Is Jesus in the Old Testament, Too?
We often hear the catchy phrase that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. As you read the New Testament gospels, you can catch a glimpse of how the New Testament stories of Jesus might be revealing the answer to some Old Testament verses (such as the Passover Lamb and riding into Jerusalem on a donkey). However, we have a harder time looking in our Old Testament and finding Jesus. If it is concealed, how do we find them? For the most part, we seemed to be satisfied just to have the accounts in the New Testament of His life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, and don’t feel the need to see if it was prophesied somewhere long ago. Does the Old Testament really predict all of these events ahead of time and is Jesus really concealed in all its pages? Another fascinating story, on the heels of the Emmaus Road story in Luke 24:36-49 will shed some light on this question. Is Jesus really in the Old Testament?
The story in Luke has Jesus appearing to his disciples the evening of the day that he was resurrected. John 20:19 tells us that the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid that the Jewish leaders were after them. Jesus suddenly appeared in their midst and began conversing with them. As you can imagine, even though he was standing among them, they were having a hard time believing that He had actually come back from the grave. Jesus showed them His hands and feet and ate a piece of fish so they would see that He was indeed alive and not a ghost!
Then, in verse 44-49, it says, ”he opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures.” In verse 44, He made this amazing statement, “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses (Torah), the Prophets (Neviim) and the Psalms (Ketuvim).” The Hebrew Bible is called the Tanakh because of these three divisions. (Read, A Lesson from the Tanakh for a complete description). Jesus was saying, “I have fulfilled every prophecy in every part of the Hebrew scriptures that you know so well. Every section of the text refers back to me.” What a lesson that must have been when He showed them everything that had just happened in the Hebrew Text!
What was the result of Jesus opening their minds to understanding the fact that they had actually been traveling with the ”Son of God”, the, promised, “Messiah” for three years? Jesus told them that because they were eyewitnesses to the fulfillment of all these prophecies, they were going to be responsible to now go out “and preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem.” This sounds just like the parallel verse in Matthew 28:18-20, that we call the Great Commission. And, that is what they did, starting in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. The disciples ended up all over the known world, spreading the good news that their Rabbi and Messiah had taught and shown them while he was in their midst. What they had seen and been shown in the word convinced them to be completely sold out to their faith, even to the point of death, for all of them. This should give us more incentive to find Christ ourselves in the pages of the book and make his name known to a world that badly needs his promise of salvation.
P.S. An excellent place to start a study to find Christ in the Old Testament would be these two short articles:
About the author:
Bob is the creator of this site and a disciple of Ray Vander Laan. Along with his wife of 50 years, he teaches a Bible study at Christ’s Church in Roswell, NM. He is also an avid hunter and fisher.