Monday, November 25, 2013

In This Is Love (part 14)

Presumably, those that heard did more than hear, but also acted upon what it was that they heard, and one can imagine that Solomon was not shy about sharing the source of the wisdom that caused kings to come before him.  Not only does this fit snugly into the son of God tradition, as Israel’s king becomes a light to the nations through his impressive displays of wisdom and understanding, but it also shares a continuity with the New Testament’s most often referenced portion of Hebrew Scriptures, that being the second Psalm. 

There one hears the Psalmist speaking in regards to the son of God, giving direction in accordance with His role and saying “So now, you kings, do what is wise; you rulers of the earth, submit to correction” (2:10).  Is this not, in a sense, what was occurring at the proverbial feet of Solomon?  More to the point, is this not what is being communicated when the Apostle Paul reports the early church’s comprehension of Jesus and writes that “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow…”? (Philippians 2:10a) 

Yes, Solomon has great wisdom and great discernment and breadth of understanding (1 Kings 4:29), and certainly this can be said about Jesus as well, thereby linking the two in that manner.  Perhaps more importantly though, it is interesting to note what is said about the breadth of Solomon’s understanding, in that it “was as infinite as the sand on the seashore” (4:29b).  This, of course, is an overt reference to the Abrahamic covenant, and serves as an indicator of the need to see the Creator God fulfilling some measure of His promise to Abraham in Solomon, to whom the Creator refers as His son. 

Furthermore, Solomon’s sharing of this wisdom with the people of all nations would have made him an ideal exemplifier of divine blessing, thereby more solidly grounding him within the always important Abrahamic tradition.  The New Testament authors, to a man, see Jesus, together with His church, as the complete fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant, which once again forces an observer to reflect on such tremendous love. 

As can be seen, Jesus’ identification as the Son of God has to, of necessity, take place on multiple levels and in multiple contexts.  It cannot be understood apart from Israel’s history.  In fact, apart from Israel’s history, it withstands comprehension.  Indeed, this means that the whole of Christian teaching must be grounded within this same history in order for it to carry any meaning or comprehension whatsoever.  Divorcing the words and thoughts about Jesus from their historical context will inevitably lead to bad theology, Christology, soteriology, ecclesiology, eschatology, and more. 

Indeed, if one does not take the history and theology of Israel with all seriousness, then most words and thoughts and attempted deductions concerning Jesus will be little more than exercises in missing the point.  Though it is said that “no one ever spoke like this man,” had His teaching, along with the things said about Him by His disciples after His departure been incredibly unique, it could have gained momentary notoriety but eventually it is quite likely that most if not all of it would have been dismissed in much the same way the church would eventually dismiss the Gnostic texts that sprang up as exhibitions of that very type of historical disconnectedness that leads to bad theology (and so forth).  Unfortunately, much of what is said about Jesus, when it is not rooted in a sober treatment of the multiple points of His context, end up looking and sounding like little more than the obviously heretical Gnosticism that a church with a firm grasp of history and its deeply Jewish roots effectively and appropriately pushed to the side. 

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