All about him

It really is all about Jesus, every bit of it. I sometimes teach a class on the Pentateuch—the first five books of the Old Testament—and my top goal in the class is to help people see that every page we read is about the Christ we confess. It’s not “What We Learn From the Flood,” or “Abraham, the Leader of his Family,” or “Moses: Leadership 101.”

It’s about Jesus. All of it.

Sometimes in our Bible reading we hurry through the Old Testament so we can get to Jesus in Matthew, but that’s a big mistake. We won’t even be able to see Jesus in the gospels if we don’t see him in Genesis, not really.

Here’s one thing Jesus said about the first 39 books of your Bible:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:17-20).

We claim to be New Testament Christians—and I understand why—but I think it’d be better to call ourselves Bible Christians. Jesus didn’t come to set the Old Testament aside so that we could focus our attention on what’s really important—the New Testament.

He came to fulfill it, to show us its ultimate meaning, to help us see him there.

After the resurrection Jesus had an extended conversation with a couple of disciples who were discouraged because they thought he was still dead. Luke gives us a hint about what Jesus taught them: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

I’d love to have heard that sermon, but apparently it began in Genesis 1 and finished in Malachi 4. The subject of the sermon?

Jesus himself.

It might be that you haven’t spent much time in the first part of your Bible. Maybe you’re mostly reading the New Testament—it’s good that you’re reading any part of the Bible, of course.

But I’d urge you to look again at the earlier books. Try to look beneath the genealogies and laws and regulations and find Jesus. You might want to get some kind of reading guide that’ll help.

But I guarantee you it’ll strengthen your faith. In fact, of all the reasons I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the strongest one for me is that I just don’t see how any group of people could’ve written everything in the Old Testament that’s so beautifully and completely fulfilled in one Person, Jesus Christ.

It’s all about him, from beginning to end. Maybe realizing that will re-energize your Bible reading. Maybe it’ll help you be less self-centered and more Jesus-centered . . . we all need that.

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