The Jewish inheritance of Jesus and the early Church

Rodney Schofield

How important is the Old Testament for the Church today? This article, which begins a short series, considers first how the apostolic Church responded to the scriptures that they inherited. Rodney Schofield, a priest of Plymouth diocese, serves Ashford parish.

Inherited traditions
The first gatherings of Christians were held in Jerusalem. At that time the temple was intact and the daily round of sacrifice and prayer was still offered. In 70 AD the temple was destroyed by the Romans and the Christian community relocated to Pella across the Jordan. Yet if they had sometimes ?attended? the temple (Acts 2.46; 3.1) there is no suggestion that they participated in its sacrifices: Paul?s description of Jesus as ?an expiation by his blood? (Rom 3.25) expressed the universal Christian understanding that their Lord was himself the new temple. Hence, their treasured Jewish inheritance was something different, as indeed it had been for centuries for those Jews living outside Jerusalem or in the diaspora.

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