What's the Old Testament all about?
On Sunday I was preaching in an assembly I had never been to before, so I didn't know anyone in the congregation. When the elder convening the meeting introduced me, he mentioned that I teach at CTS. After the service a woman came to speak to me. She was very friendly and wanted to know what I taught at seminary. Yet, when I said that I taught a lot of Old Testament, her faced dropped immediately, and very noticeably (I dread to think of what the reaction would have been if I had managed to get as far as mentioning Philosophy of Religion...). 'Oh', she said, 'I really don't like the Old Testament.'
It just so happened that my sermon that morning had also come from the Old Testament. A man also came up to me after the service. He just wanted to tell me how much he disagreed with my sermon. The problem? Well, I had preached about Christ, but I had preached from the Old Testament. 'The Old Testament isn't about Christ', he told me, 'apart from a few passages like Isaiah 53.'
Happily these weren't the only conversations I had after the Breaking of Bread on Sunday; but they are quite typical of many reactions that I hear from Christians to the Old Testament. It seems that many Christians either simply don't like it, or else they think that it is totally divorced from Christ and the Gospel (and thus complicated, irrelevant, or both).
I disagree. I like the Old Testament (and not just because I teach it). Jesus and the early church also liked the Old Testament (after all, they didn't have a New Testament yet). I also think that the Old Testament cannot be divorced from Christ and the Gospel, and I think that because Jesus says so. On the road to Emmaus 'beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.' (Luke 24:27). All the Scriptures on the day of the resurrection immediately referred to all the Old Testament Scriptures. Therefore all the Old Testament is about Christ (not just Isaiah 53). When we realize that Christ is the subject of the Old Testament, how can we help but love the OT and find it incredibly relevant. How much more important and relevant a subject can there be?