Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament
Christopher J. H. Wright
IVP Academic, 2014, 288 pp.
After I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and was born again in the Spring of 1983, I thoroughly enjoyed diving into God’s Word. I couldn’t get enough. After I finished the New Testament, I began reading the Old Testament. Things were going along pretty well until I got to parts of Exodus and then Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Man, those books were heavy lifting with lengthy passages involving the intricacies of the Mosaic ceremonial law and the tabernacle, etc., etc. Around that time, the pastor at our church mentioned “types” (i.e., foreshadowings, symbols, prefigurings) of Jesus Christ found in the Old Testament. That really triggered my curiosity and I went to the local Christian bookstore and bought a couple of books on Old Testament types/typology. Fascinating stuff! You’re probably already aware of such types as young Isaac as a sacrifice, the slain Passover lamb, and Joshua leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. The list of such symbols is as long as the “red thread” of Jesus Christ’s coming redemptive work that is interwoven throughout the entire Old Testament narrative, from Genesis to Malachi. Admittedly, there were some Bible scholars who were a bit too zealous in their search for veiled types and sometimes attempted to make a case where there wasn’t one.
In “Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament,” Christopher Wright focuses primarily on the Israelites, God’s chosen people, as a foreshadowing of Christ. As with all Old Testament types, the Israelites were an imperfect prefiguration that would find perfect fulfillment in the incarnation of God of the Son. Some of the characteristics of Israel by which they were to foreshadow Christ include:
- Israel as the nation “son” of God the Father
- Israel as the servant of God
- Israel as a witness/light to the nations
- Israel as a holy nation
The fact that chosen Israel failed so miserably in its role as a prefiguration of Christ is one of the prime examples of mankind’s absolute need of the Redeemer. Wright does an excellent job of examining other examples of the fulfillment of Old Testament history, prophecy, and song (psalms) in Jesus Christ in the New Testament. The reader will feel like one of the sojourners on the road to Emmaus. “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself (Luke 24:27). Wright’s suggestion that Jesus was somewhat limited in His knowledge/omniscience as a condition of His humanity and was therefore not initially confident of His divine identity and mission will raise some eyebrows, however I’ll leave it to theologians to debate “What did Jesus know and when did He know it?”
There are some popular, progressive mega-church pastors we know (i.e., Andy Stanley) who would do away with the Old Testament if they had their druthers. That’s sheer idiocy and this book will explain why. “Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament” is informative as well as a blessing to read. Thanks, Mandy!
- Jesus and the Old Testament Story
- Jesus and the Old Testament Promise
- Jesus and His Old Testament Identity
- Jesus and His Old Testament Mission
- Jesus and His Old Testament Values
- Jesus and His Old Testament God