December 18, 2020

Jesus Reading About Himself in the OT

At least two people in the New Testament read about themselves in the Old. Got to be a weird feeling reading the Old and recognizing it as talking to you specifically.  Jesus, of course, primarily. The Psalms are all about him and the book of Isaiah was called “the fifth gospel” by the early Church.  Jesus didn’t quote Ps 22 so much as Ps 22 quoted him. And John the Baptist as well read Isaiah and considered himself the “voice of one calling in the wilderness, make smooth the way of the Lord.”  

With Jesus, it had to be chilling reading his Good Friday instruction manual in the suffering servant passages in Isaiah: “He was oppressed and afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.” 

I like how Isaiah writes meaning one thing, while it comes to mean something different with the hindsight of how it was fulfilled with Jesus.  He wrote of a great and powerful member to come from the tribe of Judah,   

“Binding his foal to the vine, and his colt to the choicest vine, he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.”

Isaiah meant to convey wealth in the worldly sense but Jesus fulfilled it in the spiritual sense. 

The Jewish idea of having foal and a colt and so much wine that you could literally wash your clothes in it was a symbol of tremendous wealth and wellbeing. 

But with Jesus, it meant binding himself to the vine (of the Cross) and washing his garments in his own blood. Just as there was so much superfluous wine in that passage that you could wash your clothes in it, Jesus had so much superfluous grace/forgiveness/love that he washed the garment of humanity with it. Inspiring.

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St. Irenaeus said that “just as Eve was led astray by the word of an angel...so did the Virgin Mary by the word of an angel receive the glad tidings that she should bear God, through obedience to his word.” 

Looking at the two angelic visitations: with Eve the serpent questioned Eve, while in the other encounter Mary asked a question of Gabriel. 

The devil assures Eve that she will be like God, knowing good and evil.  Gabriel suggests that Mary’s offspring, unlike mankind, will be holy, i.e. really like God: “the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy.

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It occurred to me - a sign of hope for all of us - that the three apostles sitting like dufuses watching the Transfiguration and Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, would in fact become at least the equal or maybe superior to Moses and Elijah. The apostles were merely unfinished - like Moses after he killed the Egyptian, or Elijah before his calling.  As are we. 

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