Jesus and the Gospel in the Old Testament

Are you a Sunday School teacher or lead an ABF, Bible Study or small group? Do you pastor or preach from a church pulpit? Do you enjoy leading devotions for your family and children from the Bible? Do you simply love studying the Scripture? Part of our duty when teaching, preaching or studying is to take notice of how Jesus and the Gospel are vivid in all of Scripture. I have recently come under great conviction concerning the way I teach and preach the Old Testament, and thought I would pass on some of these insights to you.

Jesus is the golden thread woven through the entirety of Scripture from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. The Old Testament, like the New Testament, speaks and directs its listeners to the climatic redeeming work of Jesus Christ. The NT is the exclamation point on Jesus’ redeeming work.

How is Jesus Christ seen in the OT?

  • In Genesis, Jesus is involved in Creation, the promised seed after the Fall of Man, the only hope to escape the wrath of God, models our Great Patriarch.
  • In Exodus, Jesus is our Passover Lamb slain for mankind’s sin.
  • In Leviticus, Jesus is our sacrifice, temple, and High Priest.
  • In Judges, Jesus is our righteous judge.
  • In Ruth, Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer.
  • In 1 & 2 Kings, Jesus is our King of kings.
  • In Psalms, Jesus is our Good Shepherd.
  • In Song of Solomon and Hosea, Jesus is our Bridegroom.
  • In Lamentation and Jeremiah, Jesus is out weeping Prophet.
  • In Daniel, Jesus is the fourth man in the fiery furnace.
  • In the major and minor prophets Jesus is our Restorer.

Thoughts on Preaching, Teaching, and Studying Jesus Christ in the OT:

  • Do not preach or teach from the OT simply as moralistic truth, teach also its overarching missional message in Christ. With that said, there are some great lessons on godly living from the characters in the OT and you would not be misusing OT texts when pointing these out. You can learn patience from Job, passion from David, the consequences of jealousy and disobedience from Saul, and perseverance from the prophets.
  • Alistair Begg comments about how to study the entire Bible, “Read the Bible traveling from the mouth of the river [NT] to it’s various tributaries [OT].”
  • Over 300 prophecies in the OT touch on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
  • Numerous types of Christ are seen in the OT: Adam [Genesis 2; Romans 5:9]; Melchizedek [Genesis 14:17-20; Hebrews 7]; Isaac [Genesis 22]; Passover Lamb [Exodus 12; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8]; High Priest [Exodus 28; Hebrews 4:14-15]; Sin Offering [Leviticus 1; Ephesians 5:2]; Atonement [Leviticus 16; Hebrew 9:28]; Kinsman-Redeemer [Ruth 4; Acts 20:28]; Suffering Servant [Isaiah 53; Mark 10:45]
  • Christ used the OT in His teaching and considered it the authoritative Word of God [Matthew 23:2-3; 22:29]. Jesus considered the OT as historic fact, not myth.
  • Jesus referred to OT characters as real people of real faith: Abel [Luke 11:51]; Noah [Matthew 24:37-39]; Abraham [John 8:56]; Lot [Luke 17:28-32]; Elijah [Luke 4:25]; Elisha [Luke 4:27]; Jonah [Matthew 12:9-41].
  • Jesus came to fulfill the OT Scripture [Matthew 5:17-20]

When preaching or teaching Christ and His gospel from the OT it needs to be the unhurried. Don’t by pass the opportunity to connect the OT to Jesus of the NT. The OT is like a dimly lit furnished room and the NT is the window that let’s the light shine in brightly.He is the ultimate climax of any message from any passage. This is consistent with how the NT authors used the OT and how Christ Himself used the OT. In Luke 22:27, it says, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”

For a really great message on “Studying the Scriptures and Finding Jesus” check out how Al Mohler explains how the Old Testament is just different. And this recap on Preaching Christ from the Old Testament.

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