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May 24, 2007 / Daniel

The rest of the story

Imagine if you only knew about the first two books in The Lord of the Rings trilogy–The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers.   The story would be pretty incomplete, right?  There would be no ending, no climax to the story.  You wouldn’t know if Frodo destroyed the ring or if Aragon became king.  The Return of the King completes the story. 

 In the same way, Jesus and His Kingdom completes Israel’s story.  Without Jesus, the OT is a story in search of an ending.  The OT ends with a “to be continued” feel.   I think that’s what Jesus is getting at when He says,   

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.  You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.  

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. 

Jesus’ Kingdom Message was a continuation of Israel’s story in the OT.   In the OT, God elected Israel to be salt and light to the rest of the nations.  The city on the hill was supposed to be the temple in Jerusalem.  The covenant that YHWH made with Abraham in Gen. 12 was designed to be a solution to the problem of sin that develops in Gen. 1-11.  Jesus was reminding His disciples of their vocation as Israel–the calling to be salt and light.

Any time that a story moves toward its climax, there are new developments.  And that’s true of Jesus as well.  However, Jesus reminds His story moves in a manner consistent with what’s gone before.  That’s what “fulfilment” means.  Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, not to overturn or abolish what’s gone before.  

The question–what does Jesus mean when He say that your righteousness must surpass the righteousness of the Pharisees in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?  

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5 Comments

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  1. Matthew C / May 24 2007 3:49 pm

    And there I was thinking Our Lord began the church, which replaces Israel. 🙂

  2. Matthew C / May 24 2007 3:49 pm

    For the Kingdom to be established, Israel had to repent and seek righteouness. They did not, so the kingdom was postponed.

  3. fiester25 / May 24 2007 5:32 pm

    I’m uncomfortable saying that the kingdom was postponed. I think that Israel’s rejection of the kingdom was always a part of the plan.

    I also think that the kingdom has an already, but not yet aspect to it. So in a way, Jesus’ death and resurrection already started the kingdom. Yet there’s also a future aspect to it.

  4. Jon Petersen / Jun 3 2007 7:12 am

    that’s an interesting view on the salt of the earth passage. I’ve never been very satisfied with an interpretation of that section. So how have you been? We’re doing pretty good here in Khost, Afghanistan. I found a sermon of yours on the Chadron Berean Website. I haven’t finished listening to it yet, but I look forward to taking time to hear it. If you get a chance send me an email.

  5. fiester25 / Jun 3 2007 1:23 pm

    Hey Jon,

    I’ve been blogging thru the Sermon on the Mount. Just click on the tag “Sermon on the Mount” and read the other posts. I would be curious to hear back from you on those posts.

    Daniel

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