Monday, September 6, 2010

Quick Post: Jesus as Savior for All in the Birth Narratives

 Evidence of the Birth of Christ as Precursor to Saving the World

It is impossible to read through the narrative of the birth of Christ without seeing it was intended for Jesus to be the savior of the whole world, not only the Jews.  It is clear throughout the narrative that Jesus was going to be the Messiah, although many times it seems that he is only the savior for the Jews.  Verses such as Luke 1:32-33, 46-55, 68-69, 71, 74, 77, 2:38, and Matthew 1:21-23, and 2:6 all point to a savior of the Jews coming to earth, and that Jesus was this savior.
However, it is also clear this salvation was not only for the Jews.  In Luke 2:8-20, the angels announce the birth of Jesus, commenting in verses 10 and 11 that Jesus was/is a source of “great joy which shall be for all the people” for he was born “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  The angels then sing in verse 14, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”  Coupled with the above verse we can see that Jesus would be peace for all who were saved.  It is also telling, that peace with our fellow man follows after God is pleased and glorified.
Later, a man named Simeon tells of the salvation of the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, in Luke 2:29-32.  This shows the salvation was not reserved for the Jews, but instead for all that would please God, which we find out later in the Gospels happens by trusting in Jesus as savior.

3 comments:

Chris & Katie Seals said...

Do you think salvation expands out even farther than humanity? In the alternate ending of Mark, there is a command to preach the gospel to all creation. Do you take that as typical ancient near eastern hyperbole or do you think he meant it? If he did mean it, how do non-humans trust in Jesus as savior? Maybe this is cause for another blog post. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Gabriel Pagel said...

Chris,

I do not know what to think about the "salvation of all of creation." I do know that in scripture, it seems as though creation is yearning for the salvation of man, even to the point, that the creation's salvation might be tied to what happens with man as the epitome of the creation.

Also, I tend to think the act of creation itself was salvific in nature. When God formed order out of chaos, this seems to me to be a special act of salvation.

In addition, considering some passages point to a old creation, which is destroyed, and a new creation, which is perfect, the issue seems to be very complicated. If the old creation is destroyed, is this salvation?

Also, if the end of Mark is scripture, might John Mark be using the word as is typical of some writers to connote only that part of creation which really has a "mind" to choose? You know, like using common language, "the sun came UP" but we know it didn't go anywhere

All that to say, I truly have no idea. But I do focus on Humanity, because if God wants to save, say, rabbits, maybe he gave them special rabbit scriptures. (A little tongue in cheek there)

Chris & Katie Seals said...

I'm not sure I'd call man the epitome of creation, but I would agree that maybe animal, plant, and earth salvation is inextricably tied to the salvation of humanity. Since one of God's first commands to us was to till, exercise dominion, and care for the earth, "garden" at that point, maybe our sin has thrown everything very far out of whack. Is it possible that our redemption, will bring some order back to the chaos that nature is in?

I struggle with the old creation/new creation thing. I tend to think when Jesus says "behold I have made all things new" he's talking about a renewal of sorts... not really a brand new out of the impossible plastic wrap package type new. So if that's the case, I suppose the work of the people of God in the mean time could be a sort of shadow of salvation. And maybe the eschaton will bring about the fullness and completion of that salvation.

All that to say... I'm pretty unsure as well. I'm still trudging my way through that Animal Theology book. I'll let you know if I find anything juicy or useful.