Are the Old and New Testaments about Jesus Christ?
Categories: Jesus, New Testament, Old Testament
I teach 3 and 4 year old children the Bible and I want to be able to tell them first of all that the whole Bible is all about Jesus Christ. Do you have a good paragraph or two that I could say that 3 and 4 year old children would understand? (Old Testament & New Testament -- all focused on Jesus Christ)
There are literally hundreds of direct quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament. If one includes allusions to texts, the number is much larger. Scholars estimate over 500 allusions to the Old Testament in the Book of Revelation alone. In addition, Jesus quoted Old Testament verses almost one hundred times.
It seems quite obvious, then, that both Jesus and the evangelists were not only acquainted with the Old Testament but also felt it was relevant in their daily lives. If you are looking for Old Testament stories, two of the more interesting ones involve Jesus' statement, "Before Abraham was, I am" (See John 8:28), and "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (See Matthew 5:17).
Though many scholars assume in the first instance that Jesus was making a claim to his divine nature by saying "I am," virtually repeating the name God gave to Moses at the burning bush, others think that might be overreaching. Jesus is saying simply that he existed before Abraham. The Christ is eternal and without beginning. For all of Abraham's importance, the Christ exceeds him.
In the Matthew quote, Jesus alludes to Moses who brought the law given by God to the people. Jesus' statement follows the form of the strongest possible prohibition in Greek. It's like saying, "It's totally unthinkable that I have come to destroy the Bible. How could something like that even cross your mind?" Yet, clearly someone had thought that or he would not have needed to say it. The law had been given by God Himself and was therefore, perfect and not subject to reform.
So, Jesus did not come to destroy the Holy Scriptures, to set them aside, relax, or make them obsolete. He didn't come to destroy, but to fulfill, to fill up full; to fill up completely, to be obedient with meaning, to bring it to its intended meaning. He is saying the law is valid. True, it had been interpreted to stress the acts; it was externalized, legalistic. But, does he set this aside? Does he say, "OK, now don't pay anymore attention to that, do this instead?" Does he propose something totally different? No, he doesn't. What he does do is fill it up with meaning. He stresses the doer. He is saying, "Put it inside; internalize it."
In both of these instances Jesus is using Old Testament stories to reveal something about himself. Yet, one must remember that this is a very Christian reading on the subject. Scholars recognize that the stories of the Hebrew Bible had a context for the time in which they were written. Though many Christian scholars claim that Jesus is the focus of each book in the Old Testament, Jewish scholars would argue that the Old Testament is about the covenant that God instituted with his people. It is a written record of this formal agreement that connected God and his chosen people. Through the vehicle of the stories God revealed himself to all of humanity. These spiritual truths were foundational for the Israelite nation as well as Christianity. Because this revelation was progressive, Jesus was able to bring them to fulfillment. The Old Testament, then, has its own unique purpose. It can be thought of as a guidebook for finding and knowing God. It is true that some people were more successful than others in their spiritual journeys. Christians believed the journey culminated with the Christ; other traditions are still awaiting the Christ/Messiah. you have any questions related to the Bible, please feel free to email us.