Seeing Jesus All Throughout Scripture
“Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’” Luke 24:44-47
Reading the Old Testament can make our heads spin. What does this mean? How does this apply to me? What am I supposed to take away? What am I supposed to do? Some parts are a giant list of rules we can never fulfill, and some we’re pretty sure don’t apply to us anymore. Others sections are pieces of history with stories we don’t understand with parts that sound odd. And some of it is undeniably beautiful yet obscure poetry that seems too deep to understand.
Yet, the Old Testament is over half of the entire Bible. The New Testament quoted the Old Testament often. It’s inspired by the Holy Spirit, living and active just as the New. It’s as necessary for us as it was for the Israelites all those years ago. So what do we do with it?
Though I can’t explain all that’s necessary to understand the Old Testament in this small space, there is one important point I wish to share with you: Jesus is there. Not only in the prophecies found in Isaiah and Jeremiah but everywhere else, too. When he spoke to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, he began in Moses and went through the prophets (Luke 24:27). When he revealed himself to the rest of the disciples, he did the same (Luke 24:44-47).
Maybe you read the Bible with the mindset that the Old is law and the wrath of God, but something changed in the New, and everything became about grace and good news when Jesus finally came to the scene. But Jesus was always central—all of Scripture foreshadows and points forward, at, or back to Jesus. The Gospel isn’t the climax of the story—it’s the entire narrative arch. We should read the Old Testament, always looking for Jesus.
God, I am thankful that You were never surprised at the way the world unfolded. You knew before You breathed life into Adam and Eve that they would commit the first sin and plunge all of humanity into the curse of sin. You had the plan of salvation in line before the foundations were laid. Thank You. Please help me to see how You unfold this Gospel in all of Scripture, and open my eyes to understand both the Old Testament and the New Testament in this light.
For more on this, I highly recommend listening to Nancy Guthrie, “Developing the Skill of Seeing Christ in the Old Testament,” on Help Me Teach the Bible podcast.