The Gospel of John: The Robe!

“When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things,” (John 19:23-24)

The Robe is a 1942 historical novel about the  Crucifixion of Jesus, written by Lloyd C. Douglas. The book was one of the best-selling titles of the 1940s. It entered the New York Times Best Seller list in October 1942, four weeks later rose to No. 1, and held the position for nearly a year. The Robe remained on the list for another two years, returning several other times over the next several years including when the film adaptation  (featuring actor Richard Burton in an early role) was released in 1953.

According to Newsweek Magazine, Lloyd C. Douglas began his literary career after leaving the ministry at the age of 52. All of his novels, essays, and short stories relied on his spiritual background for thematic and creative inspiration. At the height of his popularity, Douglas was receiving on average 100 letters a week from fans.

One of those letters provided the inspiration for The Robe. Hazel McCann, a department store clerk from Ohio, wrote to Douglas asking what he thought had happened to Christ’s garments after the crucifixion. Douglas immediately began working on a novel based on this concept, sending each chapter to McCann as he finished it. Douglas and McCann finally met in 1941, and it was to her that Douglas dedicated the book.

I recall as a child that the movie version of Douglas’ book would be annually shown on network television, usually on or near Easter Sunday. My impression from the film was that the depiction of Jesus’ robe was that it contained an almost spiritual or mystical quality to it affecting each one who even touched it.

Today’s text refers to Jesus robe and a tunic. While John 19:23 refers to several garments which belonged to Jesus, and for which the soldiers divided among themselves, His tunic is given special attention by the Apostle John.

The IVP Background New Testament Commentary explains that, “Roman law as later codified in their legal Digests granted the soldiers the right to the clothes the executed man was wearing; it was customary to execute the condemned man naked. The basic unit of the Roman army was the contubernium, composed of eight soldiers who shared a tent; half-units of four soldiers each were sometimes assigned to special tasks, such as execution quads.”

Another commentator states that, “All the Synoptists (Matthew, Mark and Luke) relate the parting of the garments. The four pieces to be divided would be, the head-gear, the sandals, the girdle, and the tallith or square outer garment with fringes. Delitzsch thus describes the dress of our Lord: “On His head He wore a white sudar, fastened under the chin and hanging down from the shoulders behind. Over the tunic which covered the body to the hands and feet, a blue tallith with the blue and white fringes on the four ends, so thrown over and gathered together that the gray, red-striped undergarment was scarcely noticeable, except when the sandalshod feet came into view.”

Jesus’ tunic (χιτών; chiton) was an undergarment which was worn next to the skin. Clothes then were handmade and comparatively expensive to today’s manufactured clothing. The tunic became something the soldiers gambled for in order to not damage or ruin it.

However, as with everything which happens in life there was more to be seen than meets the eye. To begin with, when Jesus’ clothing was being divided among the soldiers and gambled for, it prompts the question as to exactly what garment Jesus was wearing while on the cross. The answer is that Jesus was naked while He hung on the cross. This was a further example of His humiliation on the sinner’s behalf.

Additionally, the dividing of Jesus’ garments, and the casting of lots for one soldier to win ownership of Jesus’ tunic, was a fulfillment of Scripture. While the soldiers were certainly not aware of this specific prophecy, those familiar with the Scriptures, then and now, should have been and should be. The prophecy occurs in Psalm 22:18.

Dr. John MacArthur explains, “In the psalm, David, beset by physical distress and mockery by his opponents, used the symbolism of the common practice in an execution scene in which the executioner divided the victim’s clothes to portray the depth of his trouble. It is notable that David precisely described a form of execution that he had never seen. The passage was typologically prophetic of Jesus, David’s heir to the messianic throne (see Matt. 27:46Mark 15:34).”

John Calvin comments, “Let us also learn that Christ was stripped of His garments that He might clothe us with righteousness; that His naked body was exposed to the insults of men that we may appear in glory before the judgment seat of God.”

May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

LORD’S DAY 3, 2019.

On each Lord’s Day this year, we will examine the 52 devotionals taken from the Heidelberg Catechism which are structured in the form of questions posed and answers given.

The Heidelberg Catechism was originally written in 1563. It originated in one of the few pockets of Calvinistic faith in the Lutheran and Catholic territories of Germany. Conceived originally as a teaching instrument to promote religious unity, the catechism soon became a guide for preaching as well.

