Yesterday’s post drew some comments about the necessity to keep the Old Testament in mind when considering Jesus and His sacrifice.
[from Amy Lee Bell] The beauty of the gospel is the fact that God Himself provided the means of salvation. The Word became flesh and lived a perfect life, according to God’s righteous Law. Then, by taking our sins upon Himself, he imputed His righteousness to us. It’s as though we were the ones that obeyed, and because of that obedience, we will receive eternal life!
[from Glenys Mino, via Facebook] One cannot pick and choose parts of the Word of God. To say you don’t need the OT because we live in the NT, is a lie of the devil. We need the entire Bible,from cover to cover. Psalms 119 talks much about His Word. John 1:1-14, there are many promises in the OT that I am sure they claim them but then say we don’t need the OT. Not so,we need all of God’s Word. Line upon line, precept upon precept.
[from Al Siebring, also via Facebook] I’m always struck by the “Road to Emmaus” story. (Luke 24).*
Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the conversation described in verse 27: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he (Christ) interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
The OT is all about Christ! Separating it from Scripture would gut the entire story of redemptive history.
Considering Jesus without considering the Old Testament is a little like getting a mystery novel and ripping out all but the last chapter: you know — the part where everyone is sitting in the drawing-room and the great detective points a finger at the perpetrator and thunders, “J’accuse!”
You have no idea what crime was committed or how the perp did it and thought he/she was going to get away with it (because you’ve even torn out the Tedious Recap Monologue with Red Herrings). So why read any of it?
And yet, that’s what happens when we choose to ignore the Old Testament. We read that Jesus is our Saviour, but miss the part about what we need to be saved from. People fulminate that YOU NEED JESUS! but we’re not exactly clear as to why.
And when that happens, people can easily just shrug and say, “No I don’t”. They figure that He said some “nice things” and was a “good person”, and some even fall into the trap of saying that He “set Himself up to be a martyr”. Jesus might turn up on posters with other “good people” — Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, St Francis of Assisi, JFK, the Dalai Lama — but if there’s nothing to indicate why He is The Answer — The Way, The Truth and The Life — then, as Al says, the whole point is lost.
The Old Testament reflects our own lives before encountering Jesus. Practically from birth, we’ve fallen away from God and He devotes pretty much all of His time to trying to draw us back to Him. We go through trials and wars and our own personal “Egypt” — the period when we seem light-years away from Him — and the wandering in the wilderness before we reach our own Promised Land.
That Promised Land is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and that is really What It’s All About, not the things the world tells us to pursue: money, prestige and self-esteem.
It’s worth noting what Glenys says: we have to take in the whole thing. Indeed, if you look at the instructions for eating the Passover lamb, you have to eat it all, and all at once, and with bitter herbs. It’s not pleasant, but then again, neither is the state we were in prior to meeting Jesus, and swallowing the Passover with the bitter herbs is necessary, so we can understand the reality of our need for Jesus.
If we shut our eyes to that reality, we also miss out on the repeated prophecies of hope, that whatever we’re going through now, God has something even better coming down the pike.
Amy Lee puts it so beautifully when she writes that “It’s as though we were the ones that obeyed.” Jesus assumed the disobedience we had fallen into and its consequences, and we get to move forward as if nothing had happened.
But we need to know that something did happen — not so we can wallow in guilt, but so we can remember and rejoice in the price Jesus paid for our freedom.
* Indeed, one of the things I love about the copies of the King James Version that I have is the cross-references in the centre column: at that point in the Gospel, all the prophetic references, the quotations Jesus would have laid on the two friends, are listed there.