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Understanding the Gospels


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									             Understanding the Gospels

The Jews understood God and his dealings with men in terms
of narrative not as a set of philosophical ideas. Put simply
the bible is a five act drama; creation, fall, Israel, Jesus and
the church. Humans were made in the image of God in a
beautiful and good creation. But Man rebelled. The problem
of rebellion will be solved by God’s intervention to redeem
humanity and creation from the consequences of that
rebellion so that it will be full of God’s presence and glory.
God chose Israel but Israel also rebelled. However God must
remain faithful to the promises he has made and to his

The Jews of Jesus day were familiar with the story so far –
the first three acts. Israel’s story and Gods rescue of his
people was retold and celebrated at the festivals –
Passover/Pesach      (exodus)    Pentecost/Shavuot     (Sinai)
Tabernacles/Succot     (wilderness)   Purim   (Esther)    and
Hanukkah (Maccabees). The next act of the drama opens
with the arrival of Jesus. Jesus and the apostles make
frequent reference to the OT events, not as typology, but to
demonstrate to their hearers and readers that that the
gospel, the good news, is not a novel idea but in fact is the
next act in the drama.

But it’s difficult to follow a story joined half way through. To
fully understand we must turn back a few pages to set the
scene and introduce the characters – who are they? What do
they believe? What are they expecting to happen next? The
time gap between OT and NT can make this difficult. So let’s
the scene for Jesus and the good news he announced.

Babylon destroyed the 1st temple in 587 BC and the exile
followed but Jewish distinctiveness was maintained. 539 fall
of Babylon. 538 Edict of Cyrus allows the return of the Jews
to the land. 332 Alexander’s conquest of Judea.

The Seleucid (Greek) king, Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164) is
described prophetically in Daniel 11v21-32. Initially he just
promoted Greek culture in Palestine but in 167 Antiochus
started a more aggressive policy. The walls of Jerusalem
were torn down and a defensive citadel built for the Seleucid
occupiers. New taxes were imposed. The Sabbath and
festivals abolished, the Torah burned and sacrifice forbidden
under pain of death. He seized control of the temple to
promote worship of himself erecting a statue ‘the
abomination of desolation’. A pig was sacrificed in the Holy
of Holies. The Jews resisted these outrages and some were
martyred. They believed that God would vindicate them if
they remained faithful to the Torah.    Judas Maccabeus led
an armed revolt and after several victories in a guerrilla
campaign they reconsecrated the temple in 164 and this is
celebrated at Hanukkah. Finally independence was won in
142 as taxes were lifted. YHWH had vindicated his people
and the Hasmonean dynasty of priest kings was established.

However their rule was unpopular and the influence of a new
pressure group, the Pharisees, began to grow. In 1st century
BC Rome was the new superpower. In 63 Pompey was called
to adjudicate between Hasmonean rivals but invaded and
occupied the country. Palestine was important to Rome for
grain exports and because it neighboured Egypt (grain) and
Parthia (barbarians). The Romans brought peace, trade and
action against piracy but also military rule and heavy
taxation. Rome appointed Herod the Great king of the Jews
(37-4BC). Herod built the temple 19-9 to legitimise his
kingship. After his death the kingdom was split between 3
sons. Herod Antipas tetrarch of Galilee and Perea and Philip
tetrarch of Traconitis ruled throughout the later part of Jesus’
life. Archelaus ethnarch of Judea, Samaria and Idumea was
exiled after the Jewish revolt of 6AD and his territories came
under direct rule by Rome, the most famous governor being
Pilate (26-32).


Jews believed in the covenant, they had been chosen by God
by grace. God had promised Abraham he would be fruitful
and receive the land. These promises were reiterated during
Moses’ day. When Israel was vindicated creation would be
renewed. As for the gentiles, would Israel be a light (Isaiah 2
Micah 4) or would there be judgment and ruling with a rod of
They believed they were still in ‘exile’; God’s glory had not
returned to the temple (Ezekiel 43). They were oppressed by
pagans and the foreigners enjoyed ‘the milk and honey’ while
they were slaves. The sin of the covenant people was the
major issue in exile so they believed that as a nation their
sins had not yet been forgiven. Therefore there was a long
tradition of preaching and prophesying repentance. When
the sin of the nation is forgiven then exile will end. After the
present age, there would be the age to come in which
oppression would be ended, the land restored and the temple
rebuilt/restored/cleansed. There would be salvation or living
in a state of shalom in the land. They believed God was
righteous and faithful and would fulfil the covenant. But why
after so many years had God not rescued Israel and how
could they hasten the day?

