Thursday, January 10, 2019

Word and Deed Revelation

"It was the third hour when they crucified him" (Mark 15:25).

Radical liberal theologians like Rudolph Bultmann maintain that God is revealed only in events. They claim Scripture is not revelation, there is no revelation in words, and there is no revelation of God in nature. God, they say, is only revealed to us in wordless “encounters” or mystical experiences.

This is far removed from the biblical concept of revelation, which is multi-faceted. God reveals Himself in many ways. Today we want to focus on the necessary relationship between God’s acts and God’s words. Perhaps the best illustration of this relationship is the cross of Christ, which surely is the central event of all history. But what do we know about this event? What does it mean?
Here is a Jew being crucified outside Jerusalem. How would you interpret this event? How does the Man in the middle differ from the two crucified on either side of Him? How is His death different from theirs, if at all?

The Roman interpretation is that this Man is being charged, probably falsely, with insurrection. To prevent further trouble, however, He is being executed. The Jewish Sanhedrin is partly concerned that this Man’s teaching will upset the Romans and bring down their wrath upon Israel. They are also infuriated that this Man claims to be God in the flesh. One thief views Him as deluded, someone to be ridiculed, while the other sees Him as someone who might offer him entrance into God’s kingdom. These are interpretations of the event. Are they correct?

The New Testament writings are what tell us the true interpretation of this event. The New Testament says this Man was God Incarnate, the promised Messiah. His death effected cosmic redemption. They based this interpretation on writings in the Old Testament, which predicted and explained these events. In fact, into the second century of the church, the primary defense of the faith was made on the basis of predictive prophecy. Events without words are meaningless.

The primary defense of the faith continues to be based upon the Scriptures. If their authority is undermined and their inspiration denied, then the certainty of the faith is destroyed. Without a sure word from God, our hope of salvation is merely wish projection. Settle the question of authority or you will never have the assurance of salvation.