Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jesus and Amos 8

I was preaching on Amos 8 the other day. At first sight, it's a really dark and bleak passage, with lots of judgement and not much else. What really struck me, although this doesn't appear heavily in any of the commentaries I looked at, is that the chapter is all about Jesus. Here's the big judgement section from Amos 8.

The LORD has sworn by the Pride of Jacob: "I will never forget anything they have done.

"Will not the land tremble for this,
and all who live in it mourn?
The whole land will rise like the Nile;
it will be stirred up and then sink
like the river of Egypt.

"In that day," declares the Sovereign LORD,
"I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth in broad daylight.

I will turn your religious feasts into mourning
and all your singing into weeping.
I will make all of you wear sackcloth
and shave your heads.
I will make that time like mourning for an only son
and the end of it like a bitter day.

"The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD,
"when I will send a famine through the land—
not a famine of food or a thirst for water,
but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.

Men will stagger from sea to sea
and wander from north to east,
searching for the word of the LORD,
but they will not find it.

"In that day
"the lovely young women and strong young men
will faint because of thirst.
They who swear by the shame of Samaria,
or say, 'As surely as your god lives, O Dan,'
or, 'As surely as the god of Beersheba lives'—
they will fall,
never to rise again."

Amos 8:8-14, NIV

Several things strike me. On a minor theology note, for example, according to most liberal scholars this is one of the earliest written passages in the entire Bible, but it still has a lot of features of the apocalyptic prophecy which isn't meant to be invented for another few hundred years...

But more importantly, here are the main features of God's judgement in the passage:

  • Earth shaking
  • Sky going dark at midday
  • Religious feasts turned into mourning for an only son
  • Famine of hearing the words of the Lord
  • Strong young people fainting because of thirst

All of those happened when Jesus was on the cross. Jesus truly is the one who bears God's judgement for us.

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