7. The early Christian preaching is summarised in the kerygmatic formula recounted by Paul: “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared. ” (1 Co 15:3-5). The Christian faith, then, is not based solely on events, but on the conformity of these events to the revelation contained in the Jewish Scriptures. On his journey towards the passion, Jesus says: “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him” (Mt ; Mk ). After his resurrection, Jesus himself “interpreted to them the things about himself in all the Scriptures”. 19 In his discourse to the Jews of Antioch in Pisidia, Paul recalls these events by saying that “the residents of Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognise him [Jesus] or understand the words of the prophets that are read every sabbath, they fulfilled these words by condemning him” (Ac ). The New Testament shows by these declarations that it is indissolubly linked to the Jewish Scriptures.
Some disputed points that need to be kept in mind may be mentioned here. In the Gospel of Matthew, a saying of Jesus claims perfect continuity between the faith of Christians and the Tor
h: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil” (Mt 5:17). This theological affirmation is characteristic of Matthew and his community. It is in tension with other sayings of the Lord which relativises the Sabbath obvervance (Mt 12:8,12) and ritual purity (Mt ).
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus appropriates a saying of Isaiah (Lk 4:17-21; Is 61:1-2) to define his mission as he begins his ministry. The ending of the Gospel expands this perspective when it speaks of fulfilling “all that is written” about Jesus (Lk ).
On that point, it is essential, according to Jesus, to “hear Moses and the prophets”, the ending of the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Lk -31) drives home the point: without a docile listening, even the greatest prodigies are of no avail.
It contains numerous affirmations of conformity to prophetic revelation, but also affirmations of conformity that include aspects of non-conformity as well
The Fourth Gospel expresses a similar perspective: Jesus attributes to the writings of Moses an authority comparable to his own words, when he says to opponents: “If you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” (Jn 5:47). In a Gospel where Jesus affirms that his words “are spirit and life” (Jn 6:63), such an assertion gives primary importance to the Tor
He adds: “Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach and this is what you believed” (1 Co )
In the Acts of the Apostles, the kerygmatic discourses of the Church leaders – Peter, Paul and Barnabas, James – place the events of the Passion, Resurrection, Pentecost and the missionary outreach of the Church in perfect continuity with the Jewish Scriptures. 20
8. Although it never explicitly affirms the authority of the Jewish Scriptures, the Letter to the Hebrews clearly shows that it recognises this authority by repeatedly quoting texts to ground its teaching and exhortations. This was already the case in the Pauline Letters. In the Letters to Galatians and Romans, the apostle argues from the Law to prove that faith in Christ has put an end to the Law’s regime. He shows that the Law as revelation predicted its own end as an institution necessary for salvation. 21 The most important text on this subject is Rm 3:21 where the apostle affirms that the manifestation of the justice of God in the justification offered by faith in Christ is brought about “apart from the Law”, but is nevertheless “attested by the Law and the Prophets”. In a similar way, the Letter to the Hebrews shows that the mystery of Christ fulfils the prophecies and what was prefigured in the Jewish Scriptures, but, at the same time, affirms non-conformity to the ancient institutions: the glorified Christ is at one and the same time in conformity with the words of Ps 109 (110):1,4, and in non-conformity with the levitical priesthood (cf. Heb 7:11,28).