I have quite frequently mused upon the miracle of the nation of Israel. She became a special covenant people at Yahweh’s chosing, to accomplish His eternal purposes, to ultimately disclose and communicate Himself through His Son, The Jew. He uniquely consecrated this concrete nation in time and space by giving them a particular language, ceremonial, civil, and moral stipulations, and a conceptual apparatus through Torah that became the self-fulfilling vehicle through which He would mediate Himself and universal salvation to mankind. This kind of thinking, for me, often is motivated as I meditate upon passages like Galatians 4:4, . . . But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, . . . As of late I have been reading, The Mediation of Christ by T.F. Torrance, and to my delight I realized that he too had been thinking upon the significant framework that Yahweh providentially shaped as the instrument through whom He would disclose Himself, in a particular time and space for a specific purpose and intention—to bring knowledge of God as Redeemer to the whole world. Torrance says eloquently:

Since all through that progressive movement of revelation the Word of God was pressing for fuller realisation and obedient expression within the life and mind and literature of Israel, the role of Israel as the servant of the Lord in mediating that revelation inevitably pointed ahead of itself to a fulfilment in the Incarnation. When that took place in the birth of Jesus, Son of Mary and Son of God, the whole prehistory of that mediation was gathered up and brought to its consummation in Christ in such a way that while transient, time-conditioned elements fell away, basic, permanent ingredients in God’s revelation to Israel were critically and creatively taken up and built into the intelligible framework of God’s full and final self-revelation to mankind. Incarnate as the Jew from Bethlehem and Nazareth Jesus Christ stood forth, not only as the controlling centre of the mediation of divine revelation in and through Israel, but as himself the personal self-revelation of God to man, the eternal Word of God made flesh once for all within the objective and subjective structures of human existence. Thus Jesus Christ, not Israel the servant of the Lord is nevertheless included by God for ever within his elected way of mediating knowledge of himself to the world. Since Israel as a whole is given a permanent place in God’s revelation of himself, the Old Testament mediation of revelation must be appreciated and understood from the perspective of its fulfilment in Christ. On the other hand, Jesus Christ is to be recognised and known as Son of God and Saviour of the world, in accordance with his own claims, from the normative framework of basic preconceptions divinely prepared and provided in the Old Testament Scriptures. Thus to detach Jesus from Israel or the Incarnation from its deep roots in the covenant partnership of God with Israel would be a fatal mistake. (T. F. Torrance, “The Mediation of Christ,” 31-2)

Without Israel, the incarnation of Jesus would have had no significance; without Israel the atonement of Jesus would have no meaning. But, without Jesus Israel’s history has no telos no purpose no centre, as Torrance said. The goal and shape of the Torah ultimately found referent from and through Jesus Christ. As Jesus came, as a Jew, Israel’s place in history makes sense; insofar as Israel drifts from her true centre, the Jew of Nazareth, she flounders until she recognizes her purpose relative to Messiah (see Romans 11). Once Israel realizes that her purpose is a Person and not Land, then they will experience the true shalom that they ironically have been used to usher in, through one of their own . . . Jesus of Nazareth.

To speak of Jesus apart from His Jewishness is an impossibility.

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