Discipline of Grace #1: Preaching the Gospel to Yourself

Welcome to The Discipline of Grace Blog!!

Topics Discussed today: Days when you are on fire vs. Days when you blow it, Blessings and Curses and Grace, Preaching the Gospel to yourself. 

Scriptures: Deuteronomy 30.17-20, Romans 8:1, Romans 5.6-10

Please leave some comments and let us know what you think!

GOSPELIZING THE OLD TESTAMENT

Have you ever started out intending to do one thing and then you realize it has become something else entirely? Like you start cleaning out your closet because you're looking for something, but then you realize the whole thing needs to be cleaned? That's how I feel about this blog. I began looking for Jesus in the Old Testament, which I still will do.

What am I really looking for, when I study the Bible? 

What am I really looking for, when I study the Bible? 

BUT I am realizing that looking for Jesus in the Old Testament isn't what I was looking for. I was looking for the Gospel Message in the Old Testament. Seeing Jesus as a character in the Old Testament is nothing more than a fun word search, gratifying but ultimately not transformative. But if I look for the Gospel Message in the Od Testament, not only do I see Jesus but I see his mission, his love, his power, and his grace even in the midst of the Old Testament. 

I think that is the greater challenge, but also the greater reward. We have no problem seeing that Jesus existed in small cameos in the OT, but it is far more amazing to see how the Gospel Message rings through all of the Bible. Hear me right, you cannot separate Jesus from the Gospel Message, nor can you understand Jesus apart from the Gospel Message. But you can miss the whole point by merely spotting Jesus without the Gospel Message. 

SO...what does this mean? Well, it means that I am now going to begin GOSPELIZING the Old Testament on this blog rather than playing an elaborate game of Theological Where's Waldo.

What the what is GOSPELIZING? Basically it is connecting the dots between whatever you read in the Bible to the Gospel Message.

Why would you do that? Well, it's really easy to read something in the Bible and come to the conclusion that to solve your problems you need to "try harder." Maybe, "try harder to be more courageous like David," or "try harder to be pure like Joseph", or "try Harder to be encouraging like Abigail." It sounds good, right? But somewhere in our hearts, we subtly tell ourselves that the answer to our problems lie in our ourselves and our ability to perform. Over time, based on how our  performance we either get proud that we succeeded or get discouraged that we failed. And then the cycle repeats. We call this pattern, MORALIZING

What's wrong with MORALIZING? On the outside, nothing. It calls us to change. Which is what Jesus calls us to do in Luke 13.5 ("Repent or Perish"). But eventually it brings on a system based on performance, where a person will think "God approves of me only as much as I can do right", rather than the GOSPEL MESSAGE "God has approved me, therefore I will do right. " Without this shift in perspective, our actions, good as they may be, have the ability to become idols, rather than Jesus. 

So do I stop telling myself what to DO differently? Yes and No. Yes, but only to change the way you view your actions in order to get to Jesus. No, because your actions are the way to Jesus. I know that makes no sense. Rather than saying, "I just need to read my Bible and then I'll feel better," or "I just need to pray and then I'll feel better," or even "I just need to go evangelize and then I'll feel better" all of those get replaced by "I just need GOD." Here's the catch though, how do you get close to God? By doing those things. But it isn't once I do these things God is somehow unlocked, like a hidden level on a video game, he is always there and those things can cut through the noise of our world and create a direct connection between you and God. 

Still confused? Think of it like this...My wife and I went on our honeymoon in Dec 2015. We had to drive to the airport, go through security, get on the plane, fly to Mexico, get in a taxi, drive to the hotel, stay in the hotel, get in another taxi, get on another plane, fly back to the US. I could have done all of those things by myself, and then come back to her waiting in the States as we begin our life together. And it wouldn't have been bad, but it wouldn't have been a real honeymoon. I did all of those things, WITH HER, and that's what connected us and made it a real honeymoon. 

