What Jesus said the Scriptures are About


Previously I posted and attempted to answer the question: What is the point of Genesis? This related question is what our Lord himself said the Bible of their day--the Old Testament Scriptures (OT)--is about.

1. The OT testify about Jesus. Jesus told the Bible teachers of Israel, "These are the very Scriptures that testify about me" (John 5:39).

2. Moses wrote about Jesus. The Bible teachers of Israel believed in the Law and in Moses and rejected Jesus, because of his message of unconditional love for sick and "bad" people. Jesus told them plainly, "If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me" (John 5). Therefore, the Pentateuch is about Jesus.

3. The OT concern Jesus. Jesus taught the Bible to 2 men who were in despair. What was Jesus' emphasis in Bible study? Luke tells us: "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself" (Luke 24:27). When Bible study focused on Jesus, their hearts were burning (Luke 24:32).

4. The OT writes about Jesus, which Jesus fulfills. Jesus said to his disciples, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms” (Luke 24:44).

For instance, when we study about the patriarchs in Genesis, or any of the characters in the OT, it is not primarily about certain positive traits in them we should emulate (be like Jacob who "valued" God's blessing), or negative traits in them we should not emulate (don't be like Esau, who is an animal man). Such teachings are not necessarily unbiblical. But if the Bible is taught in such a way, neither Jesus nor the gospel is presented. Pastor and theologian Edmond Clowney would call such a Bible study or message a "synagogue sermon," which means that a Jewish rabbi would be able to teach the same thing as the Christian Bible teacher or preacher. Such teachings are moral and ethical. It does not change or transform the heart, which only happens when the heart is confronted by Christ and the gospel (2 Cor 3:18).

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