God Running is a place for anyone who wants to (or even anyone who wants to want to) love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.
In our last post from the book of Acts we looked at Peter’s quote from Moses when Moses spoke about Jesus, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.” (Acts 3:22-23, also see Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19) What Peter shared reminded me of the transition I went through during my seven year deep dive into the life and teachings of Jesus in the Gospels. Inspired by Peter’s words I wrote about a conversation I wish I could have with my younger self. (If you’re interested you can check out our previous post here: An Important Conversation with my Younger Self — Acts 3:22-23.)
After Peter quotes Moses, he continues,
How Peter Reveals Jesus
“And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”Acts 3:24-26
Peter continues to reveal Jesus to his listeners through the Old Testament scriptures. He reminds them that God said to Moses, “And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” He points out to the crowd that God was talking about Jesus when He said that. He shares that God sent His servant Jesus to the Jews first, to bless them by turning every one of them from their wickedness. (Genesis 12:3)
“All the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed” Jesus, Peter says.
I’m reminded of when Jesus said to his disciples, “. . . everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.
Who Cares About the Old Testament?
Sometimes I can get caught up in our culture, and what my friends think, and what the people at work think, and what the talking heads say, and what I see and read on social media. When that happens I might be tempted to discount scripture outside of the words of Jesus. The Old Testament is after all — so old. Sometimes I might feel like it’s just too irrelevant to modern society and I really don’t need to invest myself in it anymore.
When I’ve started down that path there’s always been someone who turns me around. And that someone is Jesus.
The reason I say that is because when I study the life and words of Jesus I can’t escape how Jesus viewed the Old Testament. Jesus quoted from fourteen different books of the Old Testament and when he did, he quoted the Old Testament as an ultimate authoritative source. He quoted it as the inspired words of God Himself.
Jesus also quoted the Old Testament in a way that demonstrated his belief that the people of the Old Testament were real. He speaks of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, The Queen of Sheba, Elijah, Elisha, and Zechariah as real people experiencing real events as they were recorded in the Old Testament. He talked about how Moses gave the right of circumcision, how Moses and the Israelites received manna from God, how David ate the bread of the Presence, how David was the writer of certain Psalms, how Lot’s wife’s disregard for God’s words resulted in tragedy.
When confronted by Satan, Jesus quoted, with complete trust and faith, words from the Old Testament.
Jesus personally submitted to the authority of the Old Testament.
And of course, as I’ve written many times, Jesus saw the Old Testament as God’s revelation of Jesus himself.
So the answer to the question, who cares about the Old Testament, is: Jesus. (Stewart)
Why Should I Care About The Old Testament?
One of the best Bible scholars on the planet, in my humble opinion, is Craig Keener. He doesn’t seem to have an agenda. He just seems genuinely and earnestly eager to find accurate truth. That type of person is rare and Keener’s research and insights into the Bible are especially valuable to me for that reason.
Something Keener points out more than once is how in Jesus’ day, Jesus’ followers strived to imitate him. Keener writes of Jesus’ time and culture, “It was widely understood that disciples regularly reflected the lifestyle and character they had learned from their teachers.” (Keener p. 333)
In another place Keener says it even more plainly: “Disciples were to learn especially by imitating their teachers.” (Keener p. 297)
So even if there were no reason to study the Old Testament other than the example Jesus provides for me in the way he took the Old Testament seriously, I still have to study the Old Testament because Jesus studied the Old Testament.
And he not only studied it and quoted from it as an authoritative source but he also taught his own disciples from the Old Testament. And the way he taught them provides the key for us about how we should study the Old Testament.
When Jesus opened the Old Testament scriptures up to his disciples, he did it in a way that revealed himself to them.
So when we study the Old Testament (I would say not if, but when) we need to read it in the same way. We need to read the Old Testament with an eye out for Jesus. When we read the Old Testament this way, we will see him everywhere. One of my favorite resources for doing this is Jon Courson’s Application Commentary but I’m sure there are other good resources out there that look at the Old Testament with Jesus in mind.
So because Jesus himself spoke of the miracles, events, and people in the Old Testament as historical truth. Because Jesus validated the account of the destruction of Sodom including the death of Lot’s wife. (Luke 17:29,32) And Jesus confirmed that manna fell from heaven (John 6:31-51) And Jesus spoke of Daniel of the Old Testament as a real and genuine prophet. (Matthew 24:15) And Jesus validated the account of Jonah and the whale. (Matthew 12:39) And Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6 speaks of the Genesis account of the creation of Adam and Eve. Even though I don’t really know how all of that works, because Jesus, the Son of God Himself, viewed the Old Testament in this way, I have to look at it the same way.
I don’t believe in blind faith, but I do believe in faith. I believe in the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and words based on the assessment of those accounts by a former atheist and expert in ancient literature, C.S. Lewis, and other Bible scholars. And if the gospels are true, then Jesus is real. And if he is who he said he is, the Son of God, then his words are the most important and most credible words there are. And he quoted from the Old Testament often, and as an authoritative source.
Jesus said directly, “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35) He called the Scripture, “the commandment of God.” And Jesus referred to the Old Testament as the the words of God and God’s final authority: “Have you not read that which was spoken to you by God?” Jesus said. (Matthew 22:31)
There’s plenty of criticism of the Old Testament scriptures out there, that’s for sure. But because Jesus accepted the Old Testament as “spoken to you by God,” then if we believe on Jesus, we find ourselves in a position where we have to give credibility to the Old Testament and take it seriously, or, disagree with the Son of God.
I don’t know about you but I’m with Jesus.
You might also like How Does Jesus View the Old Testament? Genesis 2:4-7.
Don Stewart, What Was Jesus’ View of the Old Testament?, Blue Letter Bible
Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament,
InterVarsity Press, 1993
Image of man studying the Old Testament via Rushay Booysen – Public Domain
Now available on Amazon!
Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)
Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.
Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:
- Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
- How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
- The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
- How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
- How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
- How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
- How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
- How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
- How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.
With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.
A life of loving like Jesus.
Pingback: An Interruption of Colossal Proportions: Acts 4:1-4 | God Running