Typology/Symbolism/Biblical Parallels

Stones and Bread

The devil is not just simply interested in Jesus doing a magic trick in his presence (Mat. 4:3), rather there is much significance in the language used in this passage. Stones are dead, unmovable. Jesus at one time used similar language when he said he would turn stones into children for Abraham (Mat. 3:9). There is a sharp contrast. Stones represent immaturity; a form of incomplete kingdom. If Jesus turns stones into bread, He will be inheriting an incomplete kingdom. But the Father wants Him to conquer a complete kingdom (Psalm 2); a kingdom conquered through death; the death of the cross (Phil. 2:8). Jesus will turn stones into bread, but the time for eating is not yet. As my good friend Bill Smith observes:

If Jesus turns stones to bread at this point in time, it will ultimately do no good. The Devil is tempting him to seize kingship without the cross. But it is only through the cross that the true Bread of Life can be given. Jesus will become that new bread through death and resurrection.

Suffering and Glory in Transfiguration

It is quite stunning that the Transfiguration of our Lord and the Crucifixion share so many parallels. In liturgical churches, Transfiguration Sunday is followed by the Lenten Season. Indeed, there is great beauty in the liturgical order of the Church: it reflects the liturgical order of Scriptures. David Garland summarizes these parallels:

“Jesus is surrounded by two celebrated saints of old; on the cross he will be surrounded by two criminals. . . . On the mount of transfiguration, Jesus’ garments glisten in his glory; at Golgotha, his garments have been taken from him in his humiliation. . . . In both scenes, there is mention of Elijah . . . and of great fear at divine manifestations. . . . In the first, Jesus is confessed as the son of God by a divine voice; in the second, by his executioners, Roman soldiers. . . . Both scenes are witnessed by his followers: the first by the inner circle of disciples; the second, by women from afar. These parallels reveal that, for Matthew, Jesus’ suffering and glory can be seen properly only as two sides of the same coin.”

Theology of “chabod”

Gil Bailie’s lecture “Famished Craving” argues that “the experience of secular desacralization is the experience of Ichabob.” In Ichabod the glory has departed (the opposite is the Hebrew chabod, glory); there is, however, a type of desacralization that is good. In the days of Jeremiah, the people were acting arrogantly because of the presence of the temple. Their dependence on the temple, rather than on Yahweh was their downfall; their ichabod. They needed to desacralize their temple. In other words, they needed to place the temple in its proper context of dependence. Jeremiah, however, prophecies of a day when dependence on the true temple–Jesus Christ (John 1)–will be our chabod; our glory.

Love is inebriating…

Love leads to a sober intoxication. The lover in the Songs is inebriated with erotic language. Eroticism is the language of Bride and Groom. Eroticism is the deepest description of how Yahweh intimately engages His Bride. The Bride is filled with love and wonder and the Groom finds her beauty better than wine.

The merciful One…

Yahweh is the merciful One (Exodus 34). Jesus is Yahweh in the flesh. He embodies mercy.

Jesus as Center

Pastor Al Stout observed that in Matthew 4:12-17 Jesus does not begin his preaching ministry by going to the center of the Pharisees’ world–Jerusalem–because He himself has become the center of the world. No longer should the nations flock to Jerusalem, but they must now come to Jesus who has become the new Jerusalem.

The Story of the Bible in One Sentence

Doug Wilson writes:

Scripture tells us the story of how a Garden is transformed into a Garden City, but only after a dragon had turned that Garden into a howling wilderness, a haunt of owls and jackals, which lasted until an appointed warrior came to slay the dragon, giving up his life in the process, but with his blood effecting the transformation of the wilderness into the Garden City.

See how others summarized the Scriptures.

Double Death…

Chiastically, Jim Jordan argues in his recently released paper– on the structures of the gospel of Matthew–that the “martyrdom of the little children is prophetically related to the coming of the destruction of Jerusalem.” The martyrdom of the little children is avenged by the destruction of the guilty in AD 70.

Jesus, the New Samson

David Garland believes Matthew is making a word play on the word “nazarite.” By doing so, he is comparing Jesus to Samson. Like Samson, Jesus  “was made holy to God from his mother’s womb (Judges 16:17) and was to save Israel from its enemies (Judges 13:5). Like Samson, Jesus is a specially consecrated person who will save his people. Like Samson, Jesus will save his people through his own death” (Reading Matthew, 31).

Innocence and Guilt…a connection

While Mary was with Elizabeth for three months, John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb (Luke 1:41). It was during this time where Mary supposedly betrayed Joseph while betrothed. As Matthew one unfolds, the angel confirms Mary’s innocence to Joseph. While Mary was innocent, the same John who leaped in the presence of his God would grow up to challenge the religious leader of the day of betraying his own brother by taking his wife (Matthew 14:3). One was innocent, the other guilty.