Jesus is our reconciliation
I have been at Yom Kippur for many years (German: Day of Atonement), the highest Jewish festival, fasted. I did so in the false belief that I was reconciled to God by strictly foregoing food and fluids that day. Many of us surely still remember this erroneous way of thinking. However this was explained to us, the intention to fast on Yom Kippur was our reconciliation (Ver-Sohn-ung [= adoption as sons, note of the Üs]) with God through one's own works. We practiced a religious system of grace plus works - ignoring the reality in which Jesus is our reconciliation. Maybe you remember my last letter. It was about Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year's Day, also known as the trombone day. I concluded by pointing out that Jesus blew the trumpet once and for all and was the Lord of the Year - even the Lord of all times. As the completion of God's covenant with Israel (the old covenant) Jesus, the creator of time, changed all times forever. This gives us the New Covenant's view of Rosh Hashana. If we also look at Yom Kippur with eyes on the New Covenant, we understand that Jesus is our reconciliation. As is the case with all Israelite feast days, the Day of Atonement points to the person and work of Jesus to our salvation and reconciliation. He embodies the old Israelite liturgy system in a new way in the New Covenant.
Now we understand that the feasts of the Hebrew calendar indicated the coming of Jesus and are therefore out of date. Jesus has already come and set up the New Covenant. So we know that God used the calendar as a tool to help us see who Jesus really is. Today, our focus is on the four main events in Christ's life - Jesus' birth, death, resurrection, and ascension. Yom Kippur pointed to reconciliation with God. If we want to understand what the New Testament teaches us about Jesus' death, then we should have in mind the Old Testament models of understanding and worship that are in God's covenant with Israel (the old covenant) are included. Jesus said they all bear testimony of him (John 5,39: 40).
In other words, Jesus is the lens through which we can properly interpret the whole Bible. The Old Testament (which includes the Old Covenant) we now understand through the lens of the New Testament (with the New Covenant, which Jesus Christ has fully fulfilled). If we proceed in reverse order, we come to the conclusion, based on wrong conclusions, that the New Covenant would only begin with the return of Jesus. This assumption is a fundamental mistake. Some mistakenly believe that we are in a transition period between the old and new covenants and are therefore obliged to keep the Hebrew feast days.
During his ministry on earth, Jesus explained the tentative nature of the Israelite worship liturgy. Although God had ordered a special form of worship, Jesus pointed out that it would change it. He emphasized this in conversation with the woman at the fountain in Samaria (John 4,1: 25). I quote Jesus, who explained to her that worship by God's people would no longer be central to Jerusalem or any other place. Elsewhere, he promised that wherever two or three would gather, he would be among them (Matthew 18,20). Jesus told the Samaritan woman that when he finished his work on earth there would no longer be anything like a holy place.
Please note what he told her:
- The time is coming that you will not worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem.
- The time is coming and it is now when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; because the father also wants such worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4,21: 24).
With this declaration, Jesus eliminated the meaning of the Israelite worship ceremony - a system that is in the Law of Moses (the old covenant) was prescribed. Jesus did this because in persona he would fulfill almost all aspects of this system - with the temple in Jerusalem as the center - in different ways. Jesus' declaration to the Samaritan woman shows that a large number of worship practices according to the previous literal way are no longer necessary. With Jesus' true worshipers no longer having to travel to Jerusalem, they can no longer abide by the rules set out in the Law of Moses, in which the ancient system of worship depended on the existence and use of the temple.
We are now abandoning the language of the Old Testament and turning to all of Jesus; we change from the shade to the light. For us, this means that we allow Jesus personally to determine our understanding of reconciliation in his capacity as the only mediator between God and humanity. As the Son of God, Jesus came into a situation whose circumstances had been prepared for him in Israel long before and acted lawfully and creatively to fulfill the whole Old Covenant, including the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.
In his book Incarnation, (Incarnation), The Person and Life of Christ explains to TF Torrance how Jesus accomplished our reconciliation with God: Jesus did not reject the sermons of John the Baptist about the announcement of judgment: in the life of Jesus as a person and especially through the death of Jesus , God does not judge evil by simply violently sweeping evil away with a swipe of the hand, but by fully immersing himself in the deepest root of evil to take on all pain, guilt and suffering. Since God himself intervenes to take on all human evil, his gentleness intervention has tremendous and explosive power. That is the true power of God. That is why the cross is (dying on the cross) with all his indomitable gentleness, patience and compassion, not just an act of enduring and visually stunning heroism, but the most powerful and aggressive act that heaven and earth have never experienced before: the attack of God's holy love against the inhumanity of man and against the tyranny of evil, against all the rising resistances of sin (Page 150).
Considering reconciliation merely as a legal settlement in the sense of re-understanding with God, this leads to a completely inadequate view, as unfortunately many Christians have today. Such a view lacks depth in relation to what Jesus did in our favor. As sinners, we need more than freedom from the penalty of our sins. It is necessary to us that even the death blow be transferred to sin in order to be exterminated out of our nature.
That is exactly what Jesus did. Instead of just treating the symptoms, he turned to the cause. This cause can be very appropriately called The Undoing of Adam (German: Adam Corruption and New Beginning), after a book by Baxter Kruger. This title says what Jesus finally achieved by reconciling people with God. Yes, Jesus paid the penalty for our sinfulness. But he did much more - he did cosmic surgery. He used a heart transplant for fallen, sinful mankind! This new heart is a heart of reconciliation. It is the heart of Jesus - the one who, as God and man, who is a mediator and high priest, is our Savior and older brother. Through the Holy Spirit, just as God promised through the prophets Ezekiel and Joel, Jesus brings new life into our dry limbs and gives us new hearts. In it we are a new creation!
Connected with you in the new creation,
GRACE COMMUNION INTERNATIONAL