The Bible Jesus Used
Anyone who has been watching our “Jesus in the Old Testament” TV series on Christ in Prophecy knows that we hold the Old Testament in very high regard. All its prophets and promises pointed to Jesus Christ — both toward His First Advent and to His glorious Second Coming. In Peter’s first sermon to the gathered throngs in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, he pointed to fulfilled prophecy (Old Testament prophecy) to validate Jesus as the Messiah of Israel (Acts 2). The truth of his words pierced many of them to the heart, and about 3,000 of them believed and were baptized.
Jesus too, pointed to the prophetic Word. When He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (let the weight of that truth press in upon you!), He responded to the devil’s temptations by quoting the Old Testament. The circumstances and His responses were:
- Hunger — “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
- Recognition of His role as Messiah — “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (Deuteronomy 6:16).
- Worship of the world — “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only” (Deuteronomy 6:13).
Jesus’ prowess with the Word of God makes me realize that I have not studied Deuteronomy enough!
Likewise, when He launched His public ministry in Galilee, Jesus stood in the synagogue at Nazareth and read from Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord (Luke 4:18-19).
Over and over again, the Gospel writers document that Jesus referenced and cited Old Testament Scripture. Said another way, the Old Testament as we know it was the Bible Jesus used. Similarly, it is impossible to understand many of the prophecies referenced in the New Testament without a solid foundation of Old Testament understanding.
The point of all this is to encourage the study of all God’s Word. Hopefully, our “Jesus in the Old Testament” series has demonstrated that even books like Leviticus come alive with relevance and meaning when you read them looking for Jesus Christ. As He testified, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17-18).
New and Improved
The point is not to merely convince you that the Old Testament is rightly joined to the New. The very word “testament” demonstrates that they are testimonies of someone. The same Creator God who tells us in His Word how and why He created the heavens and the earth (to the depth He deemed appropriate) has also told us how He intends to bring human history to its final culmination.
Testament = a tangible proof or expression of a fact, event, or quality; a statement of disposition of property. (i.e. — will) Covenant between God and man.
That progression of revelation and action is eternally relevant. In the beginning, God created. He made the heavens and the earth and every living creature ex nihilo (out of nothing). He formed man from the dust of the earth (worthless, cast aside matter) and endued him with worth far above every other creature because he was made “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27).
What we consider the appearance of age is really a consequence of the fall: we grow old and eventually die. The wages of sin are the decay and death we suffer (Romans 6:23). Even when we recognize our helpless estate and aspire to choose wisely, we are trapped in bodies that are breaking down and saddled with a sinful nature (Romans 7:24). But Christ…
In His first recorded miracle, Jesus demonstrated His power over matter, space, and time. He changed water into wine during a wedding feast in Cana (John 2). This same Jesus — who was nailed to a cross and died, buried in a borrowed grave, rose again to life, and ascended into heaven as His disciples gazed on intently — has promised to make us new again! David sought solace when overwhelmed by the horror of his own sin. He fasted and prayed for seven days following Nathan’s rebuke. Psalm 51 captures his contrition. Just consider the broken heart that cried out, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:10-11).
The shepherd king had witnessed Saul descend into mental anguish and confusion when the Spirit of the Lord departed from him. He was desperate to stay close to the Almighty — and understood that his own sin had threatened that relationship. His worthy sacrifice was a broken spirit and a contrite heart.
Thankfully, while we too are called to confess our sins and repent, we have an even better sacrifice. Jesus Christ laid Himself on the altar and His blood covers all “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” — Matthew 5:17 our sins. That is why the writer of Hebrews describes the Gospel as a new covenant. When we put our trust in Christ, we receive the new heart and new spirit that God promised Israel in Ezekiel 36:25-27. And that is only a down payment on what is to come.
But Wait, There’s More!
In Revelation 21, John saw a new heaven and a new earth. Speaking of the coming future in the past tense, he observed that the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and there was no longer any sea. He watched as New Jerusalem came down out of heaven. The voice of God validated the name of the city foretold by Ezekiel (“Yahweh Shammah” — The Lord is there, Ezekiel 48:35). He said, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them” (Revelation 21:3).
The Lord promised there will no longer be “any mourning, or crying, or pain, the first things have passed away” (v. 4). Then He declared, “Behold, I am making all things new. Write, for these things are faithful and true” (v. 5).
We know that we are promised glorified bodies, which will be like Jesus’ body following His resurrection. They will not wear out or grow old. They will be unfettered by time or space and yet will be able to enjoy food and touch.
Human factors engineers speak of a phenomenon called sensory overload. That occurs when your five senses take in more information than your brain can process, causing your mind or body to either shut down or to flee from the overwhelming stimulation. Our natural senses can be so heightened that we are unaware of what is happening in the spiritual realm. That is exactly what happened with Elisha’s servant (2 Kings 6). Elijah, too, came to realize that God often speaks in a whisper instead of a cacophony of noise (1 Kings 19:11-13).
While you await your glorified body, make a point to shut out the clamor in order to hear the voice of the Lord. He has already given you a heart that is attuned to His. As His sheep, you will hear the Great Shepherd speaking to your heart. Praise Him for making you a new creature in Christ — and for the glorified body that awaits you when you meet Him face to face.