The starting point of the believer’s knowledge of God, and the believer’s knowledge of the things of God, is not in the Old Testament…it is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Without Jesus, we probably would not be aware of – nor would we even read – the Old Testament. But the Old Testament points to Jesus. He fulfills the Old Testament.
Before Jesus, the Jewish faith (the faith of the Old Testament) was exactly that…the Jewish faith. No one much beyond the Jews was interested in, nor did they feel they had access to, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Most people believed in in some kind of god, they just did not know what that god was like, or who that god was. In the Gentile world, they heard the testament of those who had walked the earth with Jesus Christ, or they were confronted with the very spirit of the risen Christ Himself. Without the life of Jesus, and without the Old Testament, the New Testament would not have become the basis for the great faith called Christianity.
This history is not said to reflect upon the Jews. God chose that nation, that group, to be the vehicle of the truth that He wanted to reveal up to that point. He isolated that race so that He could develop through them the truths upon which Jesus would build, and upon which the life and teachings of Jesus would be based.
The Gentile world seemed more ready to accept the Messiah that the Jews had described in the Old Testament than they were. And it is also a strange fact that the whole structure of sacrifices of animals and of blood ceased soon after Jesus offered the perfect sacrifice. In the Jewish synagogues and temples, there is no sacrifice of blood anymore, even though they believe that there is no redemption without the shedding of blood.
Because of Jesus we have a link – a Way – into the wonderful promises God made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jesus told us about God because He is God. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, He would never have impacted the world as He has. If He did not rise from the dead, He would not have the significance for us that He has.
Adapted from the sermon,“The Foundation of Our Faith”, at West Angeles Church of God In Christ, 10/16/2016.
SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: 1 Corinthians 15:12-21, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
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