Many people don’t bother to read the Old Testament because we have the New Testament. But what if we read the OT through the lens of Jesus? Why would we do such a thing? Jesus tells us to.
Jesus Says the Old Testament Points to Him
Jesus had just joined two disciples returning home after being in Jerusalem for Passover. They didn’t recognize Jesus but shared that they were disappointed that Jesus died. Luke 24:25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. 26 Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
The Jews had developed their theology about the Messiah. They wanted him to be a political king who would overcome their enemies. They emphasized the Scriptures that pointed to this and ignored other Scripture that didn’t fit their idea. As the three walked to Emmaus, Jesus explained how Messiah would suffer.
We would love to have this teaching recorded, but it is not in the Bible. What Scripture may Jesus have used to point to the need for the cross? Perhaps Jesus taught on Isaiah 53, the suffering servant, Psalm 22, which describes crucifixion, or Zechariah 9, which predicts His triumphant ride into Jerusalem and speaks of a new blood covenant.
We Need to Use the Lens of Jesus to Read the Old Testament
It is easy to accuse these first-century Jews of reading Scripture through the wrong end of the telescope. But as sinful humans, we do similar things. We interpret Scripture through our worldview as we each have biases. It is easy to let our favorite Bible teacher or denominational theology interpret the Bible for us. But I think God did not record Jesus’ teaching on the road to Emmaus so that we will dig into the Bible for ourselves.
God loves when His children spend time with Him, and one way to do this is by reading and meditating on Scripture. He has given us the full complement of the Old and New Testaments for a reason. Good Bible teachers are undoubtedly helpful, but we need to be in the Word, if possible, daily. We can pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we read. John 16: 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.
Using the lens of Jesus to read the Old Testament, this Lenten series was developed. As we look at Holy Days God commanded His people to celebrate 1400 years before Jesus was born, and we see that they foreshadow what Jesus will do on the cross. What a God we serve! To hear more about re-read the Old Testament through the lens of Jesus, listen here: