Bible Reading Plan – October 1-7
Bible Reading Plan – October 1-7
Luke 14-24; Acts 1-4; Psalms 119-120
The OT can be a confusing book to interpret. The way that many speak of it, it is easy to wonder why God would have given it to us at all. It is the story about God calling a man, making (some of) his children into a nation. That nation, for all God’s grace, continues to fail him, falling over their own idolatry and bloodlust. They are summarily kicked out of the land, only to be brought back in somewhat unceremonious fashion. The exile ends, not with a triumphant return and reunion of Israel and their God, but rather with a meager Temple and a nation that is still ruled by those around them.
It is no surprise, then, that many see a great disconnect between this story, which really has no ending at all, and the story of great hope in Jesus, not just for the Jews but for the whole world. The OT was provincial – the NT universal. The OT was judgmental – the NT grace-filled. The OT was legal – The NT relational. The OT was earthy – The NT is heavenly in outlook. Seemingly, some think that unhitching the gospel, Jesus, and the NT from the OT is the only way that we can possibly reach a new generation of believers. Megachurch pastor Andy Stanley got himself into a heap of trouble for suggesting precisely this, not only in a sermon, but also in a book (helpfully reviewed here by Michael Kruger).
Now, while there are many reasons to think that these suggestions are rubbish, the best one is simply that the NT doesn’t EVER ARGUE THIS WAY. In fact, the NT authors seem to only hold out hope for truly understanding the gospel, Jesus, or even their own writings is with a healthy dose of OT theology. And, of course, there is no better way of understanding this than to go to Jesus himself. In Luke 24:25-27, Jesus scolds two of his disciples as he walked with them (they were kept from recognizing him as Jesus). Lamenting that Jesus wasn’t who they thought and hoped he might be, Jesus says:
“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:25-27 (ESV)
For Jesus, removing or ignoring the OT is not an issue – it can’t be! The very reason these two “fools” didn’t understand Jesus, and consequently believe in him, was because they were slow to get what the prophets had stated. Far from being the thing that will keep people from faith, the OT is designed to make you hunger and thirst for the truth of Christ. It is the best resource to understand him, to see his mission, and to believe that he really is the Christ.
So, if you have kept up all these months, know that your time has not been wasted! Use the time that you have spent in the OT to know Jesus better. After all, you have been walking with him that entire time!
So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
Luke 24:28-32 (ESV)