Jewish Symbols

1. the Temple
The temple (1) was where God dwelt on earth (2) formed
25% of the city of Jerusalem and was the centre of political
and economic power as well as a national symbol giving
legitimacy to the rulers. (3) was the location of sacrifice for
forgiveness and purification, symbolic of that human-divine
transaction.    Forgiveness    through    sacrifice   brought
reintegration into the covenant people. The festivals were
celebrated for national atonement and the temple was also a
place of communal celebration. Despite the temple being
rebuilt by Herod, Israel had not been rescued.
2. the Land
The place of God’s blessing of the people of Israel but
ancestral homes had been lost and the land was polluted by
pagan occupation and institutions.
3. Racial identity
Salvation in the covenant community was entered by Jewish
birth and circumcision. Genealogy and a pure blood line were
important. The temple courts emphasized the issue of race.
Intermarriage had been judged (Ezra 9-10) and the
Samaritans, who had intermarried with other races, were a
4. the Torah
Your membership of the covenant community was
demonstrated by faithfulness to the torah. Thus the study
and observance of the Torah increased in importance during
the exile. Daniel was a popular book with twin themes of
refusal to compromise (king’s food, fiery furnace and lions
den) and pagan kingdoms thrown down and God’s kingdom
established. The badges of the Jew as against the pagan
were circumcision, the Sabbath and kosher food/ cleanliness.
Maintaining these distinctives of the covenant people would
hasten or postpone the coming of the kingdom. Those who
compromised would be excluded from the coming kingdom.
The debate might be how but never whether to observe the
Social situation

A pressure group seeking a return to ancient traditions, strict
and correct observance of the Torah using oral traditions said
to be handed down from Moses. God had made a covenant
with Israel, they in turn should keep the Torah but rescue
was still awaited.     So the Pharisees intensified Torah
observance – the vindication of Israel was the primary issue,
the gentiles were secondary.       They spoke out against
compromise and assimilation (and so were often critical of
the new Jewish establishment). They sought the restoration
of an independent theocracy and generally resisted Rome
(such as refusing oaths). Their belief combined divine action
and human choice. They wielded considerable influence over
ordinary people and the government. Their base was in
Jerusalem but they had a presence throughout the country.
Away from Jerusalem in Galilee the Torah as symbol marking
the boundary the covenant people and the pagans was more

Although a large group, most priests were based in villages
acting as teachers and judges, periodically serving at the
Temple.     The chief priests were powerful aristocrats in
Jerusalem. From families promoted by Herod/Romans they
controlled the temple. The Sanhedrin was given the task of
gathering the tax collected by the local tax collectors.   The
Sadducees, descendents of Zadok the priest, were politically
pragmatic, believing human action was the only mover in
events, defending the status quo and not looking for the
resurrection of Israel (Physical resurrection of the righteous
connected by many, especially the Pharisees, to the
inauguration of the age to come - hence references to
prophets and John coming back to life).         Although they
enjoyed less popular support than the Pharisees they
dominated the Sanhedrin and only lost power with the
destruction of the temple.
There was also marked economic division with debt as a very
emotive issue. Many farmers had to sell land to become
tenants or slaves of absentee landlords among the
aristocracy. Not only were the Romans rich but also the new
Jewish aristocracy. Unemployment and begging were
common. Brigands ‘lestes’ appeared during the occupation.
They lived by theft but were seen as fighting for the poor
against the rich. After Herod's death in 4bc there were
repeated revolts/riots until the Jewish War 66-73. Factors
included brutal rule, desecration of the temple, power
vacuums, prophetic or messianic figures or large crowds
gathered for festivals.      The result was usually mass

A more culturally mixed group looked on unfavourablely by
the Jews (2 Kings 17v24- 44). They followed the Pentateuch
and their practices were pre-Davidic with a capital at
Shechem and a temple built on Mount Gerizim in the 300s.
Both destroyed by John Hyrcanus in 128BC.

Messianic hope
1. He would be Israel’s representative – like David before
2. He would be Israel’s true king and Lord of the world.
3. He would win Israel’s ultimate battle against evil/the
pagan Romans
4. He would build the temple – Yahweh* would return and
live there.
5. Usher in the age to come of which the prophets had
spoken. God would pour out his Spirit and his people would
keep Torah from the heart in the kingdom of God.
6. He would be God’s representative to Israel and the world.

