One of my favourite children’s Bible story books is The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The pictures are fascinating and the prose is warm. Her aim is to help children see the centrality of Jesus from beginning to the end of the Bible story. She writes, “There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them. It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle – the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.”
How every story whispers his name, however, is a little trickier to describe. Just consider a few examples of how the New Testament writers saw Christ in the Old Testament:
The “I Am” in whom Abraham rejoiced was Jesus (John 8:56–58).
The Lord who motivated Moses was Christ (Hebrews 11:26).
The Redeemer who brought them out of Egypt was Jesus (Jude 5).
The Rock in the wilderness was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4).
The King of Isaiah’s temple vision was the Son (John 12:40–41).
One thing is clear: Christ was present in the Old Testament. He is the Word of the Father who is the agent of creation (John 1:1ff). He is the One who walks with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day in the Garden (Gen. 3:8). He is the I AM present in the burning bush (Exod. 3). He is there and he is not silent. He is present.
When we see that Christ is present all throughout the Old Testament, we begin to have eyes to see the glory of Christ. The Old Testament may be tough to read, but when we see Christ shining through each and every page, we begin to see the Old Testament through different lenses. Christ is present in the cloud that leads Israel through the wilderness. Christ is present to provide water as the Rock. Christ is the manna from heaven to feed his people.
Jesus is the key to the Bible. He is not absent from the Old Testament, waiting to appear as the hero late in the play. Throughout the Old Testament, he is God Almighty, present and moving towards the fullness of time when he comes in human flesh. He is present – Saviour, Redeemer, Provider, and Lord of all!
When you read the Old Testament, have confidence that you will meet Christ in the pages. And pray that Christ’s presence would meet you with the fullness of joy as you open the Bible so that you might enjoy sweet fellowship with him!
Reading with you to know his presence,