“When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.” -Acts 28.23
“Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” -Luke 24.44-45
This past week, when I was preparing for my Sunday school lesson over Acts chapters 27 and 28, I was reading through the material to get an initial overview of what was said and the above passage in Acts 28.23 really struck me. It didn’t strike me as unique or as some sort of new revelation, in fact, it was its familiarity which caught me. Not the familiarity to this passage in particular, but the familiarity of this same action being recorded as an action of Christ in the Gospel of Luke.
Upon deeper reflection I found that in Acts 28.23 and Luke 24.44, as well as Luke 24.27 and Acts 8.35, 24.14, and 26.22, this action of showing Christ in the Old Testament (the “Law and the Prophets”) was a common form of apologetic used by the apostles in the early church. Again, this wasn’t a new revelation to me, but for whatever reason it really spoke in my heart of the awesomeness of God’s supreme plan anew.
I think sometimes we become a victim of reading the Bible as “Old Testament = Stuff about God and the Jews” and “New Testament = Stuff about Jesus and Christians,” when clearly this should not be the case. What is started by Jesus and continued by Philip and Paul is a commentary to the fact that the whole Bible is about Christ and the plan of salvation which God had worked out for us from the beginning of Creation! It is easy to picture Christ as a backup plan which God came up with somewhere down the line when he realized that humans were just going to screw it all up (as groups such as the Mormons do) but this belies the fact that starting in Genesis 3 we see that God knew what he would do thousands of years later in a “rural little hick town” in Israel.
Mark Driscoll gave a list of 25 fulfilled prophecies of the Messiah which are recorded of Christ in the New Testament in his book Vintage Jesus. I copied these down into a Word document to share with my Sunday school class and I am also going to post them here. Being able to look at the sheer number of things which Christ did in accords with Old Testament scriptures (and these aren’t even half of them) is one of the great testimonies we have today to the authenticity of his life and ministry, and as such we should become familiar with them in the way that we see members of the early church being. They knew them well enough to spend “morning till evening” sharing them and making a defense for their hope in Christ (1 Peter 2.15). Do we know them well enough to spend 5 minutes on?
In closing up, I pray that we will stop for a moment and look at the glory of this seemingly innocuous statement. Paul showed them Christ in the Old Testament. Doesn’t sound like a big deal. But when viewed as calling us to the thread of seeing Jesus throughout the Bible, to moving him from the last third of the book into every page from cover to cover, the magnificence of what God has done is that much more magnified. Everything he has ordained, from the start of Creation to the coming end, he has done to show his power, display his glory, and make his name known among his people. That’s something that I am thankful to be a part of and is a praise which I will be glad to sing for all eternity long!