Jesus came for all of us, right? That’s what every Easter message tomorrow will proclaim—that Jesus died for you and for me, even if we’re Irish or German or Greek. Jesus came for all of us, not just the Jews.
So then, why not erase all of parts of the Bible between Genesis 3—the part where our sin problem began, until Matthew 1—where Jesus solved the problem? If we erased the parts that came after the fall and before the cross, would we lose anything?
In Genesis 12, God chooses Abraham and gives him a bunch of promises, specific to his family. Then throughout the rest of the Old Testament, we see this family become a great nation, we watch them escape slavery, receive prophesies, and enter the promised land. But what is the point?
Is it that God wanted a group of people to have a set of deified binoculars? Did he want the Jews to be the ones watching and waiting for Jesus to come, and anticipating his arrival? After all, it would be pretty anticlimactic if the Son of God showed up, and nobody was excited about it. So is this the point?
The Binoculars Didn’t Work
If the anticipation of Jesus coming through the line of Abraham was the point, then the plan miserably failed. Because when Jesus arrived, the Jewish religious leaders—the ones holding the deified binoculars and tasked with keeping watch and getting everyone ready—didn’t even recognize him. Not even when he was standing right in front of them.
They did not see Jesus as the fulfillment of all of the prophecies and promises; They saw him as an blasphemous impostor, and they had him killed on a Roman cross.
The binoculars weren’t broken; the religious leaders were. They were selfish and proud and hard hearted, and it blinded them to the truth. And even those who loved Jesus and were devoted to him, fled in confusion when he was arrested instead of crowned.
So, what then? Should we get our erasers out? Since the Jewish people failed to recognize Jesus as the great fulfillment, and since Jesus came for all the rest of us anyway, should we start tearing pages from our Bibles?
No! Heaven forbid. Here’s why: The promises and prophesies made to Abraham and then Israel weren’t just to help them know what was going to happen; they were to help them know God.
Erasing My Engagement Story
I think erasing Abraham (and the following chapters leading up to the New Testament) from God’s story would be like erasing the engagement story from mine.
If you’ve know me long, you’ve heard the story about Ken proposing by the river, and the ring dropping out of the box without him realizing. But then there’s the part about me realizing—just before he jumped into the river to save the ring—that no, it wasn’t an acorn that had fallen into my lap as he was proposing; it was the ring!
It’s a great story. But without the story of the proposal, you wouldn’t have the following stories—of the engagement and wedding and marriage.
It’s true that I could potentially meet Ken today, and notice that he is a faithful man. But that’s nothing like knowing his faithfulness as my husband of over twenty-five years. I know him intimately, and his faithfulness has a far greater impact on me as a wife, than it could ever have as a distant stranger.
I would go so far as to say that if you erased Ken from my life, or if he had not been faithful to me as a husband for all these years, I wouldn’t be the same person that I am today. His faithfulness over time, and from within covenant relationship has shaped the person I’ve become.
Becoming the Faithful
The whole point of this story which stretches over centuries from Genesis 3 to Matthew 1 is God’s faithfulness. And this faithfulness is demonstrated over time, and from within a covenant relationship.
As generations passed, the people of Israel weren’t just discovering that God was faithful from a distance; they were experiencing his faithfulness from within a covenant. Sometimes they were faithful. Other times they weren’t. But always, God kept his promises. Always, God was faithful.
And as we read those precious pages of Genesis, Exodus and beyond, we treasure up these precious truths for ourselves. It happened to them, but it was written for us, too—that we might come to know God. He wants for us, too, to be shaped by his promises.
Knowing him to be faithful transforms us into the faithful.
That’s the point our Bible is making. That’s why we can’t erase Abraham, the nation of Israel, the law and the prophets. Because each page of the story reinforces God’s faithfulness. But is there any place that God’s faithfulness is more evident than on the cross?
An Easter Invitation
If you’ve experienced God’s faithfulness from within relationship—or even if you’re just considering God’s invitation to relationship, here’s your invitation: Take some time, this Easter, to consider each drop of blood that stained that Roman cross, and each ray of sunlight that penetrated that empty tomb. Draw near to the God who proves himself faithful to his own.Knowing him to be faithful transforms us into the faithful. Click To Tweet