Mission of the Messiah – Chapter 8 The New Paschal Lamb of the New Exodus

In this chapter Dr. Gray shows how the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled in Jesus. The Suffering Servant takes on the “curses” deserved by Israel and ultimately all of us. The Covenant cannot be broken, but there is a loop hole, so to speak. The Covenant is voided if one party dies! Jesus, by taking on human flesh, and becoming fully human, sacrifices himself for our sake, the sake of the Covenant. Jesus dies, the Old Covenant is fulfilled and now made new. The new and everlasting Covenant begins. It is as if humankind got a “do over”. We are the benefactors of the New Covenant!

Gray concludes this book by leaving us with a responsibility. Just as Jesus is anointed with the Holy Spirit at the beginning of his mission, and the birth of the Church on Pentecost is through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so too, each of us through Baptism and Confirmation, are anointed by the Holy Spirit. Gray says, “The disciples are anointed in the Spirit to continue the mission of the Messiah, to continue the work of Jesus’ exodus and jubilee.” We are those disciples and now fittingly take up the title of this book, the Mission of the Messiah.

– Deacon Ralph

I had two ‘wow’ moments reading this last chapter that I’d like to comment on briefly. The first came when delving into the demand of the Jews to free Barabbas (whose name means son of God, making him a type of Israel) rather than Jesus. This choice, which I had always thought to be random, instead indicates Israel’s choice of rebellion and violence (Barabbas’ crimes) over peace. Israel was at a crossroad and we see the direction that they choose. The other noteworthy moment for me was the discussion on the breaking of the old covenant. I had always understood the crucifixion of Christ as having been necessary so that both the sacrifice and the priest offering it (both Jesus) were worthy of atoning for the sin of mankind to open the gates of heaven – and in fact the author does address this aspect. However, what really grabbed me was the additional explanation of the covenant as a sacrament (much like marriage) that both God and Israel had agreed to; breakable only by the death of one of the parties. And so here we have Jesus, God made man, who dies on the cross and does exactly that. He ends the old covenant and initiates the new. God dies on the cross. The contract is made null and void in the only manner “legally” possible. It is the faithfulness of the Father, down to the very last detail, brought to light here. It makes me wonder how any of us can ever doubt Him – His promises – His truth.

– Mary French

 The final few questions that Dr. Gray lists at the end of this chapter are challenging. Feel free to comment on those questions below, on any of those found at the end of this chapter or on this chapter in general.

  • If we are Christians—anointed ones—what is our anointing for? Specifically, what is our mission (see Mt. 28:19-20)?
  • Do Christians need a stronger sense of mission?
  • How can we increase our zeal to evangelize? What can you do to be a witness for Christ?

Share your thoughts!