It’s The Heart of the Jewish Scriptures
Thursday my Old Testament Survey I class at Southern Bible Institute kicked off. This semester we will track the Lord’s Story of Redemption from the creation in Genesis to the post-exilic period in Persia when Queen Esther delivers her Jewish people from Haman’s attempted Holocaust during the reign of Ahasuerus (486 -465BC). In our first hour I started by sharing how I had grown up in New Jersey and that many of my friends were Jewish. Then I asked them this question: Over coffee, using only the Jewish Scriptures, could you show how Moses and the prophets predicted that the Messiah would suffer and then rise again from the dead?
The Apostle Paul was Jewish, himself, and he would have no trouble answering this question. When he moved toward the close of his defense before Agrippa and Bernice, there was no complete New Testament but Paul didn’t base his entire defense on his Damascus Road vision. He declared that from one synagogue to another he had opened up to the Books of Moses and then the Prophets and demonstrated how they revealed that the Messiah would die for sin and then rise again as the victor over death.
“So, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. But first in Damascus and then in Jerusalem, and all the region of Judea, and finally to the Gentiles I proclaimed the need to repent, to turn to God, and to practice works in keeping with repentance. This is why the Jews seized me when I was in the temple and tried to kill me. But I have experienced God’s help till this very day, and so I stand here testifying to small and to great saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would happen—that the Messiah would suffer and then as the first to rise from the dead proclaim light to the people and to the Gentiles.” Acts 26:19-23
The first clue to the fact that the Messiah would suffer but win in the end is given in the LORD’s first statement to the serpent in Genesis 3:15. The LORD declares that a great male child born of a woman would be struck by the serpent in the heel—this male child would suffer. But the male child would crush the head of the serpent. Like every good story, the seed of the entire plot is presented in the beginning.
Pray that by the end of the semester each of my students will be able to begin with this clue given in Genesis 3:15 and present the Good News about Jesus straight out of the Jewish Scriptures from Genesis to Esther.
LORD, you’ve given me women’s Bible study leaders, seasoned pastors and new pastors, and several lay church leaders. What a responsibility! Open their minds and hearts as we learn together to track Your Story revealing Your Son from Genesis to Esther.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!