Echoes in Scripture
By Lloyd Roberts
Can you hear the echoes in the Bible? They are there if you would just listen. The words that first appear in the Old Testament surprisingly find new voices in the New Testament.
For most Christians the discovery often works the other way around. There are texts we know an love in the Gospels, Acts and the Epistles that are foreshadowed in the Hebrew books. Of course, you already know how Revelation refers to the Old Testament 550 times.
But have you thought of Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) in terms of its Old Testament predecessor.
“Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
In 1 Samuel 24 we find that David has King Saul under his sword.
“And David said to Saul: “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Indeed David seeks your harm’? Look, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it. Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you. As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Wickedness proceeds from the wicked.’ But my hand shall not be against you. After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A flea? Therefore let the Lord be judge, and judge between you and me, and see and plead my case, and deliver me out of your hand.”
In some translations, David asks the same question as Jesus, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?” I think you can see, however, from these New King James quotes David and the Son of David pose the same question calling a man to recognize his error and change his way.
Biblical echoes can be revealing. They can also, as the Rev. Fred Craddock was fond of saying, allow us to “overhear” the Gospel.
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