Consuming Jesus by Metzger, Chapter 3

lion_witch_wardrobe.jpgGood “Witches” and Bad “Witches” dominate(d) many a youngsters imagination. The classic “Wizard of Oz” portrayed the “Wicked Witch of the West” as a “fallen power.” She used her powers to oppress and dominate. C.S. Lewis’ Witch and her fascination with the magic inscribed on the stone table form an illustration for Dr. Metzger as he points to the atoning work of Jesus as the gateway to “authentically living in community.” (p.68) He notes of the Witch, “She is a fallen power who is obsessed with the legal code of ransom and justice.” (p.68)

What about “fallen powers”? One’s theological framework may well determine what is meant by “fallen powers.” Metzger notes, “According to the New Testament, the powers include angelic beings, institutions, and ideas or systems of thought. All three entities influence and structure the way people live.”(p.69) For many who only consider powers in heavenly places to be limited to the “spirit realm.” In the framework for discussing the atonement, Metzger offers a similar trajectory to Scot McKnight in, A Community Called Atonement. The implications for a broader understanding of “fallen powers” presents the  reader with the considerably important consideration of the breadth of the atonement; a breadth that means more than reconciliation between God and people.

The significance of this chapter cannot be overstated. Without a brief discussion on the breadth of  the atonement some would likely fail to give proper space to the implications with regard to issues of race and class important to Metzger’s chosen task.  He then leads into a series of investigations into the ways the atonement subverts the powers and sets relationships right.

Keeping with his theme in the title “Consuming Jesus, Metzger asserts Jesus overrides suppression and retribution, devours legalistic distortions and divisions, and dies to the “law of consumerism and rises to new life.”

Metzger concludes the chapter will a call to “Cleaning House and Cleansing Temples.” He notes, “Christ has reconfigured the structures through his life, death, and resurrection, having been led and empowered by God’s Spirit (Luke 4:1,18), having offered himself up to death through the Spirit without blemish (Heb. 9:14), and having been raised by the Spirit to new life (1 Pet. 3:18).” (p.84) The consequence of this ongoing is noted,

The work continues to  day, but the church must guard against  other forces at work today, those forces that seek to rebuild the old structures and walls that divide diverse peoples. Moneychangers and merchants have  once again turned God’s temple into a market. Jesus cleansed the temple in his day: he scattered the coins and overturned the tables of the moneychangers, he cast out the  merchants from the  Court of the Gentiles (Mark 11; John 2). he yelled at them, “Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” (John 2:16) and “My house will be called a house of prayer for  all nations” (Mark 11:17). The temple-cleansing prefigures the unity between all peoples that Pentecost truly inaugurates and the book of Ephesians describes: it incorporates the Jews. God’s elect people, and the gentiles into God’s household, where Christ seats everyone a the same table.” (p.85)

From this point Metager will work through the way in which the ordering of the  powers under the life, death and resurrection of Jesus reorders the Christian life in chapter 4

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

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