The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative 8/19/12
Dr. Christopher Wright, the Director of of International Ministries for the Langham Partnership International, has authored “The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative“. SFOI being a missions ministry will intermittently share insights from Dr. Wright.
First, Dr. Wright begins Part I entitled “The Bible and Mission” on page 29 with the sentence, “Mission is what the Bible is all about; we could as meaningfully talk of the missional basis of the Bible as of the Biblical basis of mission. Now this is a bold claim. One would not expect to be able to turn the other way any phrase that began “The Biblical basis of….” There is, for example, a biblical basis for marriage, but there is not, obviously a marital basis for the Bible. There is a biblical basis for work, but work is not what the Bible is all about…..
Paragraph II page 29, “I take some encouragement in persisting with my claim from the words of the risen Jesus as recorded in Luke 24. First to the two on the road to Emmaus and then later to the rest of the disciples, Jesus made himself as Messiah the focus of the whole canon of Hebrew Scriptures that we now call the Old Testament (vv 27, 44). So we are accustomed to speaking of the Christological focus or center of the Bible. For Christians the whole Bible revolves around the person of Christ.
Paragraph III page 29, “Jesus went on, however, beyond his messianic centering of the Old Testament Scriptures to their missional thrust as well.
“Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “ Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:45-47).
Paragraph I page 30, “Jesus’ whole sentence comes under the rubric “this is what is written.” Luke does not present Jesus as quoting any specific verse from the Old Testament, but He claims that the mission of preaching repentance and forgiveness to the nations is “what is written.” He seems to be saying that the whole of the Scripture (which we now know as the Old Testament) finds its focus and fulfillment both in life and death and resurrection of Israel’s Messiah, and in the mission to all nations, which flows from that event. Luke tells us that with these words Jesus “opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures, ” or, as we might put it, He was setting their hermeneutical orientation and agenda. The proper way for disciples of the crucified and risen Jesus to read their Scriptures, is messianically and missionally.”
Paragraph II page 30, “Paul, though he was not present for the Old Testament hermeneutical lecture on the day of resurrection, clearly found that his encounter with the risen Jesus and his recognition of Jesus as Messiah and Lord radically transformed his (Paul’s) own way of reading his Scriptures. His hermeneutic now had the same double focus. Testifying before Festus he declares, “So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; 23 that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:22-23). This dual understanding of the Scriptures then shaped Paul’s whole resume as the apostle of the Messiah Jesus to the Gentiles.”