely enough, should put the reader in mind of the record of the Gospel of John, when Jesus, after the Resurrection, appears to His disciples, “breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (20:22b). 

It seems odd to make this connection here, but it is difficult to avoid doing so.  However, this will be quite instructive a bit later on, when considering the full impact of the statement that “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).  In turn, with a nod to the previously mentioned congruity with Adam, Mark’s record prompts a consideration of the account of Adam in Genesis, when the Creator God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (2:7b).  So the experience of the Spirit coming upon Jesus, together with the proclamation (revelation) of Jesus as God’s dear Son, is quite analogous to the story of Adam, as the Creator God breathed into Him the breath of life, thus animating Adam for his appointed service by way of His power. 

The analogy does not stop there however, as Mark goes on to inform his audience that “The Spirit immediately drove Him into the wilderness,” where Jesus spent “forty days, enduring temptations from Satan” (1:13b).  Though Mark does not go into detail concerning the nature of those temptations, fortunately both Matthew and Luke do.  Three temptations are recorded.  In the first, Satan tempts Jesus to turn stone into bread.  Second, Jesus is tempted with rule over the whole of the world if He will but worship Satan.  Thirdly, Satan suggests that Jesus make a grand display by throwing Himself down from the top of the Temple, suggesting that His God would intervene to rescue Him. 

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