Embracing the Old Testament

My Bible reading the last few days has covered the resurrection of Jesus and the beginning of the church as recorded in the first chapters of Acts. The one thing that I took away from those passages is the relevance of the Old Testament Scriptures. On the road to Emmaus (Luke 24) as Jesus walked with the two disciples He explained to them the things in the Scriptures that pertained to Him. And in his sermon on the day of Pentecost Peter quoted repeatedly from the Scriptures. Since the New Testament had not yet been written, the Scriptures that both Jesus and Peter were using was the Hebrew Bible, or what today we would call the Old Testament.

So if the Old Testament Scriptures were so important to both Jesus and Peter, it seems that they also are relevant for us. We should not, as one well-known pastor recently suggested “unhitch” from the Old Testament, but rather we should embrace it.

It is true that there are some things in the Old Testament that have been rendered irrelevant by Jesus, particularly the sacrifices and offerings that were required to atone for sin. And there are some things, like the dietary laws, that were specifically overturned by God in the New Testament (see Acts 15). But Jesus specifically affirmed things like the moral law and both He and Peter and the other New Testament writers consistently used the Old Testament Scriptures to confirm that Jesus was the Messiah and the fulfillment of those Scriptures.

There was definitely a time in my life where I really struggled to find relevance in the Old Testament. And there are still some parts that can be tough to work through. But once I began to understand that the Old Testament is part of the larger story of God’s love for His people, I have come to treasure it deeply. And I hope you will, too.

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