A Biblical Vision of Justice: Jesus’ Vision Quest

Priests and People (Cambridge, England). 8 pp.

Trying to identify the “major themes” of the Bible can be a treacherous undertaking, given the vast breadth, depth and diversity of the scriptures. It is not, however, an impossible task. Christians quite naturally look to the Jesus story for help, rightly believing that this story gives us clues as to what he considered central to his own tradition. This is not however to embrace the
highly problematic approach of “searching for Jesus in the Old Testament.” Quite the contrary: it is to search for the themes of the Hebrew Bible in the Jesus story.

A literary approach prefers to look for what we might call the trajectories of “core narratives” rather than assembling lists of proof texts that appear to address certain abstract themes. I will contend that we can identify four basic (and interrelated) narrative trajectories in the Hebrew scriptures, and that these four inform the practice and teaching of Jesus as they are portrayed in our gospel traditions. The first trajectory is the narrative of the Exodus journey from slavery to freedom. This represents the fundamental paradigm of biblical faith. The struggle to become and remain “non-Egyptian” is then narrated through three additional trajectories, which represent specific contexts or spheres of

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