Moralizing is going on the trip by yourself, and coming back thinking that since you've done those things you're closer. Or to connect the dots, it's doing all the right, moral things and thinking that after you've done that you're closer to God. Gospelizing allows grace to have it's full effect on us by showing how you are doing all of those things because God is already with you and these things bring you closer. 

Still still confused? That's ok. I'm still new to this so we can go on this journey together. 



Prequel: Exodus 1-3

So it's been a little bit, sorry about that. I just got married in December which is crazy awesome, and I get to serve in the Hampton Roads church Campus Ministry which is amazing! But all that doesn't always allow time for blogging. (There is a mission to make disciples after all) Anyway, we're back now, so break out your Prince of Egypt DVDs.....it's time for Exodus y’all!

The Exodus Narrative is the single most influential historical event for the Jewish people, and probably even for Christians until the Resurrection. It gets mentioned over 100 times in the Old Testament alone. It is like God's proof of how much he loves his people and how committed he is to his covenant with Abraham and by extension, the nation of Israel.  Today we're going to read about how God introduces himself to his chosen-deliverer, Moses. If this was a movie, this would be the moment that the hero of the story is introduced. No, not Moses, at this point we look at Moses as a spoiled, impulsive, murderer-coward, princeling turned smelly shepherd. Not exactly the guy I would pick to free my people from a 400 year captivity, but like I said, God is the hero of this story not Moses. 

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I know their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
Exodus 3.1-10

As always, there is way too much in this to unpack everything, but the thing I wanted to underscore here are the words SEENHEARD, and KNOW. God sees, hears, and knows the suffering of his people. 

WHERE IS JESUS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?

Exodus is an easy place to see Jesus. EVERYTHING in Exodus foreshadows Jesus in some way because this book is the gospel in allegory. God liberating his enslaved people. Today I want to look at SEENHEARD, and KNOW. God pays attention to the suffering of his people. 

Do you ever feel like you aren't be heard? That you are in pain and hurting but no one sees it? I try to suck it up, but plaster a half smile of melancholy to my face hoping someone, anyone will notice it and ask me what's wrong. And even if someone does ask, that doesn't stop the problem. It makes it worse, because now I'm thinking about it more. 

The amazing thing is, God sees it all. He hears your cries. And he knows your suffering. Not like he is intellectually aware of the broad strokes of trouble, but knows it in an intimate way. And he sets out to free you...forever. A passage that strikes me is this one: 

"And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he SAW the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matthew 9.35-36 ESV (emphasis added)

Jesus came and he didn't seek to establish his Kingdom through force, or divine right, or any self-interest although he could have and still would have been right to do all of that. He came and he SAW the crowds and he was moved in his inmost being because they were harassed and helpless. And so he becomes the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the flock (John 10.11). 

God has already heard your cry and he has seen your pain. He is intimately connected with your suffering. Not because your suffering is worse than other people's and therefore demands his attention. Not because you have communicated your suffering in a way that moves God's heart more than others, and not because somehow you deserve to have it removed more than other people who deserve their pain. NO! He sees, hears, and knows your pain simply because he is God and is moved because he is good. 

Your cries are heard because of him seeing and not because you're screaming. 

And there is the great comfort and the great truth. For disciples of Jesus, the greatest pain and suffering of sin, the greatest cries of suffering when you were in bondage have already been seen, heard and known AND COMPLETELY REMOVED. We are no longer in slavery. We are no longer captive because God has heard you already. 

Think about that for your next prayer time and see how you might approach God differently, knowing not only that he hears you, but has already heard you and has already moved to save you. 

Prequel: Genesis 11-13 Babel v. Abram "No Such Thing as a Self-Made Man"

A few days ago, a friend of mine, Zach Anton, shared something at his wedding reception. He was thanking the room of friends and family that had gathered to celebrate his marriage and to acknowledge all these people he quoted his grandfather:

"There is no such thing as a self made man."

Other than being extremely eloquent, I thought it was really poignant. In fact I've been thinking about it over the past few days. The Prequel text for the day really underscored that thought with bright red lines.

