The Vision of Faith
This class handout is from Lent 2006, 2 lectionary year B rounds ago.
Bringing the texts together
Internalized Gospel: now God is so immanent God truly lives in the hearts of humans; as Christians we read this as a Jesus-text; we read is as God "pitching a tent," living and sojourning with God's people! But what could this "new covenant" have meant to God's covenant people before God's incarnation in Jesus? To the people with whom God already had covenanted several times? Implication of "heart" in the Ancient Near East?
Contrast the law written on human hearts with the law written on stone tablets? In both cases, what is the law's content? I will be their God..." Say more about this!
"...once made perfect..." kai teleiotheis... like the "perfect" Jesus tells us to be—whole, complete, a finished creation, achieving the humanness in which God created us to live, being ourselves in the same way God cannot be other than God.
God calls, designates Jesus high priest/mediator! God calls us - how? Christians affirm "The priesthood of all believers": each of us is baptized priest, prophet and sovereign. But how does each of us discern God's particular call to us at any particular moment? How is God's call to us part of God's covenant with us? God's call to be our whole, true, fulfilled selves in Christ?
Jesus dies on the scandal of a tree and the tree of death - the cross - paradoxically becomes the tree of life. Jesus promises to draw all to himself—the cross and empty tomb finish the redemption of all creation. In a reference back to the healing snake lifted up in the Exodus wilderness, last week's John pericope was about Jesus lifted up.
We see the Glory of God as we "see Jesus," the Human One, lifted up on the cross. We see the fulness of the glory of the Presence of God in the weakness, vulnerability and defenselessness of Jesus dying on the cross. Paul determined to preach only Christ crucified, to preach only the crucified Human One lifted up in glory on the cross. Why?
"...now the prince of this world will be driven out," marking the end of the contral and worship and the tyrannical supremacy of the cosmic Power and Principalities Deutero-Paul writes about in Colossians and Ephesians.
By destroying the evidence of our sins, God also has "disarmed the principalities and powers" and driven out "the prince of this world," since sin no longer can accuse those who have been forgiven. Since in Christ God "remembers our sin no more," just as God promised through Jeremiah, we can be whole persons, because Christ has provided total redemption and forgiveness. In Christ each of us has been "made perfect!"