And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, Jesus explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. —Luke 24:27 (NIV)
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. —Psalm 51:2-3 (NRSV)
I often reflect on Luke 24:27 and would love to have been with the disciples as Jesus explained to them what the Scriptures, i.e., the Old Testament, said about himself so that I could know the exact passages. This is one of the reasons why I began to read Robert L. Reymond’s book, Jesus—Divine Messiah: The New and Old Testament Witness. Reymond is a thorough and meticulous scholar as well as a fine exegete. He makes a compelling case for the Old Testament witness about Christ and I have learned a lot by reading his work. In the process, I have also begun to sharpen my skill at reading the Old Testament through the lense of the New Testament witness about Jesus. The following example illustrates this point.
Recently as I was reading Psalm 51, a psalm I read regularly, I began to read it in a new light. As I read the psalmist’s words, “wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,” for the first time I thought about the blood of Christ and how this petition has been answered by his death on the cross. I am made clean by the blood of the Lamb and as I wrote last week, this image, once gross and repugnant to me, is now quite precious. Christ’s atoning death is the sole source of my hope and his blood represents the answered prayers of every penitent heart who seeks him in faith.
In terms of reading the Old Testament, I am beginning to discover that reading it with an eye on Christ makes the text even more powerful and alive for me. I seem to be able to read it with a deeper faith, a fuller understanding, and a wondrous awe at its truly integrative and trustworthy nature. I also give thanks to God for blessing me with grace that makes all this possible according to my ability to comprehend it.
What about you? How do you read the Old Testament? Do you believe it speaks of Christ? If so, in what way(s)? Has it enriched your reading and understanding of the infallible Word of God? Share with us your stories and then trust that God will use them so that together we may all be able to read God’s Word more faithfully and with a deeper understanding.