How do we put together the law of the Old Testament and the love of Christ’s message in the New Testament? This is one of the greatest challenges many face in their journey of reading scripture, and yet the law of the Old and New Testaments add up to the same thing: Love the Lord your God, love your neighbor as yourself.
Even though communion is a sacrament we participate in every week or month, it can be easy to miss the deep connections from our communion table to the Passover meal and salvation of God’s people in Egypt. Just as they were freed from slavery and rescued into a new life of promise, we are “freed from slavery to sin and death,” and invited to recommit to the life of Christ.
Just as we take communion for granted, we often forget that baptism is a ritual that connects us not only with the people of the New Testament and Christ himself, but with so many of those who came before us in the pages of the Old Testament. God has been inviting God’s people into a new life, putting our “whole trust in his grace,” from the beginning of creation, and we are called to be part of that holy covenant.
God fulfills God’s promises, plain and simple. Since the time of Genesis God has set aside people to act on God’s behalf here on earth, and we have seen leaders rise up like Moses to bring God’s people through challenges and into new life. Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises and the quintessential leader, set apart to do what no other prophet or priest could.
The threads tying the Old and New Testaments together matter deeply, not just for us but for the people who encountered Jesus face to face. Christ was sent here on a mission, and yet God chooses to always include humanity in the work of God’s Kingdom. Any Jewish person in the first century would recognize the weight and importance of John the Baptist’s words and actions. John was sent as the new Elijah to prepare the way for Christ, the new Moses.
The world gives us a very specific image of leadership, and yet scripture in the Old and New Testaments show us that God calls us to lead through service. Deborah was a non-anxious presence offering wisdom, Peter’s mother chose to serve in response to Christ’s healing, and the women at the tomb were prepared to serve before they were transformed into the first evangelists of Christ’s resurrection. The message of scripture is consistent: we are called to lead by service.