(If you’re just joining us, you’ll need to start with Part One for the series to make sense. Or wait until Monday, when we begin a new series!)
Today, we wrap up our sixteen-part series on Why Jesus? (don’t worry, I’m exhausted, too!), and look – very briefly – at how the next chapter of Israel’s story is to play out.
Yesterday, we saw how Jesus’ death makes sense not simply as an abstract sacrifice between God and humanity, but as the representative of Israel. Just as in his life Jesus became Israel’s representative (succeeding as God’s image-bearer, where they had failed), he did also in his death – bearing the consequences for their rebellion, dying a rebel’s death in their place at the hands of Rome. And we saw how Jesus was consciously drawing on the Old Testament image of the Suffering Servant (found in e.g. Isaiah 53), the innocent one who bears the sins of the guilty.
So far, so good. Historically speaking, a rebellion was averted, and Jerusalem was spared. For a few decades. Then they rebelled again, and Rome came and finished them off – destroying the temple in the process (AD70). Had anything changed? Was Jesus’ sacrifice for nothing?