...while Jesus’ life story discloses God’s relation to creation, that relation is only understood by first grasping what went before. Our Lord’s narrative recapitulates Israel’s narrative. First, Jesus relives Israel’s wilderness wandering, and he reverses Adam’s failure by defeating the Tempter. Next, Jesus reveals his superiority to Moses by miraculously feeding the multitude. The Old Testament lesson for Morning Prayer this past Thursday recounted Pharaoh’s attempt to execute all male Hebrew babies—which foreshadows Herod’s attempt to kill Jesus by murdering all male babies around Bethlehem. But before Herod could lay hand on Jesus, the Holy Family took flight to Egypt, which reminds us of Israel’s sojourn there.
This week’s gospel reading culminates in a startling claim: “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). “I AM,” of course, refers to the Hebrew YHWH, the sacred name of the Lord God, who first bestowed upon himself that title in Exodus 3—tomorrow morning’s Old Testament lesson.
These are the echoes of the Old Testament in just a few of our Lenten readings.... I’d urge all of you to revisit the felt-board stories of Sunday School. Be attentive to the Old Testament lessons in Morning and Evening Prayer. Because knowing Jesus means knowing his story, and his story is the story of Israel.
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