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Explaining Christ From the Old Testament


Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
(Luke 24:27, NASB)

This passage in Luke is simultaneously awe-inspiring and frustrating.

Awe-inspiring because it tells us that on the day that Jesus rose from the dead He made the opportunity to explain to some of His followers everything the Old Testament Scriptures had to say about Himself as He walked with them down the road. He started with Moses and went right through all the prophets.

A few verses later (Luke 24:44-49) Jesus explains to a bigger group of His disciples that everything written about Him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms has been fulfilled. These Old Testament passages contained the truth which they were to testify to the nations:
  • That the Christ would suffer;
  • That He would rise again from the dead on the third day;
  • That repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations.
Awesome.

Yet, it is frustrating because Luke was not inspired to include the content of Jesus' explanation. We know that He explained everything. We even get a brief outline.

But that's it.

Instead of being bummed out by this, we can rejoice that the Old Testament Scriptures are still written. We can hold them in our hands and read them today. However, many Christians seem to think that the Old Testament is irrelevant for the modern believer.

This idea could not be more wrong.

On resurrection day Jesus did not say that those poor disciples would need to wait until the New Testament was written before they could understand Christ. Instead, Jesus reprimanded them for being foolish and slow of heart in believing what had already been written! He did not hesitate to proclaim from the Old Testament everything they needed to know.

While we may not have a transcript of Jesus' teaching that day we do have two wonderful gifts.
  1. The entire Old Testament.
  2. The entire New Testament.
Some interpreters try and make every passage in the Old Testament a passage about Jesus. This is a mistake. Jesus did not teach that everything that was written was written about Him. Instead, He explained everything that was written "concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." The road was only seven miles long and Jesus' explanation didn't last all day!

In the New Testament we have inspired writings which cite and explain Old Testament passages concerning Jesus. This is not exactly the same as hearing it from the lips of Jesus Himself. But, it is the next best thing.

In the coming posts we will take a look at the use of the Old Testament by the authors of the New Testament to see how the Holy Spirit led them to explain Christ to the first generation of Christians. By studying these examples, I pray we will all be better equipped to know and love our Savior and explain Him to the world.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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