C O U R S E L E C T U R E
Preparing for the Restoration
Notes taken on October 26, 2016 by Edward Tanguay
how to prepare for the restoration
John the Baptist insists that Israel prepare itself to meet the Messiah
if John proclaimed a baptism of repentance, and if Jesus consents to the proclamation of John, then we come to the conclusion that Jesus must have thought of himself as in need of forgiveness for his own sins
this conflicts with the church's claim that Jesus as the Son of God is sinless
the question becomes why Jesus is participating in this repentance that John the Baptist is proclaiming
the ancient Jews were more focused on the collective than on the individual
the issue of collective sin
as a member of a collectivity, we can be understood as bearing the cost of the sins of our forefathers
e.g. as Americans pay the cost of guilt for the slave trade of the 18th and 19th centuries
even though none of us bear any individual responsibility for the slave trade which occurred over 100 years ago
John Meier in "A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus"
Confession of sin in ancient Israel did not mean an unraveling of lengthy laundry-list of personal peccadilloes. Confession of sin often meant recalling god's gracious deeds for an ungrateful Israel, a humble admission that one was a member of this sinful people, a recounting of the infidelities and apostasies of Israel from early on down to one's own day, and a final resolve to change and be different from one's ancestors. Even apart from the question of one's particular personal sins, one was part of this history of sin simply because one was part of his sinful people."
one not take Meier's view on sin as authoritative
Jewish texts speak very clear on this
"O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens. Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt, and on account of our iniquities we, our kings and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity and to plunder and to open shame, as it is this day. Now, our God, what can we say in light of this? For we have abandoned the commands. You gave through Your servants the prophets, saying: “The land you are entering to possess is an impure land. The surrounding peoples have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness by their impurity and detestable practices."
it was the collective sin of the people which was of prime importance for John to collect the people and make them ready for this restoration
the gospels don't want to claim that Jesus has come out seeking John the Baptist for this baptism
as if he were worried about his own personal wrongdoing
what Jesus is doing by consenting to this baptism is expressing his solidarity with the people of Israel
he identifies himself with their plight
as the Son of God, Jesus is completely free of sin
his act of showing solidarity with Israel is an act of humility
as an act of sacrificial love, Jesus identifies with their ignoble state and assumes with the people of Israel, the posture of repentence that is appropriate and fitting for this nation
" And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
this verse recalls the elected status of the people of Israel
"And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn."
1. in Genesis, it was a struggle to understand what it meant to be God's beloved son
only after many chapters was Joseph able to come to the crucial insight that being chosen wasn't about power but about service
when we turn to the gospels
we ask about the challenge of the category of chosenness of Jesus' disciples
2. Jesus calls the 12 disciples
"Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him."
Jesus picks twelve disciples
Israel consisted of the twelve sons of Jacob
Jesus is going to preside over twelve disciples
his intention of picking twelve corresponded to the core of his proclamation to Israel: the coming of the kingdom of God, who would establish his rule definitely over a restored Israel