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April 23, 2022

In reality, in the mystery of Christ crucified and risen, fulfilment is brought about in a manner unforeseen

In reality, in the mystery of Christ crucified and risen, fulfilment is brought about in a manner unforeseen

The notion of fulfilment is an extremely complex one, 42 one that could easily be distorted if there is a unilateral insistence either on continuity or discontinuity. It includes transcendence. 43 Jesus is not confined to playing an already fixed role – that of Messiah – but he confers, on the notions of Messiah and salvation, a fullness which could not have been imagined in advance; he fills them with a new reality; one can even speak in this connection of a “new creation”. 44 It would be wrong to consider the prophecies of the Old Testament as some kind of photographic anticipations of future events. All the texts, including those which later were read as messianic prophecies, already had an immediate import and meaning for their contemporaries before attaining a fuller meaning for future hearers. The messiahship of Jesus has a meaning that is new and original.

Christian faith recognises the fulfilment, in Christ, of the Scriptures and the hopes of Israel, but it does not understand this fulfilment as a literal one

The original task of the prophet was to help his contemporaries understand the events and the times they lived in from God’s viewpoint. Accordingly, excessive insistence, characteristic of a certain apologetic, on the probative value attributable to the fulfilment of prophecy must be discarded. This insistence has contributed to harsh judgements by Christians of Jews and their reading of the Old Testament: the more reference to Christ is found in Old Testament texts, the more the incredulity of the Jews is considered inexcusable and obstinate.

Insistence on discontinuity between both Testaments and going beyond former perspectives should not, however, lead to a one-sided spiritualisation. Read More