What I realized today is that, while there is no such thing as a self-made man, but there certainly is the illusion of being self-made. And when you are under that delusion, things can get dangerous.

The two passages I read today were the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 and The calling of Abram in Genesis 12. The Tower of Babel describes people who decide to come together and build a tower to the heavens in order to "make a name for [themselves]" (Gen 11.4) and God comes to confuse their speech to stop them from accomplishing this. God's reason for this? If he doesn't, "nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them" (Gen 11.6). Which at first seems like God is just messing with them, but Babel is actually a precursor of Babylon who later became one of the most violently brutal nations on Earth, so God stops them. 

Then There's Abram who is the exact opposite. He doesn't seek His own glory. God chooses him and says, "I will bless you and make your name great" (Gen 12.2). And then the great story of Abram/Abraham begins. So it's a comparison of self-made v. God-made people. Here are some interesting intersecting points. 

Babel v. Abram
We'll make ourselves v. God will make you a great nation
Many United to make Themselves great name v. One man obeying a call
God confuses and scatters v. God strengthens and multiplies

Babel = Babylon = Wiped from the Earth
Abram = Israel/Judah = Still exists


WHERE IS JESUS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?

This is why Jesus is so amazing. Again we don't see Jesus lurking in the shadows here, or that he is the one calling to Abram. What we see here is why we love Jesus so much, or really why we love Abram so much and are inspired by him, it's because he resembles Jesus in this small way. Jesus had so many opportunities to seize power and make his name great rather than follow God's plan. When he was tempted by Satan in Matthew 4, Satan says he will give him all the nations if he bows down. In John 6 the people tried to make him King by force. But Jesus says no. He refuses to make himself great, or even letting people make him great. He only allows God to make him great. 

My question for myself is do I trust God to make me, the way Jesus did, or do I try to make my own name great? Do I quietly wait on God while I obey his word to lift me up when he desires? Or do I try to toot my own horn, put my accomplishments on social media and count my likes as my ego slowly inflates? 

God confuses those out to make themselves great. And he establishes forever those who wait on him. Because there is no such thing as a self made man.  

Prequel: Genesis 6-9 Noah and Jesus

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like everyone around you is...how do I put this delicately?...Intellectually challenged? Like you're the only one who gets it? And all you can do is throw back your head and yell...

Mugatu gets it

Mugatu gets it

                                               

As a disciple, do you ever have one of those days when everyone around you is morally challenged? Where you feel like the second you put your feet on the floor in the morning, that you're trying to avoid stepping in the black sludgey puddles left behind by everyone walking around you? Ok, maybe a little extreme but you get the idea. Most of us have days where we feel alone and isolated in our world. And honestly it's difficult to continue to do what's right when it feels like no one around cares. 

Most of those feelings are slightly dramatic, but for Noah it was FACT. Literally the Bible says he was the only one who was righteous. THE ONLY ONE ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH. That's slightly overwhelming, for anyone. Here's what it says about what was going on on the Earth around Noah. 

"The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."Genesis 6.5 ESV

That's rough. People's hearts were evil, all the time. And we find out in v.11 that they were also, violent and corrupt. Not a pretty picture. So God is "grieved" (v.6) that he made people. The sad part is, remember back to Genesis 1 and how all of God's creation was GOOD? In just five short chapters his noble creation, created in his own image has fallen to this. You can hear God's heart breaking as he tells Noah that he will "destroy them with the Earth" (v.13). And yet the one bit of shining hope in this masterpiece of catastrophe is, "[the] righteous man, blameless in his generation, [who] walked with God," (v.9), Noah. And here, we see the foreshadowing of another man who was the only one blameless, righteous, and walked with God--Jesus.  

Most of us know the story, about how God tells Noah to build an ark out of gopher wood and then to take two of every sort of animal on the ark along with his family to save them from the flood. He does it, and they are saved through the 40 days of rain and 150 days on the ark following the flood. 

