Did Jesus Know the Old Testament?

Many people are skeptical about Scripture. We all know we live in a questioning and skeptical age.

Did Jesus know the Old Testament? Was it even complete at the time of His ministry? These are the kinds of questions which are often asked, even among Bible scholars.

This Easter season provides a strong look at what elements of the Old Testament Scripture were available to Jesus and His early followers.

On the day of the resurrection, Jesus appeared to Simon Peter, two of his followers (who not part of the twelve) on the road to Emmaus, and to the eleven disciples along with other followers in Jerusalem.

In Jerusalem, Jesus commissioned the followers to go to the nations with the Gospel. He gave them three specific tasks to achieve. First, they were to go to the ethnicities (the nations). Everyone should hear the Gospel. Second, the task of the church was to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus beginning at Jerusalem. Third, they were to wait for the gift of the Father (the Holy Spirit). The Holy Spirit would empower them to carry out the commission of the Lord.

The last events in Luke’s Gospel show how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament. Jesus said that everything written about Him in the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms had been filled with meaning. While Luke did not give us specific Scripture passages, Psalms 69, 110, and 22 along with Isaiah 53 and Jeremiah 31:31-34 readily come to mind.

When Jesus referred to the Law, Prophets, and Psalms, He is thinking of the entire Old Testament. The Hebrew Scriptures were made up of these three parts.

The first part was the Law and consisted of the five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

The second part was the Prophets, but the Hebrew Bible is put together differently than our English Bibles. All the parts are present but not in the same order. The Prophets consisted of eight books: Joshua, Judges, Samuel (both books), Kings (both books), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Book of the Twelve (what we know as the Minor Prophets without Daniel).

The third part consisted of the remaining books beginning with the Psalms. Both books of Chronicles and the Prophecy of Daniel are included in this section. Chronicles is the last book of the Hebrew Bible.

Jesus fulfilled Holy Scripture. His was not an isolated act. He accomplished the plan God for Him from the very beginning (the foundation of the world).

Our worship of the One, True God is not a “good idea” or a “helpful act,” it is God’s revelation and plan from the very beginning. Our missions is not because we are Baptist or Presbyterian or whatever, it is to accomplish the plan given by God and revealed in Christ.

Let us be those faithful servants who carry out His plan.

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