Of course there are a few key proof texts that can be used in isolation, but really it is the whole storyline of the Bible that, when brought together, can leave us with no other impression than this: Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God because ‘in him the whole fullness of deity dwells’ (Col 2.9).
I see this all the time in studying, but thought I’d just share this one because it struck me as particularly glorious today.
I’m studying to preach the last half of Mark 10 (verses 32-52). In this section Jesus prophesies his coming death and resurrection, in which he will bear the wrath of God (handed over to the Gentiles, drinking the cup, enduring the baptism — all biblical images for the wrath of God) in order to ‘ransom’ (could also be translated ‘redeem’) ‘many.’
Now, right away that should stick out to us for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is Psalm 49.7, which says, ‘Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life.’ So how can Jesus, then, if he is just a man, ransom ‘many’ with his life? Something bigger is clearly happening here. That gets drawn out more as we turn to Isaiah 44.
The burden of this section of Isaiah (40-48) is twofold: (1) God will redeem his people from exile — a second ‘Exodus’; and (2) the fact that he announces beforehand what he will do is what clearly sets him alone apart as God. That God has the power to act to redeem his people and the ability to declare the future before it happens are the two things that make it clear to Israel that he is God and there is no other.
So I find it pretty awesome that in Mark 10, just before Jesus enters Jerusalem to be rejected by Israel he is (1) declaring that he will redeem his people, and, (2) declaring it in advance, before it comes to pass. For anyone with eyes to see, it’s there to be seen.
What I love though, is that if you read Isaiah 44 in light of Mark 10 and Jesus’s impending conflicts in Jerusalem, it becomes even more glorious:
- I am the Lord … who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish (Isa 44.24-25)
- [I am the Lord … who says] of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’ (Isa 44.28)
Isn’t that exactly what Jesus is about to do, beginning in the very next chapter? Confrontation after confrontation with the ‘wise’ of Israel, until no one dares to ask him any more questions, because he turns them back in their ‘wisdom,’ making their foolishness evident to all (Mark 12.34). And isn’t the very charge brought against him by the Sanhedrin that the temple will be destroyed (Mark 13) but that he will ‘lay the foundation’ and rebuild it (Mark 14.58)?
As the narrative of Jesus’s life unfolds, the gospel writers make it clear for any with ears to hear: this Jesus does what God himself said only he could do. From the forgiving of sins and the cleansing of sinners to the ransoming of a people and the rebuilding of the true temple, all has been declared ahead of time that when Jesus comes we will know that in him we see our God.