Archive for April 5th, 2010

Mission of GOD – 9

I suppose at some point Chris Wright has to get round to the new testament. Even if it only is in the last chapter –  GOD in the nations in the New Testament mission.

There is a bit of a change when it comes to the NT – it becomes something we might more recognisably call “missions” – in the sense that we’ve misunderstood it to be.

In the NT we see people going out to the countries and communities around them and living and declaring something – clearly inviting others to be a part of something.

This seems quite different to the often insular appearing nation of Israel – who were no doubt something watched by the nations if not actively pursuing them.

The first radical thing to note in the NT is in the first chapter in Matthew. In the rather odd (to us at least) genealogy we find the names of some rather suspicious characters – not only women but gentile women!

And we see Jesus spending time with gentiles – the pagans we’ve heard so much about. Now it may not be his primary focus but it’s definitely there.

Peter and Philip continue this in Acts with two key events – the Ethiopian eunuch and Cornelius. The mission of GOD appears to be moving outward more and more – as was promised from the very beginning.

Wright spends some time on the servant chapters of Is 40-55. He describes the servant as one who:

seems to oscillate between a corporate embodiment of Israel and its mission, on the one hand, and an individual figure who has a mission to Israel and beyond, on the other.

He identifies the first as something that refers to Jesus as the restorer of Israel and the second as the task now entrusted to the church.

Which is yet another reason transfarmer should read this book so I don’t have to muddle myself poorly answering her rather perceptive and insightful questions on the role of the church and the kingdom in the pub.

The redemption of Israel has begun but it is not yet complete. The kingdom of GOD is here, just not in its final fullness. The eschatological temple is being rebuilt in the new community of GOD’s people.

Wright also points out something I’d never quite grasped before. That it isn’t all about Israel (as important as Israel’s place is in theology) – that GOD is making a community of people that includes both Israel and the nations but not the nations dissolving into Israel. Remember that the covenant promises made to Abraham were before Israel was a twinking in GODs eye (well maybe not but you get what I mean).

GOD is seeking to restore humanity to pre-fall, pre-Babel – the nations gathered together but instead of making towers to their own greatness they live in knowledge and worship of YHWH.

This mission of GOD, his will to be known, to bring order to chaos as Zoomtard put it the other night is GOD’s mission. I forget that too easily. Reading this book has put a number of things right in my thinking.



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