We understand Jesus studied the Hebrew Scriptures. We know He once had a very specific conversation in which He explained what the Scriptures said concerning Himself. So, what did Jesus really say? ◊
Tom had a very pointed question about Jesus in the context of our national holiday celebrating Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The question centered on that very specific conversation between those two people who unknowingly walked and talked with Jesus on their way from Jerusalem to the small town of Emmaus on that first Easter Sunday morning. (See Luke 24:13-35)
The question was this: “So, what was said?”
Recall that when called out by these two people for seeming to be unaware of the great fiasco that occurred on Friday with the death of Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus himself said to them:
“How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (v. 25-27)
Which begs the question: So, what was said? Or, what do you think Jesus told them in actually explaining all the Scriptures concerning himself?
Of course, we don’t know the answer for certain. However, here is what I pointed out to Tom.
The Prophets Have Spoken
In sequential flow, the Old Testament Scriptures can be held out as follows in explaining Jesus of Nazareth:
- Jesus is referenced early in Genesis – “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring (seed) and hers; he (Jesus) will crush (strike) your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15) There is an initial foreshadowing of a coming ominous spiritual conflict between evil and God, with God/Jesus being victorious.
- God had Moses model a redeemer – The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. (Numbers 21:9) The Hebrews were actively taught the concept of saving redemption by Moses in the wilderness. Ultimately, Jesus would bring redemption and life to those who looked and believed.
- God would use prophets to be His voice – The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him….“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15,17) God told Moses that He would use men as prophets to speak His instructions and commands.
- Isaiah prophesied about Jesus’ birth – Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin (young woman) will conceive and give birth to a son, and he (they) will call him Immanuel (God with us)….For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6) Though speaking contextually in 8th century Judah, Isaiah speaks God’s prophetic words which centuries later would be quoted in Matthew’s Gospel about the birth of Jesus.
- Isaiah prophesied about Jesus/Lord as powerful and humble – See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. (Isaiah 40:10-11) That Jesus possessed otherworldly spiritual power was clear; He was also like a humble shepherd exhibiting great love and gentleness.
- Isaiah prophesied about Jesus’ atoning death – He was despised and rejected by mankind…Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God…But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed…. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter….He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death….Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin…For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:3-5,7,9, 10,12) The entire chapter 53 is about the death of One who dies for the transgressions of all.
- Daniel prophesied the time of this atoning death – “Seventy ‘sevens’ (490 years) are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place (One). (Daniel 9:24) Ezra and Nehemiah were decreed by Artaxerxes in 457 BC to rebuild Jerusalem. Seventy 7-year periods, or 490 years, projects to the time of Jesus’ 3-year ministry and ultimate death.
- Malachi prophesied the messenger, John the Baptist – “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:1) John the Baptist was the Messenger who heralded the coming of Jesus.
God Has Spoken
The two Jewish people walking with Jesus to Emmaus would have been familiar with these Old Testament prophetic passages. Today, many are not. The Bible is often very misunderstood. Jesus is as well. Many people honor and respect Jesus but are not really clear on the whole cohesive nature of the entire Old Testament and the New Testament with Him at the center of it all. Jesus as the gift of God/Himself is the steady theme and purpose of the entire set of Scriptures. Seeing Him as anything less is to miss the point. We should all seek to understand what was said.
Do you know what the Bible says about Jesus?
They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” – Luke 24:32