Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JETS 40:2 (June 1997) p. 287
Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament. By Christopher J. H. Wright. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1992, 256 pp., n.p. paper.
Wright begins by pointing out the importance of the genealogy in Matt 1:1–17. It tells us that “we will only understand Jesus properly if we see him in the light of this story which he completes and brings to its climax.” Because Jesus completes the story, Jesus also “sheds light backward on it.”
Wright proceeds to review the history involved in Matthew’s genealogy to show that it was God’s answer to the “growing web of corruption and violence” seen in Genesis 1–11. It began with the promise to Abraham, came to “a measure of fulfilment with David” and then took off again “in a renewed form.” Because the prophets emphasized God’s consistency in both his covenant threats and promises, the Jews survived the exile and during the intertestamental period became increasingly devoted to the law. Along with this came “the upsurge of apocalyptic, messianic hope.” Then came Jesus as God’s “yes” to the promises and to all the acts of God, not only in Israel’s history but also in the history of the world.
Chapter 2 shows how “Matthew sees the whole Old Testament as the embodiment of promise—in the sense of presenting to us a God of gracious and saving purpose.” Wright distinguishes between promise and prediction, promise involving relationship with God and “the universal goal of blessing to all nations,” also requiring faith in God’s Word and action based on it. Thus the promise has “a dynamic quality that goes beyond the external details involved.” So Jesus was “the singular seed of Abraham, through whom the seed would become universal and multinational.” Wright then proceeds to deal with the covenants of the OT as another stream adding to the full force of the promise.
Chapter 3 deals with Jesus and his OT identity. It sees the OT as a storehouse of precedents, figures, images, models and analogies that help us to understand who Jesus was. Wright adds that they also “helped Jesus to understand Jesus”—as the Son of God.
Chapter 4 goes on to discuss Jesus and his OT mission as the Son of Man, as the servant of the Lord and as having a mission to the Gentiles. Chapter 5 then deals with the OT values of Jesus. Wright shows that many of the ethical teachings of Jesus had precedents in the OT and that they were “the true heart of the Law.”
Wright gives important insights into the relation of Jesus and his ministry to the OT. Though he recognizes Jesus as truly the Son of God, unlike Walter Kaiser he does...
Click here to subscribe