WHERE IS JESUS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?

Where I see him is two part

GOD VINDICATES OBEDIENT FAITH

Both Noah and Jesus looked like idiots while they were waiting for God to work. Noah waited roughly 100 years as he built the ark, waiting for God's flood. I bet he felt foolish at times, and when he didn't, I'm sure other people around were happy help him get there. But still he completed the ark, faithfully. And 40 days into the Stormageddon, his previous 100 years was vindicated.

Jesus, the amazing rabbi who healed the sick and fed the hungry, who rode into Jerusalem to the chants of "Hosanna" like a conquering King-General, was reduced to death like a common criminal. He was beaten, spit upon, shamed, dishonored, and crucified by the very people he was dying to save. On that good Friday, it appeared as though Jesus was not favored by God, but was in fact under his curse like the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law had said. His followers put their head in their hands and wept, "The Pharisees were right, all along." But three days later when he rose from the dead, God proved that Jesus was not under any curse, but  he was favored above all people. That even death couldn't hold him. Because God vindicates righteous obedience. 

Being a Redskins fan teaches me to be a better disciple #faith #waiting #someday

As a Redskins fan, I firmly believe this is how I will feel when the Redskins win the Super Bowl...someday. But spiritually, I look at this and think, how long do I wait on God's vindication before giving up? How long do I wait for God to vindicate me and my faith? Noah waited 100 years. Jesus endured the worst pain and shame. I give up after I get tired. If Jesus was vindicated through this pain, how much more will we been vindicated if we persevere?

Some of us bear immense pain because our family persecutes us about being a Christian. Some of us are ridiculed among friends because we don't chase the money at work or we don't have sex before marriage. And most of us have thought at some point along the way, "It would be so much easier to just give up." DON'T. DON'T DO IT! God vindicates obedient faith. That is how this ends! God vindicates your faith. And it isn't just for your sake. It's also because of the second way we see Jesus...

OTHERS ARE SAVED THROUGH THAT FAITH

Noah is allowed to bring his family on the ark, and thus the human race repopulates. They are saved because of his obedient faith. Peter actually recognized this and wrote about it in 1 Peter 3 where he says

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit...when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 3.18-21 ESV

As Noah's family joined him on the ark and were saved from death, we get to join Jesus on the cross and be saved from death. Baptism allows us to be joined together with Jesus (Romans 6.1-5, we are "united" with him in both death, burial and resurrection through baptism). But this does not come from our great power, we benefit because of Jesus' faith which led to his resurrection. 

So for us, remember two things: 1. You benefit because of Jesus' faith, so the pressure is off of you! You don't need to be the most amazing person in the world, but you need to point to Jesus, who actually is. 2. Others will be saved through your faith. Sometimes it feels like no one cares that you are keeping yourself pure on your campus. Sometimes it feels like no one cares that you dress modestly at your high school. sometimes it feels like no one cares that you don't make your kids extra-curricular activities the most important thing in your world. And you know what, maybe no one does...right now. But God doesn't forget that you did, and people will be impacted by your faith. It may not be a lot, Noah only hit 8. But people will be impacted. People will be saved.

Man, I think I love the story of Noah so much more with Jesus in it!

Prequel: Genesis 2-4 Cain, Abel, and Jesus

I have two younger brothers whom I love deeply. They were my best men at my wedding.  I'm four years older than my younger brother and sometimes, like every once in a while, I might have employed mental warfare on him in order to get him to get me a cookie...but nothing that bad, so this story always managed to freak me out a little. 

Cain and Abel foreshadowing Jesus in the Old Testament

Cain and Abel. The first set of brothers. Cain the farmer and Abel the shepherd (Gen 4.2). And then they both make offerings to God, and something not great happens

"In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell" Genesis 4.3-5 ESV

And Cain gets mad, but not normal mad, but mad like even The Incredible Hulk would say,"Bro..." He ends up killing his brother over his own jealousy. Humanity doesn't even make it two generations before there is murder. Dark. Just dark. So where is Jesus in all of this? Well, sometimes there is a shadow of what Jesus will do. Sometimes, like here, it is a shadow of what Jesus WILL REVERSE. I see him in this verse, which is God's follow-up talk with Cain after he murdered his brother. 

"Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand." Genesis 4.9-11 ESV

WHERE IS JESUS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?

Abel's blood cries to God to CONVICT sinners. Jesus' blood will later cry to God to REDEEM sinners. The author of Hebrews understood this as he compares life in Christ compared to life in the OT

 "But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel."Hebrews 12:22-24

Abel's blood stained the ground he was slain upon, and shouted to God for justice. He was as innocent as his sheep and was coldly murdered by his own brother. And his blood sat in judgement of his murderer. We all demand justice, when we're not the one on trial. When I'm attacked or hurt I raise my voice with indignation. I want justice! But when I'm in the defendants box, I don't want justice in the same ZIP code as me. I want redemption and I want mercy. Abel's blood proves guilt, Jesus' blood offers mercy. 

Two innocent men. Two sets of innocent blood spilled. Two responsible parties. One convicts and the other redeems. It's amazing how we see God's characteristic of holiness with Abel;s blood and how he doesn't ignore the wrongdoing of Cain because he is just. Cain is cursed by God (Genesis 4.11-12). But then we see God's characteristic of mercy in Jesus' blood. 

Jesus had the right to demand justice for spilling his own blood! But he forfeited that right for us. And God justified him anyway! How much more can we forfeit our claim to justice when someone cuts us off in traffic? Or forgets to call us back?

For me I need to forsake my claim to justice and have the redeeming blood of Jesus on my mind. 



Prequel: Genesis 1-3 Creation

There is something awesome about new beginnings. It doesn't matter if its a new school year, new car smell, or a new pair of socks new is usually pretty sweet. 

And so, with a new year beginning it's fitting for us to look at THE BEGINNING in Genesis. 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good.

Genesis 1.1-4 ESV

Everyone knows this verse. I think I read this and there is already so much Jesus in this verse, even from the very beginning. The obvious parallel comes in John 1.1-5 which was clearly written to show how Jesus has been there from the beginning.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 
John 1.1-5 ESV

How does this work? Well, in Genesis 1 the word used for God in Hebrew is "Elohim" which is by far the most common term used for God in the OT. "Elohim" can also be translated as "Gods" meaning gods in plurality. Now, this doesn't mean there are many Gods, but even here in the opening verses of the Bible we see hints and shadows of Jesus. Sure, it doesn't get cleared up fully until John 1, but that is the nature of Jesus fulfilling the OT. He's always there but we don't always see him right away...kinda like a spiritual Where's Waldo. 

 

WHERE IS JESUS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?

Three Ways: 1. Jesus Creates 2. Jesus DESIRES to create something from nothing 3. Jesus Creates Light

1. JESUS CREATES

John goes out of his way to be clear that Jesus creates (1.1). God didn't make anything without Jesus being involved. He was not consulted after the fact but initiated the entire process. In fact the greek word "ginomai" which the ESV translates as "made" is really the idea of "coming into being" and the Hebrew word in Genesis is the word "bara" meaning "to create" which is different than "to fashion" or "to make" because it implies that it didn't exist before you created it. Basically, Jesus didn't work off someone else's work he made something out of nothing. God/Jesus is not limited to what had been done before (aka nothing) and is unabashedly excited about creating. So often I limit Jesus to what has been done before in my life, and say "you couldn't do that." Whether it's my lack of compassion on people or people that I hope to become Christians, I can come up with a reason to say, "that isn't possible." This is where Jesus cracks his knuckles and whips up the amazing. Jesus creates and has created from the beginning. 

