In St. Luke’s Gospel, the 24th Chapter, Jesus once again links His Word and His work to the Old Testament. Significantly, Jesus once again confesses and testifies that the Old Testament finds its fulfillment in Him.
St. John the Evangelist records Jesus as saying, “You continue to search/examine the Scriptures (Old Testament writings), because you think in them you have eternal life, and those are they which testify about me” (John 5:39, own translation). Here, Jesus is saying that all the Old Testament is about Him.
Certainly, God does make known how He created the world in six days (Genesis 1), how He delivered His enslaved people from bondage in Egypt under Pharaoh to the Promised land (Exodus 5ff), how He sent prophet after prophet to idolatrous Israel that they repent (2 Chronicles 24:19) , how Israel divided into two kingdoms (Judah-South; Israel-North) and was later taken over by ungodly nations, and how God promised deliverance to His people (Ezekiel 34:23; 37:23).
Through the Old Testament Scripture, God reveals the history of the world and His people. However, the Old Testament is not limited to these histories alone. The three sections of the Old Testament writings, which Jesus also designates as the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Writings are all about Him. They point to Him. They find their fulfillment in Him. They have their completion in Him.
The Law of Moses, also known as the Torah and the Pentateuch, consist of the first five books of the Old Testament. But even beginning in Genesis (3:15), a deliverer and savior is promised and described. (See also, for example, Genesis 12:3; 17:2 & Exodus 13:2 w/ Luke 2:21, 22-24; Deuteronomy 18:15-22; Exodus 12 w/ Luke 22:1, 7, 14-23).
These books of the Old Testament may not explicitly name who the coming savior is, but they do indeed make known what He will do and for whom He will speak, albeit partially, though truly. For the whole picture, we must also look at the other two sections of the Old Testament writings, the Prophets, and the Writings, and then also look throughout the New Testament to see how Jesus speaks of how He fulfills the Old Testament in the Gospels, and then how the apostles in their letters further reveal these life-saving truths, centering on Jesus Christ as Savior of the world from sin and eternal death.
Especially in the Prophets, God reveals the coming one. Read Isaiah 53, for example. Allusions also abound, as in Daniel 3:25. Jonah, too, in the belly of the fish for three days and for three nights, typifies Jesus death and burial (Jonah 1:17 w/ Matthew 12:40). I encourage you also to read and study the Old Testament references given in connection to Luke 1:31-33 (i.e. Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; 16:5; Jeremiah 23:5-6 <also Matthew 1:21-23>Writings—2 Samuel 7:12-13, 15-16; Psalm 132:11).
St. Luke, in writing the Acts of the Apostles, also testifies how Christ fulfills the Old Testament (i.e. Acts 3:18 w/ Isaiah 50:6-7 <Luke 9:51>; Zechariah 13:6. Hosea also speaks of “the third day” (Hosea 6:2).
The Writings, too, witness the coming One (Messiah). These include Job (Job 19:25) the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Historical Books (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, etc.). See Psalm 22: 1 w/Matthew 27:46 and Psalm 16:8-11, 68:18, & 110:1 w/ Acts 2:22-36.
The Old Testament together mightily witnesses of the Coming One. The individual references in the Old Testament do not give the entire picture of the Messiah as do the Gospels, but they do point to Him and in Christ they find their fulfillment.
Both on the road to Emmaus and with His disciples later that Easter Day in Luke 24, Jesus opens the meaning of the Old Testament Scriptures, also to us. His suffering, death, burial, and resurrection on the third day all are spoken of in the Old Testament. This does not mean, however, that the three sections, the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Writings, all speak about Jesus in exactly the same way or give similar testimony. Far from implying any contradiction, which is not a characteristic of Holy Scripture in any sense, this simply suggests complementary testimony within the text. Jonah and Hosea, for example, speak of three days, but Moses may not.
I might also add that, when reading the Old Testament, reference to Christ might not be immediately clear from the text itself. However, Christ and the Apostles, then, point to how they are. This should not be understood as to suggest that the First Testament is in any way deficient in its witness. Remember, Christ had not appeared until John the Baptist came on the scene, who is sometimes understood as the last of the Old Testament prophets (Malachi 3:1 & Isaiah 40:3-5 w/ Luke 3:2-6). Rather ought we to see the Old Testament Scripture pointing to and centered on the Savior to come and finding its fulfillment in Him who died and rose again from the dead on the third day.
Jesus a number of times foretold His upcoming suffering, death, and resurrection while He was still with His disciples (i.e. Luke 9:21-22; 43-45; 18:31-34). In the latter two references, Luke indicates that the disciples had not understood what Jesus was saying. Therefore, the sorrow of the two disciples on the third day (Luke 24:17) corresponds with the other disciples who were fearful of the Jews after Jesus’ death. Their sorrow also demonstrates their unbelief and the unbelief of the other disciples concerning Jesus’ word about His resurrection three days after His death. They still hadn’t gotten it, that is, until Jesus opened their understanding (Luke 24:27, 45). It is the same way with us. If we fail to see and believe that the Old and New Testament Scriptures center on Jesus and are about Him and our salvation in Him, the Bible will continue to remain a closed book.
“These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31).
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