Summer Book Review: “Knowing Jesus” [Ch. 6]

knowing Jesus PhotoToday we post the final segment in our summer book review on Wright’s Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament, a book I thoroughly enjoyed this past year. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, do so and read it around the Christmas holidays. It’ll be a great way to make the most of the season.

Chapter Six: Jesus and His Old Testament God

In what was a relatively short chapter for Wright, “Jesus and His Old Testament God” provides a concluding look at what the Old Testament proved and at what Matthew, in his opening narratives, showed: God had come, and his name was Jesus.

By using three sections—Jesus and the arrival of God, Jesus and the identity of God, and Jesus and the actions of God—to again connect the dots of the Old Testament and the life of Jesus, Wright wraps up his work in familiar style by being informative, insightful, and accurate. And because it is the shortest chapter of the six, there was little in the way of “extra” ground to cover or new information to unpack. It seemed once again to be a laser-like strike at the center of the target. This chapter undoubtedly proves itself to be a model conclusion.

In sync with his previous five chapters, Wright again starts with Matthew’s gospel, and through Scriptures, people, prophecies, terms, and even logic, Wright argues with convincing evidence that all of these elements set the stage “not just for the arrival of Jesus but for the arrival of the Lord himself—which in Old Testament terms, of course, meant the LORD, Yahweh, the God of Israel. God himself was on the way! Get the place ready!”[1]

I especially benefitted from the explanation of the two expressions or affirmations, what I call titles because of the specific nature of the words used, and how they relayed the core truth that Jesus was God. The first was “Jesus is Lord,” the second one “Come Lord Jesus.”

Specifically in regards to the latter one, Wright’s distinction that it is a prayer “addressed to Jesus, not just a hope expressed about Jesus” was insightful and gave me a fuller understanding of what this prayer is all about.

Concerning the affirmation “Jesus is Lord,” the table on the bottom of page 263 provides a good framework for seeing this from a 30,000-foot view. In seeing both testaments connected together by this phrase, we find ourselves undeniably confronted with the truth of the deity of Jesus Christ.

Wright concluded with a spectacular six-bullet summary that took his entire book and wrapped it up neatly and concisely, giving us a delightfully quick way to remember the overall gist of the book. In fact, I’d say by memorizing 12 simple words—story/historical, promise/covenantal, identity/representational, purpose/missional, values/ethical, and God/incarnational—one can keep the major themes of the book in mind so that it’s wealth of information isn’t lost.

Without a doubt, I’ll be reading this book again, probably near the holidays, and using it to better equip our people to deeply appreciate the historic, redemptive plan of God as seen in both the Old and New Testaments. After all, “the God who presents himself to us in the pages of the Old Testament as Yahweh is the God whom we know and see in the face of Jesus in the New Testament.”[2]

Chapter 1 Review   Chapter 2 Review   Chapter 3 Review   Chapter 4 Review    Chapter 5 Review

[1] Ibid, 253.

[2] Ibid, 277.


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