Jesus is the main point of the entire Bible. He said so himself (John 5:39, Luke 24:44-48). Philip saw it (John 1:45). Peter recognized it (1 Pet 1:10-12). Paul knew it (2 Cor 1:20).
Now, in seminary I was told that we have to be very careful here. Apparently, some ancient Christian interpreters thought they saw Jesus in every detail of the Old Testament. So Rahab’s red cord (Josh 2:18) was treated as a prophecy of the flowing blood of Christ that would save her and her family. Or, Abraham’s servant’s 10 camels (Gen 24:10) were understood as the 10 commandments which would be fulfilled in Christ.
Not every passage of the Old Testament is a direct prediction of the life or death of Jesus Christ. Some passages tell stories of what happened long before Jesus’ birth. Other passages contain songs or prayers or rebukes or instruction.
So what did Jesus mean when he said that all the Scriptures were about him?
- The Messiah would suffer (die).
- The Messiah would rise from the dead.
- We must repent of our sin and be forgiven.
- This message (that the Messiah’s death and resurrection make forgiveness possible) must be preached to all nations.
Here’s the key point: we must first understand the main point of an Old Testament passage before we can connect it to Jesus.
We shouldn’t look for Jesus in every detail. Jesus isn’t necessarily in every detail. But his message is there. The message of the whole Bible is a unified message that boils down to those 4 points from Luke 24:46-47.
For example, the call of Abram in Genesis 12:1-9 is about how God chose one man to be the focal point of blessing the whole world. What’s the connection to Jesus? His message is for every nation.
Here’s another example: when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only beloved son (Gen 22), he was showing Abraham (and us) how the Messiah had to die and rise from the dead.
When innocent Daniel was tossed into the lion’s den and came out unharmed (Daniel 6), he demonstrated the Messiah’s death and resurrection.
When Moses and Solomon wrote Laws and Proverbs, God was showing us how high his standards really are. He had to expose our inability to perform so we might learn to repent of our sin and be forgiven.
Please try this at home. When you read the Bible (especially the Old Testament), always ask which of Jesus’ 4 points is being addressed. Decent interpretation depends upon it.