Jesus Christ and the Big Reveal

The Sixth Sense

The movie the Sixth Sense is about a psychologist, Malcolm Crowe, who is trying to help a boy who can see and talk to dead people. It is a standard supernatural thriller, but what makes the movie so powerful is that at the end it is revealed that Crowe has himself been dead the whole time.[1] It is a fantastically surprising ending to the movie and it makes you want to go back and watch again. When I first saw it, I also wanted to take others to the movie so I could see their faces when they figured it out. People’s eyes would get big and their jaws would drop as their mind would try to immediately reprocess the story in light of the stunning reveal.

In watching the movie again you could go back and see all the clues that were there earlier in the movie. Without knowing that Crowe was dead, they hadn’t meant anything to you. But in light of how the story ends, it all seems so perfectly obvious.

As you read the gospels do you get the sense that this is God’s great revealing? God comes to us in Jesus Christ and lives a fully human life in our midst. Jesus reveals God to us and even says, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”[2] As if this isn’t already too much for some to handle, Jesus then lives a life that people would never have expected the Messiah to live. Jesus would eventually do what no one ever saw coming, he submitted himself and suffered a criminal’s death on the cross. People, including his closest disciples, were distraught and in despair. Even though Christ had told them what was to come–what you might even call clues–they could not anticipate that God would come among them and then be crucified.

After three confusing days Jesus is raised. He comes and continues to teach his disciples and help them make sense of what had gone on. Jesus then sends us his Holy Spirit to open our eyes and lead us into all truth.

What Jesus did was so world-changing that the early church needed to look at all of life through new lenses. They needed to go back and reprocess their own story in light of the crucifixion and resurrection.

The story that had been handed down and preserved was what we call the Old Testament. So they went back to the beginning and studied it all seeing more clearly what God was doing because they could see by the light of Jesus Christ. The church began to see how everything pointed ahead to the one who would one day come and fulfill and the hopes and needs of the people.

Now that God had been made known in a greater way than ever before, now that the plans of God found their fulfillment in Jesus Christ, and now that the church was living by the power of the Holy Spirit, they had to go back. If what Jesus Christ said about himself were true, if he really did all he said he did, then Jesus must be there in all of Scripture. People like Paul and the author of Hebrews helped the church to connect the dots and see how the story of God had its climax in Jesus Christ. It isn’t a new story but a continuation and fulfillment of the same story–the story of creation, of Israel, of redemption and forgiveness. But it now makes more sense because of what Jesus has done.

The story continues, though. We continue to look back to Jesus’ works, live for him today, and we await the thrilling conclusion when he will one day return.

  1. I’m sure by now that anyone who has desired to see the Sixth Sense has done so already, so I don’t need to fear spoilers.  ↩

  2. John 14:8–10  ↩

A Call to Preserve Our Own History on the 25th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square


Coming back into work today I heard a story on NPR about the 25th anniversary of the events surrounding Tiananmen Square. The host was interviewing a journalist in China who was showing the famous photo from the protests to students and it seemed that more had never seen the photo than those who had. The way it was worded during the radio segment was that in China, “amnesia is a state sponsored sport.”

China has not wanted people to know parts of its past and so it has worked hard to conceal and erase history. What is amazing is that this isn’t an event from centuries ago. It isn’t a matter of destroying the records. People are alive now who were alive then. But the past is still allowed to slip away.

While we weren’t alive when the events described in the Bible took place, they are still of the utmost importance to us. God has gone to great lengths to have it recorded, preserved, and passed on through generations so that we would receive the book we have today. It is our history and it is our story. He has given us the Bible for a reason. We can’t let it slip away. We need to commit ourselves to knowing the story God has given us and make sure we remain vigilant in continuing our lives that are now, amazingly, also a part of that story.

God is not done yet for he is still active. But it helps to know where we’ve been in order to know where we’re going.

Moses and Christ, Hebrews 11

Throughout the book of Hebrews Jesus Christ is being linked to the practices and objects of the Old Testament. For example, Christ is the veil, he is the sacrifice, and he is priest. The ways of the old covenant find their improvement in Jesus Christ and the new covenant that he has instituted.

In chapter 11 as we read about the role of faith in the people of God, going all the way back to Abel, we read one line about Moses that continues to strengthen the link of Christ to the Old Testament. Verse 26 says:

[Moses] considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.

It doesn’t say that Moses considered the reproach of God, but rather the reproach of Christ as a greater treasure than all that could be found in Egypt. Verse 25 tells us how Moses chose to be mistreated with God’s people rather enjoy the sinful spoils of Pharaoh’s courts. In so doing he willingly took on scorn and suffering–the reproach of others, and did so, as the NIV says in its translation, “for the sake of Christ.”

Moses did not know the name of Jesus Christ, but he put his hope in God, and that hope is Christ. Jesus is Messiah, the one in whom all the hope of Israel was wrapped. Moses trusted the promises of God, looking ahead to the reward, knowing it to be better than any fleeting treasure or pleasure. So Moses endured reproach for what to him at the time was unnamed. But now the author of Hebrews looks back and calls it what it was. Moses enduring for the sake of Christ, the only hope we have now.

Likewise we now are called to endure reproach for his sake, and opportunities are not hard to come by. It may not be a Pharaoh seeking to kill us, but we are often given the choice between the fleeting pleasures of sin and Jesus. When we choose the latter we often choose hardship, as well.

The Problem of Violence in the Old Testament

A friend from church pointed me to this presentation on the problem of violence in the Old Testament. It isn’t something that deals with any specific passage for this week, rather I bring it up as a response to difficulties that arise from many passages we’ve now covered in past months of Year in the Bible. Follow this link to Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and click to listen to the talk by John Dickson. It is about 25 minutes, so maybe save it to listen to later today.

Violence in the Old Testament, part 1 of 2

Some of his point is that we should not approach the Old Testament thinking throughout that Israel is some sort of paragon of morality and holiness. Just because Israel performs an action or one Israelite performs an action, and such actions are recorded, does not mean that those things are right and good for us to emulate. Much of what is recorded is the sinfulness of God’s people, further showing to us the continued dependence we all should have on God’s grace. Not now and not ever have we been able to rely on our own righteousness. But Dickson does concede that he is troubled by some passages, and we should not avoid such feelings.

But don’t just read to my summary, go listen. He’s got an Australian accent, if that further encourages you to give it a shot.