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Moses Beholder of God Vs Jesus Word of God May 30, 2005
"We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth?" (Jn: 1.45)
Beholders of God: The Johannine Christ has been claimed to be both the most human (Son of man, Prophet) and the divine (One with the father) representations given by all four evangelists. The comparison with the prophetic office of Moses is very clear in the Church of Alexandria, established early by the Jewish Therapeutae who believed St. Mark's preaching of Jesus the expected Messiah. Mark's own special title, preserved in the Coptic rite, is "St. Mark, the Beholder of God," which makes of the evangelist a parallel to Moses, with regard to the direct divine revelation of the truth of the gospel, which replaced the Law.
Moses' Law and Christ's Gospel: The New Testament places the law of Moses and the gospel of Jesus Christ in a typological continuum. So far from contrasting Jesus and Moses in any absolute fashion, New Testament writers clearly portray Jesus as the new and greater Moses. In Jesus, the person and work of Moses are perfected and escalated. Jesus is the prophet like Moses that God promised to send his people. His cross accomplishes a greater exodus (Lk. 9:31), rescuing the covenant people from sin and death (the greater Pharaoh). Jesus in the church, fulfills the typology of the tabernacle and sacrifice that Moses devised. Matthew's entire gospel revolves around the theme of Jesus, the fulfillment of Moses' ministry. Other gospels combine with Matthew in echoing Mosaic themes as well: Both Moses and Jesus are delivered from Egypt (Ex. 1-2 and Mt. 1-2), both escape the bloody plot of a tyrant in their infancy (Pharaoh and Herod), both survive the wilderness (Moses for forty years, Jesus for forty days), growing in wisdom (Acts 7:22 with Lk. 2:52) Jesus issued blessings and Moses curses from a mountain (Dt. 28 and Mt. 5:1), both demonstrated signs and wonders and were transfigured on a mountain. Both presented Israel with a choice between two ways (Dt. 30:1& Mt. 7:24-27), performed sea crossings and wilderness feedings (Ex. 14 & Jn. 6:15) While Moses provided manna from heaven and water from the rock Jesus gave bread to the multitudes and wine in Cana , his first miracle (mentioned only by John)
Moses and Jesus: a. Moses is one of the chief witnesses to Jesus, there is no polemic against Moses, but rather no comparison. Catholic NT Scholars ascribes the importance of the Moses-theme as opposed to the Davidic-Messiah-theme to the Samaritan tradition in Jn, since the Samaritans rejected the Davidic Messiah and concentrated on Moses the Prophet. b. Jesus is the Prophet whom Moses prophesied about, announced in Dt 18.18: 'we have found him of whom Moses wrote in the Law' (1.45). The two crucified with Jesus are in Jn not called thieves, but are simply one on either side, as the supporters of Moses as he prayed to save his people in battle This is popular opinion, is the same theme of speaking not of himself but as God sent him (Jn 8.28; 12.49-50), to speak God's Word; he brings life, as Moses did (Dt 30.19-20; Jn 5.24); he works signs, especially three numbered signs, to occasion belief (Ex 4.1-9; Jn 2.1-11.) c. Jesus' gift is superior to that of Moses. The Law through Moses, grace and truth through Jesus Christ (1.18). Moses gave bread in the desert, but Jesus is the true Bread from Heaven (6); he gave water from the Rock, but Jesus is the living water. In chapter 7 the emphasis is on teaching: Jesus completes the Law, which Moses taught only partially. The Jews must finally make a choice between being followers of Moses or of Jesus (9.28.) Moses, therefore, is one of the chief means by which John shows who Jesus is, or what he means.
Moses Vs Jesus Studies: There has been a big number of studies on the fourth Gospel of which few have chosen Boismard's venue. He is a leading Johannine scholar who emphasized "the prophet-like-Moses who is Divine Wisdom, his Christology is provocative though biblical. Even for christology readers, this book represents a challenging reading. The late Fr. Raymond Brown, SS, a Johannine Expert himself, wrote; "Boismard is one of the premier Johannine scholars of this century."
* Thomas, Cherian. Jesus the New Moses: A Christological Understanding of the Fourth Gospel. Ph.D. Thesis: Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1987. * Harstine, Stanley Dwight. The Functions of Moses as a Character in the Fourth Gospel and the Responses of Three Ancient Mediterranean Audiences. Ph.D. Thesis: Baylor University, 1999.