“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
Matthew 5:17 (NIV)
I recently took a Grace Communion Seminary course that was taught by theologian Gary Deddo. He describes the Bible as being at the centre of what we believe. At the centre of that are the words or descriptions of the Trinity. At the centre of that are the words of Jesus. This means Jesus is the centre of the centre of the centre. As a result, we read the Bible, as Gary would say, ‘through the lens of Jesus’. So, stories about Noah, Jonah, and Daniel, for example, are not standalone lessons, they teach us about Jesus.
Any of you who have heard me preach will probably have heard me refer to Luke chapter 24. I get drawn to this chapter again and again as I tell congregations about the centrality of Jesus. This chapter begins with the amazing account of Jesus’s resurrection, although it is the latter part of the chapter that I want to highlight now. Here Jesus speaks to a couple as they are walking along, and ‘beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.’ (v.27).
Later, when talking to his disciples, Jesus said to them, ‘ “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.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations… ” ’ (vv.44-47).
Don’t forget, the only scriptures these people had were what we now call the Old Testament. So, Jesus told people the good news concerning himself using scriptures that were written hundreds of years before he was on earth in human form, scriptures which, on the surface of it, appear to have nothing to do with him.
So next time you’re reading an Old Testament story and want to see what God has to say to you, remember that it’s actually all about Jesus. Yes, other characters may be highlighted, and Jesus’s name won’t even be mentioned, but it is all about him.
So, Jesus certainly isn’t abolishing the Law and the Prophets (his way of describing the Old Testament) because they were teachings pertaining to him. Jesus coming to earth was the manifestation of it all; he fulfilled everything in the scriptures.
Father, thank you that Jesus came, suffered, and rose again. Thank you that the good news of repentance and forgiveness of sins is being preached to all nations. Thank you for the words of the Old Testament that we have to teach us. Thank you that Jesus came to fulfil them. In his name we pray. Amen.
Study by Anthony Dady
About the writer:
Anthony Dady is a minister in Grace Communion International and is the Regional Pastor for Wales, the Midlands, and Northern England.
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