Toward the end of Jesus and the Victory of God (p. 652) N.T. Wright notes three areas where Jesus shared beliefs with his fellow Jews as well as the key point of departure:
“Jesus belived that there was one God who made the world, and who had called Israel to be his people; that this one God had promised to be with his people, and guide them to their destiny, their new exodus; that his presence, guidance and ultimately salvation were symbolized, brought into reality, in and through Temple, Torah, Wisdom, Word and Spirit. He was a first-century Jewish monotheist.”
“He believed that Israel was the true people of the one creator God, called to be the light of the world, called to accomplish her vocation through suffering. He cherished this belief in Israel’s special vocation, even as he challenged current interpretations of it.”
“He believed in the coming kingdom of Israel’s god, which would bring about the real return from exile, and the return of YHWH to Zion. He embraced this Jewish hope, making it thematic for his own work.”
“The difference between the beliefs of Jesus and those of thousands of other Jews of his day amounted simply to this: he believed, also, that all these things were coming true in and through himself.”
In Jesus we find the embodiment of YHWH’s eschatological election of the true people of God.
Btw, you might enjoy the book: The Biblical Doctrine of Election, by H.H. Rowley. You can still find them used on-line from places like ABE Books, etc. This is perhaps one of the best books done on the subject of Election! I bet ya Tom Wright has read it also. And perahps still has a copy? My copy is just happens to be a first ed, (1950). Yeah some of the best books are older!
Sorry, but this book is a keeper! And I had to pass this along. 🙂
@ Fr. Robert: Thanks for the recommendation.
I find the phrase “Jesus believed…” quite strange. If Jesus was Truth, what does Truth believe?
@Lance: I find your question strange: if the incarnation is true why would he not have had beliefs like every other human?
Great post Brian. I find it interesting that He says that Jesus “challenged current interpretations” of election. I agree, and I love the fact that Wright sees that challenge as Christological. How do you see the shift in election from old to new testament? Is it strictly Christological, or do you think that Jesus was also redefining it in invisible/visible categories; more like a reformed position?
@Brian: That is a great question. I was actually thinking about this very thing the other day. While I do not have a settled answer, I do see a parallel in that election shifted from being Israel as a nation to the true Israel as those who proclaimed allegiance to God’s Messiah. In some sense the Protestant critique of the visible and invisible church may function as a loose, and true, parallel.
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