Passover as the Christ Vocation

The following excerpt is from this week’s Lenten Devotional. Sign up to get one every Wednesday.

So we are ambassadors, speaking on behalf of the Messiah, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore people on the Messiah’s behalf to be reconciled to God. The Messiah did not know sin, but God made him to be sin on our behalf, so that in him we might embody God’s faithfulness to the covenant. 

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 KNT

It is always tempting when trying to understand Christian theology to sort out the theory first and then to make it fit with Jesus and who he was and what he did. I want to do it the other way. We have in the previous Lenten Devotional thought about Jesus’ own vocation, only now to stand back and say, ‘Can we get a glimmer of how this works? Can we see something of what is going on?’

Jesus chose Passover to do what had to be done. He seems to have believed that the Passover story, the Exodus narrative, would contain within itself all the things that would resonate properly so that his death, when it happened, would mean what it needed to mean.

In this way, his own unique vocation would come into focus through that well-tuned lens of Israel’s long traditions. And that means that when we look at the Last Supper and see Jesus both doing Passover and doing forgiveness of sins, we ought to be able to see something of how these two themes work together. It has been very difficult in Christian theology to hold them together but I think maybe we can.
Jesus chose Passover to do what had to be done. Click To Tweet

I think we have to start with the notion of what it means to be human, what it means to be in the image of God, what it means to reflect God. Theologians are worried about this word ‘image’, but the more people have looked that the Old Testament in its context, the more they have said that we should see that Genesis 1, as a whole, is a temple. It is heaven and earth together.

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N.T. Wright
N.T. Wright is a prolific author for both academic and popular readers. He is author of Simply Jesus, Surprised by Hope, The Day the Revolution Began, Jesus and the Victory of God, and Paul and the Faithfulness of God. He is also the author of the For Everyone Series of New Testament Commentaries. He currently serves as Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Previously Wright served as Bishop of Durham, Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey, and Dean of Lichfield Cathedral. For twenty years he served as Professor of New Testament Studies at Cambridge, McGill, and Oxford Universities. He writes often for newspapers in England, including the Times, the Independent, and the Guardian. He has been interviewed numerous times by radio and television broadcasters on both sides of the Atlantic, including ABC, NBC, CNN, PBS, FOX, and NPR.
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