Along with the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dordt, it forms what is collectively referred to as the Three Forms of Unity.

The devotional for LORD’S DAY 3 is as follows. Please take note of the biblical references given in each answer.

Q. Did God create people
so wicked and perverse?

A. No.
God created them good1and in his own image, 2 that is, in true righteousness and holiness, 3 so that they might truly know God their creator, 4 love him with all their heart, and live with God in eternal happiness, to praise and glorify him.5

1 Gen. 1:31.
2 Gen. 1:26-27.
3 Eph. 4:24.
4 Col. 3:10.
5 Ps. 8.

Q. Then where does this corrupt human nature come from?

A. The fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise.1 This fall has so poisoned our nature2 that we are all conceived and born in a sinful condition.3

1 Gen. 3.
2 Rom. 5:12-21.
3 Ps. 51:1-5.

Q. But are we so corrupt
that we are totally unable to do any good
and inclined toward all evil?

A. Yes, 1unless we are born again by the Spirit of God.2

1 Gen. 6:58:21Job 14:4Isa. 53:6.
2 John 3:1-8.

May truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!

LORD’S DAY 2, 2019.

On each Lord’s Day this year, we will examine the 52 devotionals taken from the Heidelberg Catechism which are structured in the form of questions posed and answers given.

The Heidelberg Catechism was originally written in 1563. It originated in one of the few pockets of Calvinistic faith in the Lutheran and Catholic territories of Germany. Conceived originally as a teaching instrument to promote religious unity, the catechism soon became a guide for preaching as well.

Along with the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dordt, it forms what is collectively referred to as the Three Forms of Unity.

The devotional for LORD’S DAY 2 is as follows. Please take note of the biblical references given in each answer.

Q. How do you come to know your misery?

A. The law of God tells me.1

1 Rom. 3:207:7-25.

Q. What does God’s law require of us?

A. Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22:37-40:

“‘You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your mind.’1
This is the greatest and first commandment.

“And a second is like it:
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’2

“On these two commandments hang
all the law and the prophets.”

1 Deut. 6:5.
2 Lev. 19:18.

Q. Can you live up to all this perfectly?

A. No.1

I have a natural tendency
to hate God and my neighbor.2

1 Rom. 3:9-20, 231 John 1:8, 10.
2 Gen. 6:5Jer. 17:9Rom. 7:23-248:7Eph. 2:1-3Titus 3:3.

May truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

LORD’S DAY 1, 2019.

Welcome to the first Sunday of 2019. On each Lord’s Day this year, we will examine the 52 devotionals taken from the Heidelberg Catechism which are structured in the form of questions posed and answers given.

The Heidelberg Catechism was originally written in 1563. It originated in one of the few pockets of Calvinistic faith in the Lutheran and Catholic territories of Germany. Conceived originally as a teaching instrument to promote religious unity, the catechism soon became a guide for preaching as well.

Along with the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dordt, it forms what is collectively referred to as the Three Forms of Unity. As one author describes the catechism, “It is a remarkably warm-hearted and personalized confession of faith, eminently deserving of its popularity among Reformed churches to the present day.

The devotional for LORD’S DAY 1 is as follows. Please take note of the biblical references given in each answer.

Q. What is your only comfort
in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own,1
but belong—body and soul,
in life and in death—2 to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.3

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,4
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.5
He also watches over me in such a way6
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven;7
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.8

Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life9
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.10

1 1 Cor. 6:19-20.
2 Rom. 14:7-9.
3 1 Cor. 3:23Titus 2:14.
4 1 Pet. 1:18-191 John 1:7-92:2.
5 John 8:34-36Heb. 2:14-151 John 3:1-11.
6 John 6:39-4010:27-302 Thess. 3:31 Pet. 1:5.
7 Matt. 10:29-31Luke 21:16-18.
8 Rom. 8:28.
9 Rom. 8:15-162 Cor. 1:21-225:5Eph. 1:13-14.
10 Rom. 8:1-17.

