The starting bid on ebay for a “signed” copy of the Bible was $1,000,000.69. That’s ridiculous for anyone who knows anything about the Bible–even if Jesus purportedly used a blue Expo marker and dotted the ‘i’ in ‘Christ’ with a heart!
Yet, God in the flesh did appear to two disciples on the way from Jerusalem to Emmaus and “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets” reportedly “explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Besides being an incredible Old Testament study that most of us would have loved to be a part of, Jesus here confirms the inspiration and authorship of 39 books and reveals their purpose: Him.
I. Acts 2:16-36. The Old Testament was the only Bible that 1st Century Christians had, outside of up-to-the-minute revelations through the Holy Spirit, to proclaim and confirm the gospel. A look at the gospel sermons used in the New Testament shows how deeply they mined this resource. God inspired and preserved the Old Testament through the centuries. On stone, clay, leather, and eventually papyrus scrolls and codexes, the recording of God’s Word was commanded and maintained by God’s servants until the time of Ezra who, returning from the Babylonian captivity, organized these writings. Just before Jesus was born, the Greek translation of the Old Testament (that He most often quoted from), the Septuagint, was written and the Qumran community stored away every book but Esther in clay jars near the Dead Sea. When these were discovered in 1947, the careful copying of the Masoretes through the centuries would be proved true.
II. Romans 15:4. So, what’s a New Testament Christian’s relationship with the Old Testament? Why do we still have Genesis through Malachi attached to our Bibles? The Old Testament deepens our understanding of the gospel (Hebrews 9:1-15). Without it, we would not truly know God holiness, man’s sin and separation from God, God’s grace in taking a people and giving them priests, a temple, sacrifices, and laws. We would not understand God’s plan to redeem sinful man from Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses & Aaron, David, Ezra, and Jesus. We would not learn from the past (1 Corinthians 10:1-13) and so know better how to live our lives in Christ.
III. Matthew 5:17-18. The New Testament is a fulfillment of the Old Testament. An illustration I use is that it was my law when our kids were young that they couldn’t go near the road. Now that they are grown, they go there all the time but do not break my law. How? Safety has always been at the heart of it. When they were little, they did not know how to be safe near the road, but now they do. The book of Hebrews compares the covenants and explains how the new is, in every way, better than the old. Jesus, God in the flesh, fulfills all (Hebrews 8:5-13).
And so, the expression, “the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed,” is true … and it’s all about Jesus (Luke 24:44-49).