I am about to start day two of the conference after what was a truly motivating first day. The theme of The Gospel Coalition this year is Preaching Christ from the Old Testament. As I hear each speaker, I am more and more convinced that this is a subject that many pastors and teachers (including myelf) desperately need to hear.
Our first speaker yesterday was Al Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Not only is the guy an uber genius, but he’s also a staunch advocate for truth and a genuine lover of Christ. He demonstrated for us how we tend to practically deny the Old Testament as being God’s Word by the manner in which we treat it. It’s true that we own a Bible with both the Old and New Testaments and when asked, we will declare that the Old Testament is holy Scripture, but most of the time we act as if the Old Testament isn’t attached… except for maybe Psalms and Proverbs (which are conveniently printed with many of the evangelistic New Testaments that we hand out). We often neglect the Old Testament because it seems so foreign to us and we don’t see Jesus in its pages. But the reality is that Jesus is everywhere in the Old Testament which is why Jesus said to the Jews in John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” When Jesus spoke these words the New Testament had not been written, so the “Scriptures” he is speaking of is the Old Testament. The Old Testament bears witness about Jesus too. The entire Bible is God’s story and Jesus is the hero from beginning to end. This seems hard for us to grasp with all of the strange laws and wars of the Old Testament, not to mention the fact that the Old Testament never uses the name Jesus to describe the coming Messiah. But all of the Old Testament was strategically laid out by God to point to Jesus and pave the way for His coming. It is true, some of the aspects of the Old Testament are easier to connect to Jesus than others, but let me give you a helpful tip to get you started with identifying Christ in the first 39 books of the Bible. Yesterday in a panel discussion, D.A. Carson (another uber genius) told us to identify the ways in which the New Testament writers connected the Old Testament to Christ. There are tons of Old Testament quotations and allusions in the New Testament that he says we should start identifying to help us begin glorying in the Jesus of the entire Bible. So, if you want to see Jesus in the Old Testament, then every time a New Testament author quotes the Old Testament, go back to the source of the quotation (if you have a cross-reference Bible it will be footnoted) and see how he used it. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have more than half of the Bible come alive to you as so much more than a bunch of morality tales and lists that go on for chapters at a time! Christ is there!