Q. What must you know to
live and die in the joy of this comfort?

A. Three things: first, how great my sin and misery are;1
second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery;2
third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance.3

1 Rom. 3:9-101 John 1:10.
2 John 17:3Acts 4:1210:43.
3 Matt. 5:16Rom. 6:13Eph. 5:8-102 Tim. 2:151 Pet. 2:9-10.

 May truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!

Happy New Year.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Another holiday season has come and gone with today being the conclusion, at least by singer Andy Williams’ perspective, of “the most wonderful time of the year.” Following today’s festive parades, family gatherings, holiday meals and assorted college football bowl games, the Christmas decorations will eventually come down and be put away for another year. The Hallmark Channel, and the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel, will conclude its Countdown to Christmas holiday programming. I may even cease listening to Christmas music for a while but that is highly suspect. Just ask my family.

What of this New Year (2019) which is now here? What are your goals, dreams and aspirations? What trips do you plan on taking? What resolutions do you plan on making? What books of the Bible do you plan on reading and studying? What exercise routines do you plan on beginning? Sorry, I just had to include that one.

Here’s a challenge for all of us who are followers of Jesus Christ and God’s children by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Christ alone. The challenge is set forth in today’s text. It is the biblical response to the magnificent and gracious salvation the Apostle Paul wrote about in Romans 1:1-11:36.

The response is for each disciple of Jesus to be a living sacrifice. This is our response to the many mercies of God and involves our daily yielding to the Word and will of God in our minds, emotions and wills. It is a striving with all our being, and with God’s strength, to be holy as He is holy (I Peter 1:16). This is our true, spiritual worship.

At the same time we are yielding, we are also not conforming to the fallen world’s system of rebelliousness against God and His Word. Rather, the Lord calls us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our minds are renewed by the Word of God (Psalm 1). Our souls are sanctified by the Word of God (John 17:17). This is the only way to know God’s will which is good, acceptable and perfect.

When the last college football bowl game today is completed, when the last piece of holiday baking is eaten and the final number of friends and family members have left for their homes, let us remember what still needs to be done. No, I’m not talking about cleaning the kitchen before going to bed in preparation for tomorrow’s work day.

Let us remember that each new day of each New Year gives each believer in Christ another opportunity to bring Him glory. Let us resolve that this year we will consistently do just that by being a living sacrifice.

May truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

Retrospective on a Year Soon Past.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Happy New Year’s Eve! Can you believe another year has come and gone so quickly as 2018? It seems it was just January 1 of this year as we are less than 24 hours away from January 1 of next year. Once every 365 days we stand poised to complete another annual seasonal cycle of winter, spring, summer, and fall before we begin another annual cycle of the same.

I am sure that you can look back upon 2018 and recall joys and sorrows, laughter and tears, accomplishments and defeats, along with various conclusions coupled with new beginnings. As one author wrote, Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Perhaps you find yourself on this New Year’s Eve in what is sometimes referred to as “God’s waiting room.” God’s waiting room is that time, or times, in your life when God calls you to patiently wait on Him before the next chapter of His plans for you to begin. Psalm 27:14 says, Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”

You may be waiting for your unborn child to be born, for a new job to begin or an old one to end, or perhaps for tat all too often taken for granted health to return. I recently discovered this poem by Deborah Ann Belka entitled God’s Waiting Room.

 In God’s waiting room . . .
I sometimes have to stay
at first I don’t understand
the reasons for His delay.

But while I am in there,
it becomes obvious to me
and He shows me why
I have to wait and see.

He wants me to learn,
how to depend just on Him
and my pride and conceit
He has to pare and trim.

He uses this waiting time,
for me to focus on His face
so that I can experience
the full measure of His grace.

He wants my every thought,
to be centered on His peace
though He takes His time
His love for me doesn’t cease.

He wants me to understand,
that waiting has its due season
and soon I will gather and reap
the answers to His reason.

In God’s waiting room . . .
I’ve learned about delay
and now I understand
how to trust Him every day!

 I so appreciate the New American Standard Bible translation of Romans 8:28. It is the only English translation, that I know of, that includes the phrase, “And we know that God causes…” The incidents we encountered this year, both good and bad, are ultimately due to a prior sovereign causality: God. He and He alone is in sovereign and in providential control of everything which happens in our lives. This certainly includes the experiences in which we understand what God is doing but especially those experiences in which we do not understand what His purpose is.

