Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas with Justin Martyr and Trypho

This is for sections 31-40 of Justin's dialogue with Trypho.  It would probably be more appropriate for Hanukkah since that is going on and Trypho is still Jewish without believing in the Messiah.

Since Advent has started, there have been sermons at CBC about Christmas.  It was about all the gifts we receive from the Lord at Christmas.  His believers receive salvation from God's wrath.  They have strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.  Also, they are to share this gift.

I could see myself asking a group of kids what they truly receive at Christmas in its true meaning.  I can see them raising their hands and saying all that I said in the previous paragraph.  Then I would be like, there's one thing your missing.  If you don't have this, you don't have salvation.  Without this, you don't have strength for today or hope for tomorrow.  In fact, you have no reason to live or sing God's praises.  That missing thing is the only gift that matters: Jesus.  There is no heaven without him, no salvation without him, and no strength or hope in our troubled times.  He is the only reason I can keep going.

Justin is still debating Trypho.  Christ's first coming was great.  His second advent will be so much greater as he shall come on the clouds as the Son of Man and the angels will be with him.  It will be frightening and amazing at the same time.

Trypho still does not get it.  Christ's life on earth was dishonorable and inglorious.  He was even crucified.  There was nothing glorious in that.
Justin insists that if the prophecies had not plainly said that he would be unattractive, would suffer God's wrath on the cross, and that he would be utterly unrecognizable as the Messiah, then Justin's words would be dubious.  However, the Jewish prophets are clear that this will be the case.  Justin tells Trypho that in his first advent, Jesus was pierced by Trypho and his people.  In the second advent, Trypho shall know whom he has pierced and his tribes will mourn.

Apparently, the Jews took obviously Messianic prophecies and applied them to certain Jewish kings.  For example, they took Psalm 110 and applied it to Hezekiah.  This is absolutely wrong.  The psalm itself says that this special person will be priest forever.  Hezekiah died and did not last forever.  Jesus the Christ rose from the dead and will reign forever.  Like Melchizedek, he was the priest of the uncircumcision that Abraham made offerings to.  He's going to unite both Abraham's seed and those just adopted into the family.

The Jews thought that Psalm 72 applied to Solomon, whose faults Christians shudder at.  "The law of the Lord is perfect."  The perfect law is the one given after Moses.  God would establish a new law and a new covenant given through an everlasting king.  Not only did Solomon die, but he let his heart be led away to idols by all the women he married.  Jesus's heart is only for God's glory and did not get distracted.  And he did not stay dead.  Christ's worshipers in the Gentiles would sooner die than worship any idol.

Trypho then tries the old, tired tactic of pointing to all the professing believers who do worship idols.  Jesus said that they would come.  There would be people who claim Christ but who do not know him at all and will deceive people.  Matthew 7:15, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves."

Trypho wants him to prove it.  Justin quotes the psalm, "Who is the King of glory?"  You can tell that he is the King of glory because he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.  Justin can prove that from all the other psalms.

Trypho, a Jew, is very offended by this and should stay away from the Christians who utter blasphemies.  Sadly, Justin replies that God's wisdom is hidden from guys like Trypho or else they would understand.  Justin is not surprised that the Jews hate him.  Those who are wise in their own eyes are foolish and honor God only with lips.  Unless they are convinced that Jesus is the real deal, they will stay away from him for fear of persecution.

Lastly, Justin points to the Passover Lamb.  The mystery of the passover Lamb was a type of Christ.  Christ is the mystery and he has been solved.  He was sacrificed at Jerusalem in the same way that the Lamb was sacrificed.  And, that is the gift we have at Christmas.  It is so much more solid than hope and strength.  Salvation is tangible and complete.

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