Finding Jesus in the Old Testament: Why Study the Old Testament, Part 3

Jesus lived and breathed the Old Testament. He told friends and enemies alike that the Old Testament pointed directly to Him. Jesus’ preaching and teaching reflected His reliance on Old Testament Scripture. Here, we will talk about how those who followed Him and began to preach and teach used Old Testament Scripture in their preaching and teaching to prove Jesus was who He claimed to be: the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, the much anticipated Messiah. They also viewed Scripture as more reliable than eyewitness testimony—both good reasons to study the Old Testament.

Jesus Fulfills Old Testament Prophecy

The New Testament preachers and teachers often referred to Jesus being the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. For instance, Peter’s first sermon in Acts 2:14-41 ties Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascensionSaint Peter - Peter Paul Rubens directly to the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy. In another sermon,  Peter refers to Christ’s fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy when he says, “But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18).

Another example of Christ fulfilling Old Testament prophecy is set out in Acts 8. An angel told Philip to go to a particular road. So, he went. A man from Ethiopia was sitting in a chariot reading from the book of Isaiah. Philip asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” (Acts 8:30-31) The Ethiopian was reading Isaiah 53:35, which states, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not his mouth….” He asked about whom the prophet was speaking. In response, Philip “beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” Acts 8:35 AMP

When Peter and John were arrested, Peter addressed the religious leaders, tying Jesus to Old Testament prophecies (Acts 4).

The New Testament’s revelation of the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies is much clearer proof of Jesus being the Messiah than any particular experience of an individual. The reality of experiences can fade, but the Scripture is always before us leading us back to the Truth.

Preaching Jesus from the Old Testament

Stephen’s address in Acts 7 is brimming with pictures of Jesus. He walks his audience through Israel’s history and shows them that Israel’s habit of rejecting those God sends to them was repeated in their rejection of Jesus.

And then there was Saul, who was later known as Paul, who immediately preached Christ after his conversion from a nonbeliever to a believer and “confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 9:22). Paul over and over again preached Jesus from the Old Testament.

Teaching Old Testament Scripture

In Romans, Paul quotes the Old Testament more than fifty times. He refers to the Gospel as that which God “promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures”. Paul also says in 2 Timothy that the “Holy Scriptures,” which at that time were only the Old Testament, can make us wise to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. He goes on to say that all Scripture (Old Testament) is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

Paul also wrote that the Scriptures were written as examples for us (1 Corinthians 10:11); they are for our learning and to give us hope through encouragement (Romans 15:4). 

The Old Testament is a More Sure Word

Let’s not forget that the Apostle Peter considered the Old Testament Scripture “more sure” than an individual’s spiritual experience (2 Peter 1:19). Yes, Peter, the disciple who walked with Jesus for three years, witnessed Jesus in all His glory during His transfiguration and heard the voice of God (Matthew 17:1-6) said that Scripture was more sure proof of Jesus than His eyewitness account.

As you can see, the Old Testament was not ignored by the first preachers or teachers of the New Testament and should not be overlooked by us either. The Old Testament proves that Jesus is who He said He was. Scripture is a more sure word! 




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I am a truth seeker by nature. My passion is studying God's Word and sharing His Truth with others.

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