However, we can take comfort in knowing that everything which occurs in our lives, God causes to work together for good for those who are in Christ Jesus. Even when those good things involve waiting upon the Lord.

May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Gospel of John: Friends!

“You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:14-15).

One of the most popular songs Michael W. Smith ever wrote was entitled Friends. It is hard to believe now, but it was sung so often in churches and played on Christian radio so much that it soon became annoying to some people. Its popularity was based on the song’s theme of lasting friendships and the pain of saying goodbye to a dear friend. It also contained a singable melody.

When my wife and I were attending and serving at our home church in Southgate, MI, I often sang duets with a mutual friend of us both. My friend and I sang together in Christmas cantatas and provided special music sometimes for Sunday evening services.

When Diana and I left to serve in West Michigan, the farewell service held in our honor featured my friend and me singing, or at least me attempting to sing, the song Friends. While separated by the years and miles, social media enables my lifelong friend in Christ and me to still communicate and maintain our friendship.

As one pastor writes, “Friendship truly is one of the great joys of life. Everyone wants at least one good friend with whom to share joys and sorrows. Friends encourage us when we are down, and we encourage them when they need their spirits lifted. We work together with friends on common aims and interests. Whether we are rich or poor, young or old, male or female, we all treasure friendship.”

A friend is one with whom one associates and for whom there is affection or personal regard. This is what Jesus meant when He said to His disciples that they were His friends. Friendship with Jesus, and the mutual affection or personal regard we have for Him and He for us is demonstrated by our obedience to Him and based upon His substitutionary death on the cross for us.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Just as Abraham was called the “friend of God” (2 Chronicles 20:7; James 2:23) through God’s revelation to him, which he believed, so also those who follow Christ are privileged with extraordinary revelation through the Messiah and Son of God and, believing, become “friends” of God also. It was for his “friends” that the Lord laid down his life (John 15:13; 10:11-17).”

Show people today that you are their friend as you show them that you are the friend of Jesus Christ. Oh, by the way, here are the lyrics to an old song about Friends.

Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can’t believe the hopes He’s granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends

With the faith and love God’s given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you’ll live in
Is the strength that now you show
But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

The Gospel of John: A True Shepherd, Part Two.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.” (John 10:1-6)

What are some of the characteristics of a true and faithful shepherd? The qualities which a literal shepherd of sheep in ancient and present Israel certainly apply to the Lord Jesus Christ and His relationship to his followers or disciples. In the immediate aftermath of healing a man born blind in John 9, and the dialogue which followed with the unbelieving Jewish religious leaders known as the Pharisees, Jesus shared a parable in John 10:1-21 regarding a typical or faithful shepherd and his relationship to his sheep. One of the most significant characteristics of the shepherd was being a guardian and protector of the sheep.

The IVP Background Commentary states, It (John 10) is based on Old Testament images of God as the shepherd of Israel (Genesis 48:15; 49:24; Psalm 23:1; 28:9; 77:20; 99:6; Is 40:11; Ezekiel 34:11–31), of Israel as his flock (Psalm 74:1; 78:52; 79:13; 100:3) and of abusive or unfaithful religious leaders as destroyers of his flock (Jeremiah 23:1–2; Ezekiel 34). Faithful human shepherds (Jeremiah 3:15) included Moses, David (2 Samuel 5:2; Psalm 78:71–72) and the Davidic Messiah (Micah 5:4).”

Pastor Burk Parsons explains that, “When we hear the word shepherd, we typically think of a gentle, mild-mannered man in a relaxed posture surrounded by sheep grazing in a serene valley with beautiful hills. But that’s only part of the picture. Shepherds are first and foremost guardians and protectors of the sheep. They must be gentle and strong, tender and courageous, caring and fierce. Today, in many parts of the world, as in the ancient Near East, shepherds are some of the most skilled hunters and warriors among their people.”

I discovered that shepherds carry not only rods but also staffs (Psalm 23). What I once thought were two words referring to the same instrument, I discovered I was mistaken.

The rod was a short club that could be thrown with great speed at a fast-approaching predator. The rod was also used to discipline the sheep when they were fighting, to examine the sheep, beneath their wool, to ensure they were free from skin diseases, and to also number the sheep (Ezekiel 20:37).

