Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thoughts on the Bible Conference

Last week, we had our Spring Bible Conference at Grace Church. The guest speaker, Dr. Dennis Johnson, spoke on the Christ-centeredness of Scripture. He laid the foundation for the Bible Conference speaking from Luke 24 where Jesus, after his resurrection and on the road to Emmaus, showed the two disciples how all of Scripture pointed to himself.

The conference’s topic was a good reminder that ALL of Scripture points to Christ. I think sometimes that we view the Old Testament as good history books filled with examples for us. There are a few prophecies that are about Christ directly and we see these mainly because they are pointed out to us in the New Testament. We are told that the Temple and the sacrificial laws are shadows of and find their fulfillment in Christ. But what about those passages that don’t seem to have any connection to Christ? How do we see Christ in these verses?

One evening, we were having our family prayer time and were reading in 1 Kings 13. In this story, a nameless man of God confronts Jeroboam’s sin of idolatry. His message delivered, the man of God departs. An old prophet found out about the man of God, saddled up his donkey, and went to find the man and invite him to dinner. Pretty hospitable guy, right? Well, apparently the man of God had been told by God not to “eat bread nor drink water there” (v.17). The old prophet then lies to the man of God saying something like “Hey, what do you know? I’m a prophet too! And guess what? God told me to tell you it’s okay for you to come to my house” (v.18 – very loosely paraphrased). The man of God gives in, goes home with the old, lying, hospitable prophet, and has lunch. The old prophet then gives him a real message from God – “Because you disobeyed, you’re going to die.” Sure enough, as the man of God is riding home, a lion comes along and kills him. After we read this, Sarah asked, “So how do we see Christ in this passage?” I had no clue! But that’s when the Bible Conference’s next service helped tremendously.

Dr. Johnson’s lesson the very next morning was on recognizing Christ’s role as prophet, priest and king. “Ask every text of Scripture: ‘What aspect of Christ’s work as mediator comes into the spotlight in this passage?’
• His revealing role as prophet, enabling us to know the Father and hear his Word?
• His ruling role as king, acting with wisdom, courage and justice to assert God’s reign in the world?
• His reconciling, relationship-restoring role as priest, who gave himself for us and ever lives to intercede for us before the Father…and to bring us into that Holy Place?”

Further, when we read a passage and ask these questions, we can look for an example of either what Christ is or what Christ is not. Armed with this, I went back to the 1 Kings passage to see how Christ can be seen. What I found was awesome, to say the least.

Since the passage was already talking about a person as prophet, I thought I’d start with that since it seemed the most obvious. How was Christ’s role as prophet being spotlighted? The man of God already had God’s word revealed to him. He knew the law and knew what he was supposed to do. But the old prophet came along and said something completely different, in essence doing away with and contradicting God’s Word. This is directly opposite of what Christ said he does in Matt.5:17 – “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.” On the one hand, you’ve got a prophet that attempts to change what God has said. He is the antithesis of Christ. The result is that the law is broken and death is brought about. On the other hand, you’ve got a Prophet (Christ) that doesn’t change anything, but rather brings God’s word to fulfillment. The result is the law is fulfilled and life is given!

This discovery turned a rather odd story into one where Christ’s role as Prophet can be seen and where we get an Old Testament glimpse of a New Testament truth. It definitely has me eager to “search the Scriptures” for more of such glimpses.

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