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The Heart of the Bible | Theology Matters

  • August 2013 Issue
Practical Theology

Jesus is at the center of the Scriptures. He told the religious leaders who opposed Him, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you possess eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39). We know these Scriptures as the Old Testament.

The Old Testament predicted the details of Christ’s miraculous birth, suffering, death, and resurrection. The Gospels point to specific events in the Savior’s life and note that these things took place to fulfill what the Lord had predicted in the prophetic books of the Old Testament (cf. Matt. 27:9; Mark 14:49; Luke 24:44; John 12:37–38). Jesus appealed to this Old Testament testimony when He appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus following His resurrection: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

Jesus is at the center of the whole Bible because He is the culmination of all that the Scriptures reveal about God. The writer of Hebrews characterizes Him as God’s final word about Himself. Jesus is God’s most explicit revelation of Himself because He is “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Heb. 1:3). He is God in the flesh (John 1:1, 14). Because Jesus is one with the Father, He provides us with the clearest understanding of the Father (John 10:30). Jesus affirmed this to His disciples when He told Philip: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). But Jesus does more than simply inform us about God. He is also the way to God. No one can come to the Father except through the person and work of Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

We cannot know Christ apart from what is written in the Scriptures. Jesus is the lens that enables us to understand both the significance and the implications of all that have been written in the Bible. This does not mean that we should look to find Jesus in every text. But it does mean that we should look at every text through the lens of Christ. When the Bible shows us our sin, it does so in order to reveal our need for the forgiveness that comes only through Christ’s shed blood. When the Bible reveals our duty, it is a duty that can only be fulfilled by relying on the empowering grace that Christ supplies through His death and resurrection.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

To learn more about the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, read The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey (Zondervan).

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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