What has the Old Testament got to do with the New? Is the God of Abraham and Sarah’s family and Moses’ Law and Joshua’s conquests and David’s war-won kingdom and Isaiah’s prophecies — is that the same God who shows up in Jesus of Nazareth?
Christians have asked this question for all twenty of our centuries, and we have mostly answered, “Yes!” But the answer doesn’t come without a struggle. You and I have made our way through the hardest parts of Israel’s history, when they were exterminating Canaanites and calling it God’s will. Marcion was a 2nd-century Christian from Pontus in the territory we call Turkey today. He’s the first we know to have proposed jettisoning the Old Testament. He even exacto-knifed out the more Old Testament-ish parts of the New Testament. Many have been tempted to follow his lead.
I’m glad they haven’t. The Letter to the Hebrews and the Letter of James give us an early window to Christians who understood Jesus as God’s next step with Israel. All Christianity began as Jewish Christianity – we sometimes forget that. Here are two authors who worked hard to understand what that meant. They can help us. Let’s read on!