He was not expected to suffer.

*(In Hebrew God is referred to as YHWH often written in English as Yahweh or Jehovah)
            Understanding the Gospels; part 2


Israel is still living in ‘exile’ under pagan rule. They are
awaiting the day of the Lord, the age to come, the
kingdom of God. At that time the nation will be forgiven,
the pagans defeated and driven out of the land, the
temple cleansed and the presence of God return to the
temple. They will enjoy salvation, living in a state of
shalom, of wholeness in the land under the rule of the

A Gospel – announcement          of   important   news   by
proclamation, a news bulletin

Jesus announces the kingdom is near Matt. 4v17, Mark
1v15 and sends out his disciples with the same message
Luke 10v9, it is good news for Israel Luke 4v43. Israel’s
basic belief – Yahweh is God and Israel will be vindicated
– was reaffirmed and this will be the next chapter in the
story they know so well but Jesus gives the story a twist.
Jesus taught with authority; there was new content in his
proclamation, an urgent invitation and challenge.

Invitation and challenge

1. Invitation to repent

Matt 4v17 Mark 1v15. In the OT, Deuteronomy 30 Ezra 9
Nehemiah 9 Daniel 9, repentance involved Israel turning
to follow Yahweh, receiving his blessing and a return from
exile. Without repentance there would be judgement. So
John starts to preach just this message.        Mark 1v4.
Baptism in the Jordan speaks of a new exodus.

God’s forgiveness was an integral part of the return from
exile. It was a sign that punishment was complete and
the land would be healed 2 Chron. 7v14. How was
forgiveness to be received? Forgiveness was received
through sacrifice at the temple and purification. But the
first shock for the Jews came as Jesus forgave sins on his
own authority without reference to the temple (God’s
dwelling) or priests (the mediators) Luke 5v21. The
Roman military oppressed the Jews, God’s chosen people,
with ruthless violence. Examples such as Zacchaeus were
more offensive to the Jews still as, although a tax
collector (a collaborator with the Romans), Jesus forgave
him and then declared him to be a son of Abraham, part
of the new Israel. Meanwhile in a parable a respected
Jew confident in his own righteousness through Torah
observance is not justified Luke 18v9-14.

2. Invitation to believe

Pistis means believe, trust, have faith, loyalty and
faithfulness. Used in OT, repentance and trust required of
Israel in crisis (Isaiah 30v15).       This trust is (i) the
appropriate stance before God the creator (ii) The
righteous, the true Israel, have faith in crisis. (iii)
Characteristic of the Israel who have returned from exile.
But now faith was believing that Yahweh is acting in Jesus
to bring his kingdom. Loyalty to Jesus not Torah or
temple was required. The rich young ruler (Matthew
19v16-21) had kept the Torah but now Jesus challenged
the man to follow him. Faith in Jesus was belief not only
in him but also his programme - Jesus called people to
follow him. But this will be costly – you must take up your
cross. Matt 16v24. They were to place loyalty to him
before family, money and their ancestral lands.

Jesus was offering a renewed covenant to Israel but
shockingly (i) outside of the temple (ii) with the wrong
people (Jesus welcomed sinners of all sorts) (iii) on his
own authority.
3. Challenge

Jesus challenged his hearers to live as the renewed Israel.
Their expectation was in the context of strict keeping of
the Torah and armed resistance.           Having kept the
covenant God would vindicate his people.
But the OT had prophesied a renewed heart (Jeremiah 31
Ezekiel 36) both the inner and outer self. Jesus highlights
the heart as the problem (Mark 7v6,21 10v5) but Jesus
goes on to quote Genesis (v6ff), ‘God created…’ - now the
kingdom will fulfil the creator’s original intentions. The
creator’s true people will be marked out by their renewed
heart.    Jesus was not so much criticising Judaism’s
externalism but announcing the new phase, the renewed
heart was now on offer.

