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This past weekend, Johannes Amritzer spoke at Freedom Valley, and he referenced a story in the Old Testament about Samson. Samson had encountered a lion, and Johannes likened the lion to Jesus Christ, saying that Jesus can be found throughout the Old Testament in prophecy after prophecy, story after story.

In our conversations before and after services, Johannes mentioned a few more to me, saying that over the years, he’s become passionate about finding Jesus in the Old Testament.

When Jason and I talk about sermon preparations, we always talk about bringing everything back to Jesus, and how Jesus can be found either directly on the page, or indirectly in our need for Him. I’ve found myself lately reading with two questions in mind: “What is this saying about my savior?” and “What is this saying about my NEED for my savior?”

“Perhaps we’d be helped by a simple framework for how Christ is at the heart of the Scriptures: he is patterned, promised, and present from Genesis onward.”

Patterned: “The flood and the ark, the Passover and the Red Sea, the wilderness and the Promised Land, exile and return, war and peace, kingdom and kings, prophets and priests, the temple, its sacrifices, and its rituals, wisdom in death and in life, songs of lament and rejoicing, the lives of faithful sufferers and the blood of righteous martyrs — the Old Testament is extraordinarily Jesus-shaped.”

Promised: “Old Testament saints were not simply tiles in a mosaic, witnessing, unwittingly, to a gospel pattern of which they were ignorant. They too looked forward to the fulfillment of these patterns. How? Through the promises. This is how Jesus, Paul, and Peter saw it (Luke 24:25–27; Acts 26:22–23; 1 Peter 1:10–12). Each of them characterizes the Old Testament shape as proclaiming “Christ’s sufferings and glory,” yet, at the same time, each of them maintains that this message is what Moses and the prophets themselves “wrote,” “said,” “prophesied,” and “predicted.” All along, true faith was messianic faith, centered on Christ himself. He was the one held out and the one trusted by the faithful.”

Present: “But more than just patterned and promised, perhaps the most under-appreciated facet is that Christ also is present. It’s surprising how explicit the New Testament authors are about Jesus’s presence in the Old Testament:

  • The “I Am” in whom Abraham rejoiced was Jesus (John 8:56–58).

  • The Lord who motivated Moses was Christ (Hebrews 11:26).

  • The Redeemer who brought them out of Egypt was Jesus (Jude 5).

  • The Rock in the wilderness was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4).

  • The King of Isaiah’s temple vision was the Son (John 12:40–41).”

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Study the following 3 passages and try to figure out how Jesus is patterned, promised, and present in all 3.