Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Jesus in the Old Testament

"What you worship as something unknown, I am going to proclaim to you." (Acts 17:23b).

The most important reason for studying the Old Testament is that it is absolutely necessary to come to a full understanding of the person of Jesus Christ. The American church culture breeds many spurious “Christian” conversions because of its impoverished understanding of Scripture and its incessant appeal to emotions. You may have had a conversion experience, but be careful. What you may consider to be your conversion experience may not be a true conversion to the Christ of the Bible.

Maybe you only had a conversion into a group with a particular lifestyle, a group that had a dynamic spirit, or a group that accepted you in a way other people never had. Maybe you were converted to friends, not Jesus. When it comes right down to it, you might know very little about the real Jesus and His saving love.

If you have read the entire New Testament, but have never read the Old Testament, chances are that you know precious little of Jesus Christ. No matter how many times you approach the text asking the Holy Spirit to illumine your mind and heart—without studying the Old Testament, you cannot possibly understand the New Testament Jesus.

The whole scope of Jesus’ life comes to us against the backdrop of the redemptive history of the Old Testament, which repeatedly points to Jesus. Those events foreshadow the meaning of the events of Jesus’ life. For example, images of the coming Messiah were seen in the roles of the kings, prophets, judges, priests, and patriarchs of the Old Testament despite their sinfulness. The perfection was displayed in the person of Jesus.

The Old Testament shows how God cultivated the world, making it ripe for Jesus to confront the mightiest humanistic empire the world had ever seen, showing Himself to be not only the True Patriarch, Judge, and King, but also the True World Emperor. All the New Testament imagery used to describe Jesus is taken directly from the Old Testament.

No wonder the first converts from Judaism found such delight in Christ’s fulfillment of all that had been spoken of Him in the Old Testament Scriptures. Because they were so thoroughly immersed in the Scriptures, their capacity to love and delight in Him was enlarged. Ask God to produce a similar delight in you through this year’s study in the Old Testament.