by Don Walker
How thrilling it must have been to be able to walk with Cleopas and Jesus on the road to Emmaus when Jesus began “at Moses and all the prophets, [and] expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). It is no wonder their hearts burned within them when He opened up to them the Scriptures (Luke 24:32). There is no greater subject than Jesus the Christ, nor is there any greater pursuit than to “know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Phil. 3:10).
The prophets discussed all significant matters concerning the life of Jesus Christ. The life of our Savior was set forth in the pages of the Old Testament Scriptures for all who had access to see. Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). So when Moses wrote the Books of Law he wrote of Jesus. When the poets wrote the Wisdom Literature, they wrote of Jesus, and when the prophets wrote their God-given messages, they too wrote of Jesus. When John fell down to worship the angel in Revelation 19, the angel responded, “See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10).
Passages such as Genesis 3:15, Psalm 22, and Isaiah 53 are but a very small fragment of that which proclaimed Christ hundreds and even thousands of years before “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14). Not only do these passages exist, but they also served and serve as a great evangelistic tool. When Paul went into Thessalonica “as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead” (Acts 17:2, 3). Which sermon in the Book of Acts does not go back to the Old Testament and tie those passages to Jesus Christ himself? That which the prophets wrote concerning Christ was searched and proclaimed as authoritative concerning the Lord. These were the words, not of experts, but of men who were inspired of God – the very words of our God. However, what is truly mesmerizing is the fact that the prophets did not benefit from their own words as much as those who would come after them. Peter spoke of the salvation of which we take part in and said this concerning the prophets.
Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, continued from page 1 that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. (1 Pet. 1:10-12)
There are certainly some observations in this passage that are worthy of our time. First, we see the diligence possessed by the prophets as they longed to know more and more about He of Whom they wrote. Second, we must note that the things they wrote were even of interest to the angels in heaven. Third, and this may be the most outstanding point of all from our perspective, they did not write these things for themselves, but rather they wrote these things for you and me. This is a tremendous blessing that we too often take for granted. For many, the Old Testament is off limits as far as their time, interest, and study is concerned. That is a shame because it is a thrill to be able to go back and study the faith building passages of old that explode in clarity and brightness in the pages of the New Testament.
For these and other reasons we encourage you to consider this volume of the Christian Worker and others to come that will shine the light of the New Testament on the shadows of the Old Testament. It should prove to be a thrilling study indeed. May we exalt our Lord daily as we study our Bibles more and more.