October 15, 2012 by Jason Hood
In Eccl Hist 1.7, Eusebius cites from Julius Africanus on his reconciliation of Jesus’ genealogies and on the nature of genealogical tradition in Judaism. One of the interesting tidbits from that section is the understanding that resurrection was far from clear in the OT. Because “a clear hope of resurrection was not yet given they had a representation of the future promise by a kind of mortal resurrection, in order that the name of the one deceased might be perpetuated” (1.7.2).Given that evangelicals struggle with the relative lack of clarity on resurrection in the OT, it’s interesting that Julius and (perhaps) Eusebius take it at face value. Paul and the author of Hebrews both make a similar connection as they tie the promise of Isaac to resurrection in Romans 4 (especially 4:17) and Hebrews 11:11-12, 17-19.Consider Jesus’ logic against the anti-resurrection Sadducees in this light: if God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, then he is the God of the living, and resurrection is secure . . . not least because Isaac and Jacob sprang from the “dead” bodies of Abraham and Sarah.1 Comment
May 20, 2011 by Jason Hood
I ended Part One by mentioning Romans 8:17, which contains Paul’s challenging caveat—“…if we share in his sufferings.” Some attempt to explain this verse as merely passive participation in Jesus’ suffering for sinners. But Paul is simply repeating the same requirement given by Jesus in each of the four gospels: he requires self-denial and cross-bearing from every disciple.
Christians are predestined to morph into the shape of the Messiah: a resurrection body in the future, a cross and suffering in the present. As Calvin put it, in the present time, “to be elect is to be marked out for slaughter.” While Paul regards Jesus as the Passover Lamb (1 Cor 5:7) who takes away the penalty of sin, Jesus is not the only sheep to be slaughtered. After describing the glorious inheritance for the saints and the blessing of being free from condemnation, Paul cites Psalm 44 and applies it to believers:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Rom 8:36-37)
The preposition used to describe the location of Christian conquerors is in all these terrible things–not apart from them. The Messiah conquered sin and death in suffering and sacrifice; our share in that victory will follow his example. Each word in the list of tragedies and difficulties here is also found in the different versions of Paul’s résumé in Corinthians, with one exception: when writing Corinthians, Paul has not yet been put to the sword. Such experiences are neither tragic nor shameful, but opportunities to experience the unfailing love of God and to contribute through suffering for the kingdom. When he and other belivers suffer after the pattern of a rejected Messiah, they fulfill OT prophecy.
While we are on this cross-shaped path Paul does not want us to lose sight of the destiny we share in Jesus as fully human children of God, resurrected and reigning in God’s creation. That is what the Son of God is from Adam until Jesus. That is what Jesus’ siblings will be, which is why Paul tells the Roman Christians that they are not fully adopted until their bodies are fully redeemed (8:23). Only then will they be able to inherit, as “heirs of God and co-heirs of the Messiah (8:16),” the whole redeemed world, the cosmos that was promised to Abraham and his descendants (4:13).1 Comment
May 17, 2011 by Jason Hood
I’m co-teaching through Romans in several church contexts at the moment, and today I’ll begin a short series discussing some aspects of perhaps my favorite chapter in the Bible: Romans 8.
I’m not going to go verse-by-verse. Instead, I’m going to start with one main theme that really jumps out from the chapter–sonship–and try to build on that theme in future posts. We’ll start in the middle of the chapter, and move backward and forward in future posts as needed.
Paul ties our humanity to Jesus’ humanity when he says that, having received full adoption by the Spirit, “we cry out Abba (Father)” (Rom 8:15). “Abba” is important not because it means Daddy, Pops, or some other affectionate term, but because Jesus used this term in his native Aramaic. Our use of the same language is a sign that we receive the Father’s love for Jesus and his status as heir of all things: “heirs of God and co-heirs of Christ” (8:16).
Paul takes this teaching straight into imitation. He follows Jesus in noting that a path of suffering is non-negotiable: “If we are God’s children, we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs of Christ, if we share in his suffering in order that we might share in his glory.” (Rom 8:17).
Later in the same chapter, Paul describes the glorious destiny of believers. They are “predestined to be conformed to the image of the Son” (Rom 8:29), “glorified” (8:30): they are destined to be Truly Human after the pattern of Jesus. But verse 17 stands as an affront to easy-believism and the “cheap grace” critiqued by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a grace that grabs the benefits of Jesus while refusing his burdens.
Here is Romans 8 (Part Two).
 The English title of his classic reference is Cost of Discipleship, but I’ve always been struck by the German title, which is simply, “Discipleship”. 2 Comments