Friday, September 16, 2011

Finding Jesus

Have you done the first part of our study?  If not check out this to catch up!

In this study, we are looking for Jesus in scriptures that tradition tells us point to Jesus.  In order to do this thoughtfully and faithfully, we first should think about Biblical Interpretation.  On one hand there is the way scholars interpret scripture--looking at the context and the time setting to see what the words mean.  This is helpful to let us understand the culture and undoubtedly some of the meaning behind scripture.  I might call this the Historical-Critical Method.  This was how we learned to read the bible in seminary.

On another hand is how the passage speaks to us--what does it say that impacts our lives.  I often think of the line "Morning by Morning new mercies I see!"  John Wesley spoke of scripture being doubly inspired--inspired when it was written, then inspired again when we read it.  I would call this reading scripture through my personal experience lens.

On another hand, is the tradition that we arrive from.  Since throughout the centuries church scholars have told us certain passages mean certain things, we believe it.  I've heard the line, "Everything happens for a reason" all my life.  Even though it might not be something I technically believe, I'll catch myself repeating it.  Sometimes our interpretation of scripture falls back on what we've always been taught to believe.  I might call this interpreting scripture through the eyes of faith.

Does this sound famliar?  Anything like the Wesleyan Quadrilateral?  

I think its hard to ever say scripture has one meaning!  I think God finds meaning in each verse at each point of each of our lives!  I think God tells us something different every time.  I believe that all three of these factors of biblical intepretation matter and are good.

With all of that being said, I have a really tough time seeing Jesus in the Deuteronomy passage in any way other than because the church scholars said he was there.  The passage to me could logically have pointed to Isaiah or Daniel or Amos or Micah.  

On the other hand, the images that point Jesus to David are lovely to me.  I absolutely see Jesus as the fulfillment of God's promise to David.  God no longer lives in a tent or a temple in Jerusalem--but lives in each of us!  More, every birth story that gives us a location has Jesus born in Bethleham!  The place where David was watching sheep when he was chosen to be KING!  Jesus was also chosen to be king--both by the Magi, and by God through baptism!  

Now, the exact lineage/genealogy seems a big tougher for me.  Mathew makes it clear in his Genealogy (1:1-17) that Mary was a descendant of David.  Matthew was writing to Jewish audiences and this was important to them.  Luke traces the lineage back a little differently (3:23-38).  He traces it through Joseph.  That always caught me as a little off.  Then I realized that in fact Joseph was important to Jesus's upbringing, faith, and claim to the people.  Joseph may not be a "physical" part of Jesus' make up, but he was important to the whole picture!  So, there too is another fulfilled prophesy!

So, what do you think?  Which method of interpretation do you most often use when you study the bible?  Where has God spoken to you today?  More, what "new mercies" have you seen today and in our study?

You have made the blind see and the deaf hear.  You have soften the hardest hearts.  Work now in us, so that through studying your word, your story, and your way, we might be better followers.  Work now in us so that we can love you more and know you better.  Let us go change the world with your love and by your grace!
In your Precious name we pray!


Martha J. M. Orlando said...

When I do my daily Bible readings to prepare for my devotionals, I listen for the verse God is choosing for me to expound on that day. It may be one I am "seeing" for the first time or one that I've read a thousand times, but is speaking to me in a fresh, new, and personal way. I love seeing these moments as you described: new mercies.

I was so impressed with the comments left by participants on our first round of questions; I felt they were so complete in thought and reflection, I simply didn't have anything to add. I'll try to jump in first next time!:)


Lynne Watts said...

The miracle of the Bible is that it speaks to me differently every time I read it. Sometimes I imagine myself in the story and add details, thoughts, feelings that aren't expressed but may have been there. Sometimes it speaks directly to my current situation, I am comforted and inspired. Sometimes it is less personal, more like catching up on history that doesn't really seem related to me.

Lindsay said...

I think it is easier for me to find the personal connection in studying the Bible, but I also think it is important for me to understand the original context and meanings.

I have to say, that I was a little relieved that the Deuteronomy passage was tough for you to see Jesus in too... I was all worried I had missed something obviously ;-)

Kennesaw UMC said...

The post scheduled today will post tomorrow. Sorry for the mistake! I've got almost no connectivity in kentucky! Pray for me! Ha!

Carol Flores said...

It is amazing how the Bible can reveal different things depending on the eyes you are looking through or the situation you find yourself in. I am excited that through this study I will see things through all of your eyes in addition to mine. That in itself will be yet another "new mercy"! Amen!