How To Find Jesus In The Old Testament – Luke 24:1-35

From my reading in Luke 24:1-35 in the One Year New Testament.

Jesus is the hero of the Bible. 

After dying for us and coming back to life Jesus appeared to some of his disciples were who walking on the road and  trying to make sense of his recent death and resurrection.

“He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Luke 24:25–27

Jesus explained what the Old Testament said about him!

What are some ways that we can find Jesus in the Old Testament?

1. Stories that foreshadow what Jesus would do for us.

We have to be careful that we are not playing spiritual “Where’s Waldo” and trying and find Jesus under every bush. But there are some clear stories that foreshadow Christ.

  • Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac.
  • Melchizedek (see Hebrews 7).
  • Jonah being in the fish for 3 days and Jesus being in the towb for 3 days (see Matt 12:3-45).
  • The snake being put up on the pole in Exdous to save people (John 3).
  • Other stories.

Warning: The best way to know that these are forshadowing is when the New Testament uses them in that way. Be careful not to force a passage to say something it’s not actually saying!

2. Specific Prophesies about Jesus 

Hundreds years before Jesus, God sent prophets to Israel to tell them how to recognize a coming Messiah.

The crazy thing is that when Jesus lived he fulfilled over 300 of these prophecies

To me the most powerful prophesies relate to Jesus’ birth and death.

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.” Micah 5:2

Jesus didn’t cry out from the womb, mother I shall be born in Bethlehem! But Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

Even during Jesus’ crucifixion a number of key prophesies were fulfilled.

“They have pierced my hands and my feet.  I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.  They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” Psalm 22:16b-18

In this short Old Testament passage we see 4 prophecies Jesus fulfilled.

  • They have pierced my hands and my feet – Way before crucifixion was even invented, David predicted that Jesus would be killed by having his hand and feet pierced.
  • I can count all my bones – His bones were never broken, even though it was common practice to break the legs of the crucified to make sure that they die. Because they were confident Jesus was already dead he was stabbed in the side instead. This kept any of his bones from breaking.
  • People stare and gloat over me – Crucifixion was an embarrassing public spectacle.
  • They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” People did divide his cloths and cast lost for them!

3. Seeing Jesus As The Climax of The Narrative. 

The Bible was written over 1,600 years by 40 different authors in 3 languages yet it fits into one story about Jesus.

Every story has a climax, and Christ’s death and resurrection is that climax.

Like pieces of a puzzle God inspired each writer to give us part the story of man’s rebellion against God, God’s mercy to his people, and ultimately the provision of a savior in Jesus.

Ultimately the Bible is a story about JESUS! 

When we read the Old Testament we should look forward to the cross.

I hope that as you read the Old Testament with Christ that you have a similar experience the men had along the road.

“Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32

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About David Worcester

I am the founder and director of a campus ministry at San Diego State called Challenge. I am also serving as an ordained elder at Mission Trails Church. I love speaking and writing about college ministry, gospel appointments, and practical ways to live out God’s Word! I am also passionate about: leadership training, learning, missions, church planting, surfing, hiking, sports, photography and traveling (So far I’ve visited 23 countries & all 50 states). I’m married to Jessica Worcester who I fell in love with while doing college ministry together and we have a two year old son named Samuel. I graduated from from the University of Oklahoma (OU) with a degree in Film & Video Studies. And I received my Masters in Theological Studies from Gateway Seminary. I am an ordained minister who loves speaking and writing about practical ways to live out God’s Word in life and ministry.

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