A number of years ago – I can’t really remember how long ago – I was reading through Luke. It wasn’t the first time I had read Luke, or at least parts of it, but as often happens when I’m reading scripture I saw something I hadn’t before.
There is a passage of scripture at Luke 24:13-35 that is titled “On the Road to Emmaus” in my NIV Study Bible. It recounts the story of some previously unnamed disciples of Jesus who are trudging along the road three days after the crucifixion of the One they had been following, the One they believed was going to save Israel. The resurrection has occurred, but these disciples don’t understand. They think perhaps Jesus’ body was stolen; they can’t quite grasp the reality that He is alive.
I can picture them walking slowly along, heads hung low, in no particular hurry because there no longer seems anywhere worth going. They are dismayed by the events that have taken place and don’t understand that what has happened to Jesus is the greatest event in the history of the world.
As they trudge along, a man appears and begins walking with them and talking to them. It is Jesus, but they don’t realize it. They tell Him all that has happened, as they understand it. Jesus responds by saying that these things had to happen to the Messiah as foretold by the prophets. Then comes the verse that jumped out at me so that I had to reread it several times to take it all in: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Luke 24:27 (NIV).
I sat there mesmerized by that verse. “Moses and all the Prophets” – that’s the Old Testament. With the exception of a few obvious verses, like Isaiah foretelling of the virgin birth, I had never before thought of “all the Scriptures” as being about Jesus.
But they are all about Him. The entirety of the Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, is about Jesus. He was there in the beginning and He will be there in the end. The Law is there to show our need for Him as Redeemer and Savior. The Prophets are there to foretell both His first coming as a baby in a manger and His second coming at the end of time. The Prophets were also there to show the Israelites how much they needed the change of heart that only Jesus can bring about and the great mercy of God that only He reveals.
As I pondered this verse that day years ago, right then and there I closed my eyes, bowed my head, and prayed this prayer: “Lord Jesus, just as You revealed to the disciples on the road to Emmaus what was written about You in the Old Testament, please show me wherever You are whenever I open my Bible and read these ancients words.”
And you know what? God is faithful! He has answered this prayer more times than I can count. He opened my eyes to see the big picture of the Scriptures – both Old and New Testaments – and to see the place of Jesus throughout. Jesus is central to it all! Everything that is exists by Him, for Him, through Him, and reveals His glory and grace.
I know I have written other posts about specific places in which I have found Jesus revealed in the Old Testament, but the purpose of this post is not to recount all the places in the Law and Prophets that I have found Him. Rather, today I want to encourage you who are reading to humbly pray the prayer I shared above. Then open up your Bible to an Old Testament book or chapter that you have avoided because you think you can’t possibly find Jesus there. When you find Him there, come back and tell me about it in a comment. I’d love to hear about how our faithful God opens your eyes, too.