The Old Testament Points to Jesus
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.
A couple of months ago, I attended the 2011 Gospel Coalition Conference in Chicago: the theme, “Preaching Christ in the Old Testament.” I have heard many valiant and noble attempts at revealing Christ in the Old Testament text, but nothing quite like the quality of what Tim Keller did with his message, “Getting Out” (Exodus 14). Keller not only displayed Christ in all his atoning work, but Keller models how to interpret the text without allegorizing, stretching the meaning, or distorting the context. The quote below from an earlier Keller sermon illustrates how to point to Christ in the Old Testament.
Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us.
Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.
Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void not knowing wither he went to create a new people of God.
Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, â€œNow I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me,â€ now we can look at God taking his son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, â€œNow we know that you love us because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from us.â€
Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.
Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.
Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.
Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of Godâ€™s justice, now gives us water in the desert.
Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.
Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his peopleâ€™s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.
Jesus is the true and better Esther who didnâ€™t just risk leaving an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didnâ€™t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.
Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.
Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. Heâ€™s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread.
The Bibleâ€™s really not about youâ€”itâ€™s about him.
Tim Keller, “Gospel-Centered Ministry” sermon, 2007 Gospel Coalition Conference.