The Jews were all longing for the kingdom of God and
celebrated the example of Judas Maccabeus.             In the
beatitudes (Matthew 5) peace, gentleness and mercy are
highlighted rather than armed struggle.           In v39 he
teaches that armed resistance is not the right way. To be
blessed loyalty to Jesus is central (Matt 5v11). And what
of the pagans? The true Israel, the true Jerusalem, the
city on a hill will be the salt of the earth, the light of the
world. This teaching about the gentiles is both a rebuke
and a challenge.
In Matthew 5 and 6 rather than refining the detail of the
outer, Jesus integrates the inner and the outer in real
examples including prayer and fasting so central to their
current practice. Jesus teaches not only the importance
of the heart but also that Yahweh is their father.
Putting into practice his teaching was critical because it is
through him we enter the kingdom.

Mighty in deed
The miracles mark the physical inauguration of the
Dunameis – a display of power or authority, the king has
Paradoxa – not normally expected, this is no ordinary
Terata & Semeia – a sign or portent, not a magic show
but carry meaning beyond the miracle
Thaumasia – a marvel, speaking of the people’s response

Healing brings physical restoration restoring shalom,
receiving physical, social and spiritual healing and
renewing the membership of the people of Yahweh.
Healing prophetically was part of the kingdom agenda
(Isaiah 35v5-6) and so the people praised the God of
Israel (the God who kept his covenant) Matt. 15v31 as
they saw prophesy was being fulfilled.

The nature miracles spoke of the restoration of creation.

When the kingdom comes then Yahweh, the Messiah and
Israel will defeat the enemy. Deliverance was not a
prophetic theme in OT but demonstrated Jesus’ enemy
was not human (the pagan Romans were victims also) but
the devil. Legion lived among gentiles, pigs and tombs all
of which made him unclean but the true issue, the real
enemy to be defeated was demonic. The kingdom has
come and although the Romans remained, Jesus has
bound the strong man, Satan (Matthew 12v25-29).

A surprising Kingdom

The parables describe a new way of thinking, a paradigm
shift. The familiar images are given a subversive twist
and established ways of thinking are challenged by the
sharp edge of allegory.
The seed is sown secretly; the kingdom will not start
dramatically Matt 13v24. The mustard seed speaks of the
slow growth of the kingdom v31. The yeast – although
the king is unseen his teaching is working throughout
Israel v33. The treasure/pearl speaks of a kingdom which
must be searched for v44.        That which they have,
expectations and     dreams,   must   be   abandoned     for
something better.

The Pharisees observed the Torah and maintained ritual
purity to establish their national identity and to receive
their national liberation.   Their land, Sabbaths, food,
circumcision and temple marked them out from the

Jesus calls for his followers to be loyal to him, willing to
surrender their land and put him before family Luke 9v57-
62. The focus is shifted to the restoration of lives.
The family is now defined by loyalty (leaving and
following) to Jesus Mark 3v31-35. Now open to non
Israelites, a genealogy is not needed. All manner of
people are invited to eat with Jesus, a sign of acceptance.
Circumcision: the issue was no longer the outward symbol
but the condition of the heart. Romans 2v28-29

Jesus is confronted about the Sabbath. Matthew 12. In
the cornfields he contends that he is the new Davidic king
confronted by Saul’s men. He sets a woman free who
was bound on the Sabbath; as Israel’s king and Lord of
the Sabbath he has come to bring the nation into her
Sabbath rest (the age to come).

Loyalty to his kingdom is not through eating, drinking and
purification but by what is in a man, his heart. Luke

Although Jesus presented a challenge in many areas it
was the issue of Jesus as Messiah and his actions in the
temple which would precipitate the final crisis with the
Jewish authorities.
           Understanding the Gospels; part 3

In Luke 24 two men are walking to Emmaus very sad.
They meet a stranger who asks the reason for their
 v18 "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know
the things that have happened there in these days?"
 "What things?" he asked.       "About Jesus of Nazareth,"
they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and
deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and
our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and
they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the
one who was going to redeem Israel.”
In fact the stranger was Jesus,
 v25 He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow
of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did
not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then
enter his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the
Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the
Scriptures concerning himself.

What were these scriptures and how did they apply to
The major prophetic passages concerning the Messiah
include; Deuteronomy 18, Psalms 2, 22, 110, 118 Isaiah
9, 11, 40-55 (52v13- 53v12) Daniel 7 Zechariah 9-14.
Although Jesus avoided making public Messianic claims,
his life and ministry resonated with prophetic fulfilment.
Some examples from Luke’s gospel follow.

