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!