The staff, on the other hand, was a much longer, narrow rod with a crook on the end that was used for many purposes. It was primarily used to guide the sheep and to rescue them from thickets or from the crag of a rock.

The shepherd’s rod and staff were always visible to the sheep. The shepherd always walked and dwelt among his sheep, rather than sit on a hillside overlooking the sheep. He was always with them. His rod and his staff, the tools he used to guard, rescue, and protect his sheep, were a constant comfort to his flock. In John 10, Jesus describes in His parable the characteristics of the true shepherd.

First, true shepherd enters by the gate to the sheepfold and not by another way, as would a thief or a robber. During the cold winter months, sheep were kept inside a pen at night. The pen, or corral, usually had a stone wall, which might have briers on top of it.  Remember, winter was approaching at the time of the Feast of the Tabernacles (John 7-9). Jewish law distinguished thieves from robbers in that the former broke in, whereas the latter often lived in the wilderness and would have no reason to enter the sheep pen other than by the gate. Jesus said, “But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens.” Jesus is the true shepherd of believing sinners.

Second, the sheep know the voice of the shepherd. “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” We follow and hear the voice of the Lord when we obey His Word.

What is true of literal shepherds is also true of our spiritual shepherd: the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the true Shepherd and Savior of our souls. His voice, or word, we are to follow and obey.

Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only Savior and Shepherd of your soul? Are you following Him by obedience to His Word: the Bible?

Soli deo Gloria!

The Gospel of John: Who Honors Me?

The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’  Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” (John 8:52-56.

As we continue to work our way through John 8, we witness a recurring pattern in John’s account of Jesus’ dialogue with the Jewish religious leaders of His day. The more questions Jesus answers, the more questions the religious leaders pose. Their appetite for contention is never satisfied. Their aptitude for unbelief is beyond belief.

The same may be said for our discussions with unbelievers today. The more questions believers answer, the more questions the unconverted ask. They are never, ever satisfied.

The questions the Jews posed to Jesus included (1) Are you greater than our Father Abraham, and (2) who do you make yourself out to be? The obvious answers are that Jesus is greater than Abraham and He has testified that He is God in the flesh. As God, He is able to conquer death; something Abraham and the prophets were unable to accomplish.

Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus did not seek the honor which was and is due Him. He made Himself of no reputation (Philippians 2:5-11). However, as Jesus approached the culmination of His ministry He asked the Father to restore to Him the majesty which rightly belonged to Him (John 17:1-5; I Timothy 3:16). It is this glory which all will see when Jesus returns in power, might and glory (Matthew 24:30; 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10).

Jesus spoke personally of Abraham and declared to the Jews in attendance that the Jewish Patriarch rejoiced to see Jesus’ day. Dr. R. C. Sproul explains that, “This statement shows clearly in OT times, believers were saved through faith in Christ, who was presented to them in the shadows and types given by God to reveal His redemptive plan (Acts 4:12; Hebrews 10:1-18). Our Lord’s teaching astonished the Jews, for it meant that He viewed Himself as greater than Abraham and the prophets. After all, they died and their words could not prevent other Jews from dying (8:53). Jesus, however, is far different, and the Jews would soon learn just how different from the old covenant saints He is.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

Sola Scriptura: The Value of the Old Testament: Jesus Christ.

What does the Old Testament contribute to our understanding of the person and work of Jesus Christ? There are those who would say and teach that the OT is unnecessary regarding our understanding of the Gospel. All the church needs, they say, is the doctrine of the resurrection to truly be converted.

However, the Old Testament mightily contributes to not only our understanding of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but also to everything else which is necessary for us to believe in order to be truly converted unto salvation.

We begin with the proto-evangelion which is also known as the first gospel (Genesis 3:15). This verse is the first promise of redemption found in Scripture. Jesus is the seed of the woman (Galatians 4:4) who will destroy Satan (I John 3:8) Noah’s Ark pictures Jesus Christ as the true ark who keeps believers safe from the waters of divine judgment (I Peter 3:20-21). The ram Abraham offered instead of Isaac is a picture of substitutionary atonement which is provided solely through Jesus Christ (Genesis 22:13).

