There is something sad but poignant about Moses not quite making it to the promise land (Deut 34). He remains among the greatest of the Israelites his story all the more powerful for its end, so near and yet so far. He gets to see but not to touch, he symbolises the importance and the limitations of the law which is linked with his name. As Paul might say it (The Law) will get you so far, it will get you to the brink of the Jordan but you'll need someone else to get you across and that someone else will be called Joshua Yeshua Jesus.
The way Jesus talks about the law points the way. Love God-Love your neighbour because it is wrapped up in Law language and it’s prompted by a question of ‘what is the greatest commandment’ (Matt 22:34-46). It’s seen as a demand but it's not first of all a demand, it is rather a gift. It is what Jesus himself was doing and would do supremely on the cross. It is what, by the spirit, Jesus’ surprised followers found themselves doing or beginning to do. It’s what Paul was determined at all costs to do in his evangelism and pastoral work. It represents, in one sense, the Law working on the inside written on the hearts, and it also encompasses all the continuing externals as well. If you asked a pharisee the question of the greatest commandment he is looking for a way of defining Israel now and in the age to come. But if these two commandments are the greatest, love for the creator and love for one's neighbour that means throwing open the borders to all and sundry and at the heart of Israel law is a sign that reminds Israel that she exists for the sake of the world, and not vice versa.
It all comes together in Jesus as Priest and King. Jesus seems to put forward the possibility that he is Psalm 110’s central figure, both King and Priest and one to whom even David, that greatest of all kings, look up to as Lord. Jesus upstages the existing Jerusalem, priesthood and royal house. Somehow David’s Lord would be David’s son. Get your head around that! And when you do, you begin to appreciate how this new Joshua (Jesus) can do what the Law (Moses) could not do, lead you home, get you to that promised land. Dave
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