Transfigured Hermeneutics—Part 6: The Climactic Word

The sixth part of my ten part series on the Transfiguration and the Christian reading of Scripture has just been published:

Moses and Elijah speak with Jesus about his departure–literally his ‘Exodus’–that he was about to ‘fulfil’ in Jerusalem. The use of such a resonant term at this juncture is worthy of attention: Moses and Elijah are not merely referring to Jesus’ coming death as an event about to befall him, but to his purposeful and powerful outworking of a new Exodus, in which all previous and anticipatory ‘exoduses’ will be fulfilled and all the promises of God realized. Jesus’ departure–his ‘Exodus’–is more than merely his death: it is also his resurrection, ascension, and his deliverance of a great multitude of captives. By his death and resurrection Christ tears open the sea of Death and Hell, allowing all of his people to pass through unscathed, while drowning all of their pursuers behind them.

The literary purpose of the overarching Exodus motif in this passage in Luke, to which I drew attention earlier, should become more apparent now. Luke’s use of a mini-exodus pattern in this passage is akin to the composer of the film score who allows the hero’s theme to surface in the background, readying the audience for its full expression as the hero achieves his magnificent victory. Luke wants our minds to be on Exodus, so we will understand both what is taking place on the mountain and what Jesus is about to go to Jerusalem to achieve. Jesus’ Exodus will be the culmination of redemptive history, the decisive, definitive, and dreadful statement of fundamental themes that had been hitherto only quietly, yet pervasively, intimated.

Read the whole piece here. The following is a list of the posts to this point:

1. Introduction
The structure of Luke’s gospel reveals the importance of the Transfiguration for his narrative.

2. Transfiguration and Exodus
Luke’s account of the Transfiguration is significantly framed by an Exodus motif.

3. Transfiguration as Theophany
How Jesus is the unveiling of God’s Glory-Face.

4. Jesus as God’s Glory Face in John’s Gospel
How John develops the theme of Jesus as the revelation of the Father’s glory.

5. The High Priest and the New Temple
Temple and priestly themes in the Transfiguration account.

6. The Climactic Word
Christ as the glorious fulfilment of divine revelation.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Bible, Exodus, Guest Post, Hermeneutics, Luke, NT, NT Theology, OT, Revelation, Theological. Bookmark the permalink.

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