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The One True Story: Daily readings for Advent from Genesis to Jesus – Tim Chester

December 18, 2016

totsThis book wasn’t what I was expecting because I had believed an erroneous review that said it worked through Jesus’ family tree, which would have been interesting.

The title is off-putting – is here only one story that is true? What about other faiths?

My hackles rose upon reading, ‘Jesus died bearing the penalty of our sin ‘

The author confuses the symbolism of East versus West, gathered versus scattered.

He has a very odd eisegeses of the rock struck by Moses to bring out water. He sees it as God being punished, which doesn’t appear anywhere in the text.

He seems to think that the Jews ceased to be God’s chosen people in the desert under Moses, which flies in the face of scripture.

He believes in a literal, physical ascension.

He regards Isaiah as being the same person who wrote the whole prophecy and who, therefore, foretold the homecoming even before the exile.

I like test the protestant author made the connection between the woman of Revelation 13 and Our Lady. Also the hint that the Ark of the Covenant iss an archetype of Mary.

On the right days we get O Sapientia – Wisdon – and Adonai – Lord but not the other great Os of Advent.

Some of his anecdotes bear little relevance to the material that follows.

Where was the proof reader at: “…he has anointed me to proclaim good new to the poor”?

I didn’t find the meditations at the end of each chapter illuminating. They were just quotations from hymns.

Quotations:

Children love doing the same thing over and over again. My two­year-old friend Tayden loves it when I throw him over my shoulder, and dangle him down my back with one hand while I reach round with the other hand so I can scoop him round, flipping him over in the process, to land him on his feet by my side. “Again!” he cries.”Again!” “Again!”

His capacity to do it again always exceeds mine. His joy is undiminished by repetition. It’s as if it’s always new for him. Children have a delight in the world because to them it’s new Too often the rest of us have grown old and weary of the simple joys of life.

But the life Of Jesus is always new And the joy of Jesus is always fresh. Proverbs 8 personifies Wisdom and celebrates its role in creation.The New Testament suggests Jesus is that Wisdom. And in Proverbs 8 v 30-31 Wisdom-Jesus says: Then I was constantly at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in the human race.

“Delighting day after day” “Rejoicing always.”

Hebrews 2 v 10 says he was made “perfect through what he suffered”. That doesn’t mean he had a fault that needed straightening out. It means he became perfectly equipped to save us.

You can imagine the first Christians saying to their Jewish friends, “You say Jesus can’t be the promised new David because of his humble life and his early death? But don’t you remember the story of David? Don’t you remember the sufferings David had to endure? Haven’t you sung David’s psalms of lament? If Israel’s greatest king had to suffer before he came to throne, then why not Israel’s ultimate King?”

This appears to be Matthew’s point in the odd little episode with which he closed his nativity story:

But when [Joseph] heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene. Matthew 2 v 22-23

Here’s the problem. Nowhere in the Old Testament does it say the Messiah would be called a Nazarene. Maybe Matthew has in mind Samson, who was a kind of Nazirite, but Jesus doesn’t fit the requirements of a Nazirite (he doesn’t abstain from wine, for example). More likely, when Matthew uses “Nazarene”, he’s using a well-known, derogatory slang term for someone coming from an insignificant place like Nazareth in Galilee. That’s how Nathanael uses the term when he says, “Nazareth? Can anything good come from there?” (John 1 v 46) “Can God’s King be a country bumpkin from Hicksville?” we might say today.

So Matthew doesn’t have a specific verse in mind. That’s why he talks about “the prophets” (plural) rather than a specific, named prophet. He’s alluding to the theme in the story of Israel, especially in the story of David, that God’s King will come from “Nowhere-town”.

Instead of undermining his claims, the humble origins of Jesus actually reinforce his claims to be God’s anointed King.

One of the most enduring British legends is that of King Arthur. We love the stories of the sword from the stone, the quest for the holy grail, and the partnership with Merlin.We love the tales of the knights of the round table: their exploits, their courage, their honour. And then there is the promise that Arthur will return when the nation is under threat. A few good contenders for moments of national peril have come and gone with no sign of Arthur. So perhaps we shouldn’t bank too much on him turning up.

A similar expectation grew in Israel around the rather more historical figure of King David—only this expectation was backed up by the firm and sure promise of God…. With a few exceptions, the trajectory from David onwards was firmly set in a downwards direction. Successive kings in both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah did not follow God and led the people astray. And so the expectation grew, fuelled by God’s prophets, that God would send a new King David—an ultimate Messiah or Christ. This King would rescue Israel from her enemies, rule in justice and make her a light to the nations.

Sinners, wrung with true repentance,

Doomed for guilt to endless pains,

Justice now revokes the sentence,

Mercy calls you—break your chains.

Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King. (From “Angels from the realms of glory” by James Montgomery)

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