Sermon Series: The Gospel According to the Old Testament

The Old Testament tells the history of the ancient people of God: the nation Israel. They are the children of Abraham, the man God choose and called, and to whom he gave a promise, sealed by a covenant, that through Abraham’s family God would bless all the families of the earth.

A common way of reading and understanding the O.T. is to find in the various stories examples for us to follow… or not. To see in the exemplary characters patterns for us to follow and in those that are less-than-exemplary, the pitfalls we should avoid. While this way of reading has some merit, the danger is that we simply moralize the text. That is, we merely seek to find the ‘moral of the story.’ And thus we come away challenged to ‘be like Moses’ or ’be like David,’ to ‘have courage like Joshua,’ or negatively, ‘don’t be like the 10 disobedient spies,’ ‘don’t be like wicked Saul.’ Great moral lessons, but not much hope for success.

But Jesus and the writers of the N.T. see far more in the O.T. than merely a collection of good morals, like Aesop’s Fables. The O.T. is, both as a whole and in its parts, an unfolding of the Good News that God has been at work throughout human history to accomplish salvation for lost humanity, winning rebels to his gracious will. This unfolding of the Gospel culminates in the giving of his own Son, the Messiah to fully and finally redeem a people for himself. Jesus himself said to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, “Didn’t you understand from the Scriptures…” and then he opened to them all the Law and the Prophets showing how the entire O.T. is a pointer to himself. Everywhere you open it the O.T. is going to build an expectation for something that only Jesus Christ can satisfy.