In the Book of Exodus, Jesus Christ became the fulfillment of the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12; Numbers 9:12; I Corinthians 5:7; John 1:29). He is the manna from heaven, the true bread of life (Exodus 16; John 6:32-35). He is also pictured as the water from the rock (Exodus 17:1-6; Numbers 20:1-11; John 4; I Corinthians 10:1-4).

In the Book of Numbers, Jesus is like the bronze serpent who was lifted up (Numbers 21:1-9; John 3:14). From the Book of Leviticus, Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the five major offerings (burnt, grain, peace, sin, and guilt). Jesus Christ is also the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:7-10).

The story of Jonah, and his three days in the belly of the great fish, is the prophetic picture of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (Matthew 12:39-41; John 2:18-22).

The Old Testament refers to Jesus Christ in several metaphorical comparisons. These include the following: Jesus is the rejected cornerstone (Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20). He is the shepherd of the flock who is slaughtered (Zechariah 11:4-14), the stone cut without human hands (Daniel 2:34-45), and the branch of David and stump of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1-5; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Ezekiel 17:22-23; Zechariah 3:1-8; 6:12).

Jesus Christ is the millennial king (Psalm 72), and the fulfillment of the Davidic kingly line (2 Samuel 7; Jeremiah 30:1-9; Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24-25; Hosea 3:1-5). He is the Great Prophet (Deuteronomy 18; Numbers 24:17-19; Acts 3:22-23). Jesus is also the Son of Man (Daniel 7:13-14) who will return on the clouds of heaven (Matthew 24:30; Mark 14:62; Revelation 1:7).

Jesus is from the lineage of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; Galatians 3:16), the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Revelation 5:5), and the family of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16; I Chronicles 17:11-13; Matthew 1:1). He was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) and in the tiny village of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1-6). His birth would provoke violence by His enemies (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18).

John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, was also predicted in the Old Testament (Isaiah 40:1-4; Malachi 3:1, 4:1-6; Matthew 3:1-3, 11:10-14, 17:12-13; Luke 1:17; John 1:23). Psalm 69:1-8 predicted the Jesus’ own family would reject Him (Matthew 12:46-50; John 7:1-5).

Jesus is proclaimed to be the incarnate God (Psalm 45:1-7; Hebrews 1:8-9) and the sovereign King and Priest (Psalm 110:1-7; Matthew 22:43-44; Acts 2:33-34; Hebrews 1:3, 5:6-10, 6:20). He would also be cursed (Deuteronomy 21:22-23; Galatians 3:10-14).

Jesus’ return to earth from heaven is predicted in Daniel 9:24-27. Zechariah 9:9 predicts His triumphant entrance into Jerusalem prior to His crucifixion (Matthew 21:1-5).

The Old Testament prophesies the betrayal by Judas (Psalm 41:1-9, 55:12-14) including the amount of money involved and what was eventually done with the blood money (Zechariah 11:1-13). Also predicted was the scattering of the disciples after Jesus’ arrest and trial (Zechariah 13:1-7; Matthew 26:31-56), Jesus’ beatings and abuse in the court of the high priest (Micah 5:1; Matthew 26:67-68), by the temple guard (Mark 14:65) and the Romans (Matthew 27:27-30).

The Old Testament also previews the scene of the cross (Psalm 22) which includes the casting of lots for Jesus’ clothing (Psalm 22:18), the giving Him of sour wine (Psalm 69:21), His legs remaining unbroken (Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Psalm 34:20; John 19:31-36), and the piercing of His side (Zechariah 12:10).

Jesus’ resurrection is prophesied in Psalm 2:7 and 16:1-10. Psalm 109:1-8 even predicted Judas’ replacement (Acts 1:20). Psalm 68:18 refers to Jesus’ ascension.

Dr. John MacArthur states, “But nowhere in the Old Testament is the coming Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, more fully and clearly revealed than in the prophecies recorded by Isaiah. Isaiah reveals Him as the incarnate Son of God, Immanuel (7:14; 8:8); the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace (9:6); the Branch (4:2; 11:1); and most frequently the servant of the Lord (42:1; 49:5-7; 52:13; 53:11).

My conclusion is that it is ridiculous to even consider detaching ourselves from the wealth of God’s revelation contained in the Old Testament concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. May we continue to do plumb the depths of this rich testament from God.

Soli deo Gloria!