2.  JESUS DESIRES TO CREATE SOMETHING FROM NOTHING

Something that stands out to me here is that the Earth was void (1.2). It was nothing special. The grand canyon didn't exist yet. And yet God/Jesus DESIRED to create something from nothing. He didn't ignore the empty and he didn't pass on the vacant lot that was Earth. He saw it and desired to create, and not just create but create something GOOD. To me I begin to see the daring character of Jesus emerging. When things seem hopeless or maybe even a waster of time, Jesus doesn't step in, he cannonballs into the void to create something GOOD. There is encouragement and conviction for me. Encouragement: Jesus wants to create something GOOD out of me even when I am empty or worse, spectacularly unspectacular. Conviction: Do I desire to do the same thing? I ignore people and situations that I consider mundane. I often only dream for people when I see them being capable of something great and then limit how much I think God can do in someone's life. How un-Jesus-like of me to wash my hands of the empty. I want to see him create something out of nothing.

3. JESUS CREATES LIGHT  

Ok, so I feel like its been raining for a month. Seriously, wherever I have been for the last two weeks it has rained for at least a portion of the day. I miss the sun. I don't think I appreciate it that when Jesus/God was creating, they didn't have to create light (1.16-18). They could have left us in the dark. I mean Jesus/God can't create evil things, but he didn't have to create things that were Good and he definitely didn't have to create things in his image (1.27). I mean we were created to be a representation of God/Jesus himself! He didn't have to do that! And when we fell to sin, eating the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil he didn't have to continue to try and find a way to save us. But look here in Genesis 3, after the serpent (Satan) deceives Adam and Eve and they bring about the Fall of God's GOOD creation, God still has the steel in his spine to say: 

"Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat, all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” . Genesis 3.14-15 ESV

Here, even here after God's perfect creation falls due to rebellion to him, he still is looking to redeem his creation. And here, not even three chapters into the Bible, the stage is beginning to be built for Jesus. Hints and faint glimmers of his theme music begin playing in the background. No one knows it's him yet. No one knows how the woman's offspring will trample of the head of the serpent, but God knows, and now we do too. Where Jesus goes he creates light. Jesus undoes the evil we do by bringing light into the picture. 

Wow, that's a lot of Jesus in the first three chapters of this amazing book. What a way to start! 

Prequel: Day -1, The Explanation

I love Star Wars. I remember using our couch as a trampoline when my dad brought home the original Star Wars in VHS form, and being glued to our TV until the credits rolled. But as much as I loved the original Star Wars movies, I didn't like the prequels as much. Not bad, but not great. Every time I watched a prequel, I just wanted to go back and watch the originals again. 

It's kinda the same with the Old Testament and New Testament for me. I love the NT. Like LOVE it. I learned greek so I could read the original manuscripts. I love Jesus, I love the stories, I love the Epistles...it just feels like home to me. The OT, not so much. I'm inspired by the heroes, I'm uplifted by the Psalms, and I'm grateful for the Proverbs. But it's always seemed like foreign territory for me.  

But then, as our church finished our Two and a half year study of the book of Luke, something hit me. Jesus himself, after he had resurrected, said this to some of his followers:

"How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” Luke 24.25-26 NIV

and then Luke explains

"And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself." Luke 24.27 NIV

Woah. Jesus gets upset with some of his followers for not knowing or appreciating what was about him in the Old Testament AND he shows how he, The Messiah, has been in the plan from the beginning. It seems as though the OT was really a PREQUEL for Jesus, and the story is only completed when you can appreciate both Prequel and main story.

So that is what I'm going to do this year. I am going to search through the OT looking for Jesus. It may not be direct in each verse. It may be that the heroes from the OT are only heroes because the in some small way they resemble Jesus before he came. It may be that Jesus reverses thinking from the OT or demolishes a bad example from someone in the OT. It could be that I won't appreciate what Jesus has opened for me until I see what the OT people went through. I don't really know. But that is what this blog will be about. We are answering the question:

Where is Jesus in the Old Testament?

So sit back, enjoy the ride with me. Tell me what parallels you see or if you disagree, or whatever. But welcome to the PREQUEL Blog.