There are times when I struggle with Jesus because the picture that has been painted of Him by the world (and let’s face it, some so-called "Christians" as well) is not who He claims to be in the Scriptures. It follows then that the Jesus I am struggling with is not the real Jesus, but a hijacked Jesus.
It is common in our day, and in many days of the past, to pit the Jesus of the Gospels against the God of the Old Testament and against the writings of the Apostles and their companions. This is a tactic of a so-called Christianity that does not have as its foundation that God’s Word is just that, God’s Word. In other words, it is not a “faith” that has any substance.
Biblical and Historic Christianity has held that the words of the Old Testament and the words of the New Testament are congruent with each other, because, even though they are the words of men, they are also words which are inspired by God (2 Pet. 1:21). There is no room for a seminar on the doctrine of inspiration here, and there is no need, since materials are readily available and accessible. What I want to draw attention to is the idea that Jesus was somehow saying anything different in the New Testament than He was saying in the Old Testament.
Yes, Jesus spoke in the Old Testament. “How is this possible?” you ask. It goes back to our fundamental understanding that both the OT and NT are God’s Word, and Jesus is God (the Second person of the Triune Monotheistic God of Christianity), therefore, they are the words of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You have to jettison the Trinity, or come up with some convoluted theory that the OT authors were merely writing down what they were interpreting God as saying then to only have Jesus come along later to correct it. This results in the hijacking of Jesus.
Here’s what I mean: those of us who are in the stream of historic and biblical Christianity are accused of misrepresenting Jesus when we quote Paul or refer to an OT passage to answer a question, as if these sources are not also the words of Jesus. Simply because Jesus did not address a particular topic in his ministry on earth (which we may or may not know, cf. John 21:25), does not imply that Jesus is not in agreement with Paul or the OT. In fact, we submit that there is perfect congruity.
This does not mean that there are not also some difficulties we encounter when addressing such issues as the Mosaic Law and what, if any, application that has to NT believers. We must have strong hermeneutical standards, but those hermeneutical standards are wrecked if we do not begin with all of Scripture being God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16). But often, we are the ones accused of hijacking Jesus.
I am contending that we are more consistent in demanding those who would accuse us of hijacking Jesus to stop doing it themselves. This means, that as Peter said, we need to be ready with an answer for the hope that is within in us, and to give that answer with gentleness and reverence. It is this hope that Peter speaks of that compels us to make such defenses; it is a hope that is reliant upon the Word of God being the Word of God, and therefore consistent with the eternal Word of God, Who is God!
Editor's Note: This post was originally posted at Doctrine and Devotion.