As I was reading the devotional Seeking God’s Face this morning, the New Testament gospel reading caught my attention. In John 2:13-22 the disciples were doing almost the same thing we’ve been doing at New Hope Church in recent years; connecting a present day truth of Jesus Christ to a long ago truth of (the Spirit of) Jesus Christ. Read the passage and see if you can see it (it happens twice!).
Even as Jesus is turning the tables on all of the church marketing agencies filling the temple, the disciples, “remembered that it is written: ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.” (Jn 2:17). They connected what Jesus was feeling and doing, right before their eyes, with heart of God defining truth from Psalm 69 (v9). They connected present day divine revelation with long-ago divine revelation. Imagine what it must have felt like for them, “Whoa, he’s doing what the poets and prophets (inspired by the Spirit) foretold! Surely he is who he says he is.” By connecting the two revelations, a greater understanding of Jesus resulted.
Then, later on in the passage, it happens again. Only this time the disciples made the connection in retrospect. After Jesus finished upsetting the temple, the religious leaders asked him for a sign to prove he had the authority to do what he did. Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three days.” While they thought he meant the physical temple, he was actually referring to his own body, and its future resurrection. At first the disciples didn’t make the connection. Only after Jesus’ resurrection did they connect the dots. Same math as above; present day prophetic words from the mouth of Christ connected to a ‘future’ action by the person of Christ.
Read the words of Matthew. He connects prophesies from the Old Testament to the real time (his time) actions of Jesus all over his gospel account. This is that. Jesus then, foretold. Jesus now, told. Jesus then, whispered by the Holy Spirit (via the Father and the Son). Jesus now, speaking directly.
And then, turn the tables to what we’re doing today, Jesus then, showing and telling. Jesus now, whispering via the Holy Spirit.
And we get to connect the two revelations… and experience epiphanies on par with the disciples! Very cool connection.
(Postscript: There’s a book to be written on the idea presented above. Take every single New Testament reference to/quote of the Old Testament, note how it uniquely makes the NT/OT, two book, connection, then translate what you see into a present day two book context. Applied to the above it might look like this – sometimes the Holy Spirit will move through your passions/emotions/zeal. Written down biblical revelation will make the connection via your feelings. So don’t get caught up on insisting on just written text to written text, two book connections. Even as the Spirit moved to inspire the writer of Psalm 69 via the creative act of writing a poem, so too the Spirit will move in your imagination, passions and emotions to recieve and resurrect that anciently scribed revelation.)