Thursday, August 20, 2015

Walking with Jesus through His Word

Walking with Jesus through His Word, by Dennis E. Johnson has a subtitle as well: Discovering Christ in All the Scriptures, published by P&R Publishing. Johnson is professor of practical theology at Westminster Seminary California. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and author of many books and commentaries. Johnson claims that the sixty-six books of the Christian Scriptures, the Bible, "are bound together by a central theme, a single plotline, and a unique Hero, Jesus the Messiah." His book attempts to prove this theory, using the names and stories, and incidents that happened throughout early biblical history. You might expect him then to begin with Adam, but no, he begins with two disciples walking home from a difficult day in Jerusalem, when a young man joins them on their way. They don't recognize Jesus and he begins to tell them of "all the things beginning with Moses and all the Prophets that concerned himself" (Luke 24:27).

And so the journey begins. Using the metaphor of going on a journey, Johnson tells it all in six parts. In the last part he discusses how walking with Jesus through his Word changes us. And, it's quite amazing how he weaves in the many leaders and their stories, such as Moses, David, Jeremiah, "the Torah-loving man of Psalm 1," and others who served as prophets, priests, and kings.

In the end, Johnson names Jesus as the Final Prophet, Perfect Priest, and King of Kings. He remembers who they were in ancient Israel and how they now come under the guidance of Jesus: "the Son who reveals to us the will of God for our salvation; the priest who reconciles us to God; and the king, who rules over all." Johnson hopes walking through God's Word with Jesus, "we will find that our living Savior is moving us to marvel and worship, to hope and trust, to become more like him."

I wonder if Jesus expected that those who served in the synagogue and temple, and those who were disciples and new believers, both Jew and Gentile, would now come together as God's people. In his Gospel, Luke writes that Jesus said, "'I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God....' so he continued proclaiming the message of God in the synagogues" (Luke 4:43, 44). And in Luke 24:44, Luke writes that Jesus said to the disciples: "'everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.' Then he opened their eyes to understand the Scriptures."

He must have been disappointed when the two groups did not and have not come together yet. Perhaps it will happen when he comes again! Be ready!

---Lois Sibley