Sunday, November 28, 2010

Every story whispers His name

"Wait a minute, Jesus is in the Old Testament?"

I couldn't help but let out a chuckle and think, "Where have you been these last three months?" You see, since the beginning of August, our Kingdom Kids class has been scouring the Old Testament stories for signs of the promised Messiah. For 12 weeks, we've bent our ears and listened for whispers of Christ in the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, and David. How had this child missed what we had been emphasizing for so long? I was about to let out a sigh of frustration, when I realized it was not a lack of listening that had prompted the question; but rather, it was a moment of recognition. Jesus is in the Old Testament, as well as the New.

This is a truth that even many adults miss. I was part of a conversation about curriculum when a woman spoke, "Why do we spend so much time studying the stories of the Old Testament? We should stick to teaching about Christ because he's the one who saves us." She's right that Christ should be at the center of our teaching and preaching, but she was mistaken in thinking that the Old Testament was not about Jesus.

Jesus is the one who would crush the head of the lying serpent and clear the way back to the Tree of Life. He would be the ark that saves the people from the flood of God's wrath. He would come from the seed of Abraham and bring blessing to the whole world. Like Joseph, Jesus would be punished even though he had done nothing wrong. Like Moses, he would release the captives from bondage and lead them safely to the Promised Land. He would be the Passover lamb that was slain so that his blood would cover the people. He would be the mediator between God and man. He would be the true Yeshua who would remind the people that "Yahweh saves." He would be the son of David, a king whose kingdom would never end. He would be the fulfillment of the temple, God's dwelling with man. He would be the suffering servant, the stump of Jesse, and the holy branch. He would love his wayward wife, Israel, as Hosea bought back the prostitute, Gomer. He would descend into darkness, like Jonah, and emerge three days later.

No, Emmanuel had not yet been born, and no, the Word had not yet become flesh, but Christ inhabits the Old Testament as well as the New. As Sally Lloyd Jones puts it in The Jesus Storybook Bible,

"There are lots of stories in the Bible but all the stories are telling one big Story - the Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them. It takes the whole Bible to tell this story and at the center of the story, there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers His name. He is like the missing piece of a puzzle, the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together and suddenly, you can see a beautiful picture."

I also like how Timothy Keller puts it in this video:

Today marks the start of the Advent season. Journey with me through the stories of the Old Testament as we prepare for Christ's coming.

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