Here’s an incredible quote I read recently from Jean-Louis Ska:
According to John 5, Jesus is the announced Joshua. This is why the Gospels begin on the banks of the Jordan, where the people are still assembled in Deuteronomy 34 when the curtain falls on the Pentateuch and on Moses.
Allow me to briefly unpack this.
First, how is Jesus like Joshua? The most obvious answer is that they are two versions of the same name. But as Ska references above, here is what Jesus says about Himself in John 5:
â€œBut do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?â€ (John 5:45-47)
DeuteronomyÂ 34 is the end of the Pentateuch (or Torah), which is the first five books of the Old Testament in the Bible. It ends with a look ahead of unfinished business. The first few verses of that chapter say:
Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole landâ€”from Gilead to Dan, all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, â€œThis is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, â€˜I will give it to your descendants.â€™ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.â€ (Deuteronomy 34:1-4)
And then the chapter concludes with this:
Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses. Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egyptâ€”to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. (Deuteronomy 34:9-12)
Even though these first five books stand alone in many regards, they end with unfinished business. There’s something yet to come. At first it appears that Joshua is the fulfillment of this as he leads the people into the promised land. But if you read the rest of the story it’s obvious that Joshua was only a model of what was still to come.
As we’ve been studying the Kingdom of God at Central the last few weeks I’m reminded of just how incredible Jesus is in fulfilling all that God had set Israel to expect and long for. He’s still the fulfillment of our longings today if we have the eyes to see Him and the ears to hear Him (I even wrote a little book about that). Jesus as the new Joshua is the fulfillment of everything we’ve ever hoped for. But many people are just fine with Joshua. Don’t get stuck on Joshua whenÂ you’ve seen Jesus.
There are many applications for this idea, but here are a few ways we get “stuck on Joshua” today:
- Whenever we choose anything other than Jesus (even if it “sounds biblical”)
- Whenever we decide not to see beyond what most people see (because it might cost us something to do so)
- Whenever we settle for the easy answer instead of searching further (because it takes effort)
- Whenever weÂ pick theÂ logic of worldly kingdoms over the logic of the Kingdom of God (because it’s so contrary)