We cannot know Jesus without knowing his story.
Today the debate over who Jesus is rages on. Has the Bible bound Christians to a narrow and mistaken notion of Jesus? Should we listen to other gospels, other sayings of Jesus, that enlarge and correct a mistaken story? Is the real Jesus entangled in a web of the church’s Scripture, awaiting liberation from our childhood faith so he might speak to our contemporary pluralistic world?
To answer these questions we need to know what story Jesus claimed for himself. Christopher Wright is convinced that Jesus’ own story is rooted in the story of Israel. In this revised and updated book he traces the life of Christ as it is illuminated by the Old Testament. And he describes God’s design for Israel as it is fulfilled in the story of Jesus.
“If we only look it up in the concordance, we may end up very confused, for the expression has a bewildering elasticity. It can, for example, refer to angels (probably, Gen 6:2, 4; Ps 89:6). Even Satan is called one of the sons of God (Job 1:6; 2:1).” (Page 124)
“So when Matthew announces Jesus as the Messiah, the son of Abraham, it means not only that he belongs to that particular people (a real Jew, as we have just seen), but also that he belongs to a people whose very reason for existence was to bring blessing to the rest of humanity. Jesus shared the mission of Israel, and indeed, as the Messiah he had come to make it a reality at last. A particular man, but with a universal significance.” (Page 18)
“With David the covenant with Abraham had come to a measure of fulfillment: Abraham’s offspring had become a great nation; they had taken possession of the land promised to Abraham; they were living in a special relationship of blessing and protection under Yahweh.” (Page 24)
“Typology, then, to sum up, properly handled, is a way of understanding Christ and the various events and experiences surrounding him in the New Testament by analogy or correspondence with the historical realities of the Old Testament seen as patterns or models.” (Page 122)
“A third unmistakable dimension of this era was the realization that God did not want external religious rituals without practical social justice.” (Pages 31–32)
Christopher J. H. Wright (PhD, Cambridge) is international ministries director of the Langham Partnership, providing literature, scholarships, and preaching training for pastors in Majority World churches and seminaries. He has written many books including commentaries on Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Ezekiel, The Mission of God, Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God, and Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament. An ordained priest in the Church of England, Chris spent five years teaching the Old Testament at Union Biblical Seminary in India, and thirteen years as academic dean and then principal of All Nations Christian College, an international training center for cross-cultural mission in England. He was chair of the Lausanne Theology Working Group from 2005-2011 and the chief architect of The Cape Town Commitment from the Third Lausanne Congress, 2010.