For many years, I have found the Old Testament to contain a wealth of information about Jesus. And quite frequently I find myself in the minority. There are a lot of people who miss out on so much of the richness of the New Testament, because they discount or discard the Old Testament. What they seem to be missing is that while Jesus was living and teaching what would become the New Testament, he was living in an Old Testament culture, and the bible that he was reading, that he was memorizing, that he was quoting, that he was using in his ministry, that he was living, was the Old Testament. The New hadn’t yet been written.
And so, I jumped at the chance to be a member of Robby Gallaty’s Launch Team for his new book The Forgotten Jesus: How Western Christians Should Follow and Easter Rabbi. (Zondervan, 2017).
First and foremost, and something we shouldn’t ever forget, is that Jesus was a Jewish man living 2000 years ago in a Jewish culture. He also didn’t have blond hair and blue eyes. Still today context and culture are important things to be aware of, and the same thing was true in Jesus' time. Gallaty has obviously done his research and we benefit from his hard work.
If you’ve been around church for a while, you’ve heard the stories, the parables, the accounts of miracles. Hopefully if you’ve been around church for a while, you’ve also read those stories for yourself. They’re found in a book called the Bible. The thing is though, that things that would have been so apparent and obvious to the people with whom Jesus had contact, often leave us scratching our heads: what are they talking about?
Granted, not everyone has the desire to become an Old Testament scholar so that they can better understand the New Testament. And that’s assuming that they’ve also become a New Testament scholar so they can better live out their Christian faith. Having said that, insights into the prevailing culture help us to better understand the gospel. And Robby does a great job of giving examples. He explains why finding a man carrying a jug of water would be easy in a crowded city (see Mark 14:12-15, and remember that carrying water was considered to be woman’s work). What about a fig tree with no figs so upset Jesus (Mark 11:20-21)?
Many people have a mistaken idea of who Jesus really was. We look at the Renaissance era paintings and get a picture in our minds; we hear sermons, and take the preachers word that he knows what the passage really means. At some point we need to dig a little deeper and find out just who Jesus was, and then make the decision to follow.
Bonus information includes the F-260 reading plan. A bible reading plan that allows you to read Mon-Friday, with time on the weekends to catch up if you happen to miss a day.
I received a copy of this book as a member of the Launch Team. Thanks Robby, for the pleasure and the privilege!