  - God spoke at Jesus’ baptism (Luke 3v22 a voice came
from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I
am well pleased.”) highlighting Messianic scriptures Psalm
2v7, (He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have
become your Father) a psalm which speaks of the
anointed one and his inheritance and Isaiah 42v1. (Here
is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I
delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring
justice to the nations.) God had anointed Jesus at his
baptism as Isaiah had prophesied (11v2 The Spirit of the
LORD will rest on him).
  - Jesus preaches the messianic manifesto (Isaiah 61) at
Nazareth (Luke 4) and declares the scripture fulfilled
drawing condemnation.
  - Jesus declares himself to be Lord of the Sabbath (Luke
6v5 Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the
  - Jesus chooses 12 disciples, a new Israel (Luke 6v12ff)
  - John asks if Jesus is the one (Luke 7v18ff). He
highlights his healings, a sign that God had come (Isaiah
35v3-6). Then regarding John he asks who the people
went to see – a king? (Like Herod Antipas, the reed) – No
he was the Elijah (Malachi 4v5) and one greater than he
had come.
  - Jesus’ miracles are signs of the Messiah. He feeds
thousands miraculously (Luke 9v10ff) which speaks of the
Messianic banquet (Isaiah 25v6 On this mountain the
LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all
peoples, a banquet of aged wine — the best of meats and
the finest of wines.)
  - At Caesarea Philippi, where the Greek god Pan
appeared as a man and the man Caesar was declared a
god, the disciples recognise Jesus as the Messiah (Luke
9v18ff) but they must remain silent as the journey to the
Holy City begins.
  - At the transfiguration Deuteronomy 18v15 is quoted
  - Jesus warns the people about the need for repentance
for one greater than the temple builder, Solomon, is here.
(Luke11v31) echoing the prophecy given to David in 2
Samuel 7v12 when your days are fulfilled and you lie
down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after
you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish
his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I
will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
  - Jesus uses the image of himself as the shepherd
seeking his lost sheep (Luke 15) drawing on prophetic
passages about God’s servant Ezekiel 34v23-24,
Zechariah 13v7.
Conflict at the temple

Matthew 21 to 25, Mark 11 to 13, Luke 19v28 to 21. The
temple stood at the very heart of Jewish belief but Jesus
declared under this new covenant there was to be radical
change. However mighty his works were, Jesus teaching
was ‘disloyal’ and he was condemned. His teaching in the
temple would provoke the final crisis.

Some events had already challenged the status quo.
Return from exile would include forgiveness.       Jesus
forgave sins on his own authority and not through the
temple, the sacrificial monopoly had been broken and the
temple was becoming redundant.

The events in the temple announce the present
corruption, the imminence of judgement on the temple
and Jesus’ Messiahship. Jesus arrives in the temple at
Jerusalem entering the city as the king (Zechariah 9v9).
He claimed authority in the temple and cleanses it (as
Judas Maccabeus had before him). When Jesus comes to
the temple he quotes Isaiah 56v7 – a house of prayer for
all nations, the gentiles will be gathered in, and Jeremiah
7v11 – judgement to come on the den of robbers or
revolutionaries (lestes). The temple had become a place
of confrontation with the pagans rather than blessing to
the nations.
Challenged about his authority Jesus replies that he would
rebuild the temple (John 2v18-19)as had been propesied
Zechariah 6v12-13 the LORD Almighty says: 'Here is the
man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out
from his place and build the temple of the LORD. 13 It is
he who will build the temple of the LORD, and he will be
clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne.
And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be
harmony between the two.'
He tells them the parable of the tenants (Luke 20v9) and
they understand that he is the son sent by God. Yet the
chief priests are enraged as Jesus tells them they are in
rebellion against God.
Then Jesus questions them about the Messianic Psalm
110. (Luke 20v41ff). How can David’s son be his Lord?
He will be a king and priest in the order of Melchizedek
greater than King David and also the Levitical priesthood.
Zechariah 6v13 It is he who will build the temple of the
LORD, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and
rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne.
And there will be harmony between the two.'

The Passover

The festival Passover looked back to the Exodus and
forward to a new return from exile with sins forgiven and
the people redeemed. Jesus in the upper room would
announce a new exodus, the defeat of evil and the
forgiveness of sins. Jesus focused not on the lamb and
the temple but on himself. The bread symbolises Jesus
death and the giving of life. The wine is described as the
blood of the covenant Matthew 26v28 – see Zechariah
9v9-11 (your king comes to you, he will proclaim peace, I
will free your prisoners) – speaking of the end of exile,
forgiveness of sins and the start of the Messianic rule.

