It’s Still Easter–So Read and Understand

It’s still Easter.

The recollection of long church services and family celebrations may have started to fade, the kids might not remember what they found on their egg hunt, but it’s still Easter.

But as long as Jesus is raised from the dead, as long as Jesus is seated at the right hand of God–as long as the most basic Christian claim of all, Jesus is Lord, still reflects reality, it’s still Easter.

And this means that we can, and must, read with new understanding.

At the end of Luke, it is the resurrected Jesus who sits down his disciples for a course in Biblical interpretation. As the Resurrected One, he calls to mind what they have not yet been able to hear and invites them to read with new understanding.

Only after the resurrection is there understanding that “all things written about Christ” entails suffering and death, resurrection and exaltation, mission and worldwide proclamation. And, after the resurrection, no other understanding of what “Christ” might entail is viable.

Because it is still Easter, we must still read the Old Testament as writing about, predicting, entailing, and even demanding, a Christ whom we simply are not capable of seeing until the Crucified is raised.

We look for a prophet like Moses, but not one whose life and people is defined by Torah.

We follow a second Joshua, but not into fields of military engagement.

We follow great King David’s greater son, but not one whose reign is secured by war or marred by the sins that disintegrate the royal family.

We confess a fulfillment of the promises of restoration, but without the removal of Romans from Judea.

We confess a new and glorious temple, even now, while the building in Jerusalem still stands in ruin.

The only reason to say, “No matter how many promises God has made, in Christ they are ‘Yes,’” is to know already that this particular Christ is the One anointed of Israel’s God.

It is Easter wherever the Bible is read as though Jesus is the point. Easter creates a new memory of scripture, what it says and what it means.

You may have forgotten that killer mint aioli I made for the lamb on Easter Sunday, but the measure of Easter’s presence is a different memory. It’s Easter, and therefore we remember that the Scripture God breathed is the sacred writing that makes us wise for the salvation that is found in Christ Jesus.

9 thoughts on “It’s Still Easter–So Read and Understand”

  1. Daniel, it’s easy to forget someone else’s story, but we rarely forget our own. “For if we have been planted (sumphutoi-united and growing together) in the likeness of His death, so shall we be of His resurrection.” Rom 6:5. If it only happened to Jesus, and not to me, then I have no real organic, knowledge of His death and resurrection. That means the story really belongs to someone else, and that I can forget. Doesn’t the phrase “in Christ” itself actually speak of our participation, presence and identity being found in the messianic life? One of the most sublime elements of hellenistic culture and language is their use of the middle voice. I find it fascinating the verb “to preach the gospel” in the N.T. is almost always in the middle voice, not the active. That makes it virtually impossible to preach a crucified, resurrected Christ which does not include you. Wouldn’t you say this is truly the key to remembering?

  2. Well said Daniel! I often think of this: now that Jesus has come, now that death has been destroyed by the promised Messiah, how can we read Scripture (especially the OT) as if He did not come? I remember my OT professor in my under-grad years started each lesson with a prayer – but, he never prayed to Jesus, only to “Lord”… and then forced us to keep Jesus out of the OT….

  3. At the end of Luke, it is the resurrected Jesus who sits down his disciples for a course in Biblical interpretation. As the Resurrected One, he calls to mind what they have not yet been able to hear and invites them to read with new understanding.

    True enough, but I am curious about Jesus’s words to his travelling companions on the road to Emmaus. They were sad, and told him the reason — their expectations had been dashed with the crucifixion of the one they had hoped in. His response was to rebuke them: ‘Fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not the Messiah to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?’

    The clear implication of the rebuke was that they should already have known from the prophets that he would suffer and rise. It was a new thing to them, but it should not have been. That which they had ‘not yet been able to hear’ was something that they ought to have been able to hear. Otherwise the strongly worded rebuke was rather unfair, no?

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