How Can You Find Jesus in the Old Testament?

How Can You Find Jesus in the Old Testament?

I have taught Bible study for several years. Often when it is time to teach a book from the Old Testament, the class becomes smaller, and the question is always asked: why should I study the Old Testament?

Most of the time, we avoid the Old Testament pages because we can feel bogged down by the genealogy lists, gruesome stories, and well, Leviticus. Need I say more?

Yet, I think we are approaching this all wrong.

We cannot allow the “old” of the Old Testament to deter us from breaking open its pages. It is not insignificant. In fact, it comprises seventy-five percent of the entire Bible. It is not only significant in size, but in the value, offering us views of Christ before the cross, and before Bethlehem.

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  • <strong>How Do We See Christ in the Old Testament?</strong>

    How Do We See Christ in the Old Testament?


    We have to begin with how we approach the Bible.

    When I first began to read my Bible, I had many questions about my own life. What is it that God desires from me? How do I deal with my marriage? How can I be a good mother, wife, etc.? While bringing our questions to the Word of God is not a bad thing, it shouldn’t necessarily be what drives our study within its pages.

    As we study the Bible, the answers we need will be given to us.

    There is an equation I hold firm to when it comes to the study of the Bible:

    When we study the Bible, we know more of God + We witness His redemption plan = Which will allow us to understand who we are and how we are to live.

    God gave us His word for us to know Him and to know His Son, Jesus. It is not just the New Testament that reveals Christ, but it is the Old as well.

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  • <strong>Discovering the Alpha and Omega of the Story</strong>

    Discovering the Alpha and Omega of the Story


    You see, the Bible from start to finish is one story. Jesus is just as present in the beginning as He is in the end.

    The big word to describe this is “metanarrative.” It is one big story of redemption, made up of several smaller stories. Jesus is the redemptive plan of God, therefore, Jesus is the metanarrative.

    There are so many passages of the Old Testament that allude, introduce, or prophecy about Jesus Christ. It takes us reading our Bibles with a high view of the Gospel to see where Jesus is talked about within the Old Testament pages.

    In essence, we get to be detectives and find Christ within history.

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  • <strong>Where Is Jesus in the Beginning?</strong>

    Where Is Jesus in the Beginning?


    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5)

    From the foundation of the world we see Christ in the beginning with God. Creating the world, forming it, all the while knowing that Christ would redeem it one day. In Genesis chapter 3, we see the first Gospel preached when God sends punishment down on the serpent for deceiving the woman.

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  • <strong>We Find Jesus in the Promises Fulfilled</strong>

    We Find Jesus in the Promises Fulfilled


    God promised in Genesis 3:15 that the offspring of Eve would crush the serpent. When we read that text we know He is speaking of Jesus, the Messiah who would come and defeat the evil the serpent brought with him. Later in the Old Testament in the book of Isaiah, we see promise after promise of the Messiah to come. He would be a suffering servant (Isaiah 53), and a virgin would bring forth a son who would be called Emmanuel (Isaiah 9:6).

    All of the promises of God throughout Scripture, including those in the Old Testament are “Yes and Amen in Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

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  • <strong>Parallels and Foreshadows of Christ in the Old Testament Tales</strong>

    Parallels and Foreshadows of Christ in the Old Testament Tales


    The theological term for this is typology. There are many scholars to view the Old Testament as a world of typology that paints the full picture of who Christ is and what He will do. So what do we look for when it comes to this? When we read, we can ask the question of the passage, what does it teach me about God? And what does it reveal to me about Christ?

    Jesus was greater than all those who went before Him; Moses, Joseph, Solomon, etc. The goal is to keep our eyes open when we read, and to ask the right questions of the passage.

    God was setting the stage. Throughout the entirety of the Bible, God is setting the stage for Christ to come and deliver His people. Every page alludes to Him, whispering His name in the stories and genealogies.

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  • <strong>Jesus Is Found by Trusting the Story</strong>

    Jesus Is Found by Trusting the Story


    Nothing God does it by chance, it is perfectly put together with purpose.

    Every story told is part of the bigger picture. It is preparing the people of Israel for the Messiah. Our goal on this side of the cross is to read its pages slowly and with care, asking God to reveal His truth through the pages of Scripture.

    When we view Scripture in the big picture we will see Christ written on every page. Creation, the fall, redemption, and new creation. In all those pieces we will see Christ from start to finish.

    If we rush past the Old Testament or pass over it all together, we will miss the chance to see how Romans 8:28 is true, that God works all things together for good, and He is working it all in and through Christ Jesus. “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities: all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17).

    For examples of Jesus in Old Testament stories, read more here: Is Jesus in the Old Testament? Examples and Their Meaning


    Michelle Rabon is a wife and homeschooling mom of three who feels called to help women thrive in their walk with Jesus every day. In 2012, she started Displaying Grace, a ministry that is focused on helping women engage with God’s Word. Michelle has also served in women’s ministry for the past five years seeking to equip women in the local church through Bible study. When she is not writing or teaching, she enjoys reading, being close to the ocean, and drinking a lot of coffee.

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