The Trial of Jesus

The issue of Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah was at the
centre of his trial. After the trial he would be mocked as
the king of the Jews, with robe reed and crown and
executed as a Messianic pretender.

The Jews condemned him because
          (i)  his Messianic preaching and action
               might attract Roman sanctions
          (ii) of his ‘attacks’ on the temple. He was
               accused of saying he would destroy the
               temple and rebuild it, Mark 14v58,
                  something only one with Messianic
                  authority could do (2 Samuel 7v12-16).
          (iii)   He is asked if he is the son of the
                  blessed one v61 (Psalm 2).          Jesus
                  replies that he will be vindicated as the
                  son of man and God appointed judge
                  v62 (Psalm 110, Daniel 7). He now
                  claims the right to judge the High Priest
                  and the Sanhedrin. His claim to be at
                  Yahweh’s right hand was seen as
          (iv)    they believed Jesus was leading Israel
                  astray. Deuteronomy demanded the
                  death penalty for one who led the
                  people astray (13v12ff)

But why did the Romans allow the execution? For Pilate
   (i)    he realised that Jesus was no ordinary
   (ii)   noted the Jewish agenda
   (iii)  as usual wanted to thwart the Jews
   (iv)   he was afraid of Caesar.

Jesus’ death

Jesus had previously spoken of death Mark 10v32-34; see
also the parable of the tenants Mark 12v8. But speaks
only occasionally of atonement in his death, Mark 10v45
is an example. Some Jews believed in intense suffering
before Israel’s deliverance. More specifically there was
also the idea of individual suffering of the prophets and
the righteous martyrs and seen as a means of forgiveness
for the nation 2 Maccabees 7v36-38, 4 Maccabees 6v27-
29. So a role was seen for suffering providing purification
and ending exile but a suffering Messiah was not found in
Jewish literature of the time.
Jesus came not only to confront compromise with the
pagans but also to challenge the agenda of violent
resistance; instead he proclaimed the kingdom as peace
and love. He was prepared to suffer as a consequence
and expected Yahweh’s vindication. He would die in the
way he had taught his followers to live. God’s Israel were
not to be conquerors of the world but instead to be a light
to the world.

The Resurrection

There were many ‘Messiahs’ in Jesus’ day but their claims
died with them. Jesus was not what the Jews were
expecting but God made a statement in his resurrection.
Jesus made extraordinary claims; to forgive sins Mark
2v7, to be the final judge Matthew 25v31-33 and as ‘Son
of Man’ Daniel 7v14 he accepted worship John 9v38.
Some said he was a blasphemer but God vindicated Jesus’
claim through the resurrection Romans 1v4.
The first Christians preached that Jesus’ death was a
sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. It didn’t look that
way on the Friday when the cross seemed to signal defeat
1 Corinthians 15v17 (if Jesus was not raised our faith is
futile) but Jesus was raised. In fact the cross was victory,
revealed and sealed by the resurrection.
God has vindicated Jesus the King of the Jews. The new
covenant has come. As death is defeated there is new
creation since both body and soul are important, the first
fruits of the full renewal of the created order.

Messianic hope fulfilled in Jesus

1. He would be Israel’s representative – like David before
Goliath. Jesus is our representative to secure atonement.
Hebrews 2v17.
2. He would be Israel’s true king and Lord of the world.
Fulfilment was so much greater than expectation.
3. He would win Israel’s ultimate battle against evil/the
pagan Romans. Jesus battle with God’s enemy was with
Satan behind Caiphas and Rome, who are also Satan’s
victims. Hebrews 2v14 1 John 3v8
4. He would build the temple – Yahweh would return and live
there. Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem symbolises and embodied
the coming of Yahweh.         As Jesus stands on trial he
announces that Yahweh will not come to the temple in the
way that they had hoped but that he has authority to
announce the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. A new
sort of temple was under construction. Ephesians 2v20-22.
5. Usher in the age to come of which the prophets had
spoken. God would pour out his Spirit and his people would
keep Torah from the heart in the kingdom of God. Acts
6. He would be God’s representative to Israel and the world.
Hebrews1v3 John 14v9


The New Testament and the people of God
NT Wright. SPCK 1992

Jesus and the victory of God
NT Wright. SPCK 1996

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