It has been a fun couple of weeks. Two weeks ago was my birthday/10th wedding anniversary EXTRAVAGANZA!!
This last week we took the kids to St. Louis. Ten years ago, Jim and I met in STL at Concordia Seminary where he was studying to be a pastor and I was working on my Masters in Theology (although I also earned my Mrs.).
It was sweet to reminisce about our time at the Seminary. It was also helpful to get back to the roots of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. St. Louis is the North American motherland for the LCMS.
In my opinion, Jesus is the main emphasis in Lutheran theology. All doctrine flows out of and relates to Jesus. This is not something Lutherans created; nor is it something only Lutherans believe…it’s biblical!
Jesus said it Himself in Luke 24:27 on the road to Emmaus. He was walking with some of His disciples (unbeknownst to them!) as they recollected the events of Easter week. The disciples were confused by Jesus’ death and empty tomb. Then Jesus blessed them with incredible insight in verse 27:
And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Basically Jesus was saying, “It’s all about me!”
So the Bible isn’t basic-instructions-before-leaving-earth. And it’s not a book we use to teach us how to live our lives. We can find moralistic books in the Amazon’s self-help section. Sure the Bible offers plenty of good principles by which to live. But that’s not the purpose of the Bible.
The Bible is all about Jesus.
Shai Linne, a Christian rapper, penned a song The Greatest Story Ever Told. I know some of you would rather eat deep-fried boogers than listen to rap…but this song is a fabulous overview of the Bible and how Jesus is the backbone of it all. In the end, he describes Jesus as
The author, producer, director, and star of the story that will never ever end
We can’t look at the Bible without considering Jesus.
A couple of weeks ago I suggested one simple question to ask when reading the Bible: What can I learn about God from this passage?
I think a second, more defined question to ask is
What can I learn about Jesus from this passage?
There are 3 potential ways to find Jesus in a passage:
These are promises of something that will happen in the future. For example, in Genesis 12 God promises to make Abraham into a great nation. This promise is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus. When you read a prophecy, consider how it eventually comes true in Jesus. You may at times see this fulfillment as your reading a New Testament passage.
A type of Jesus
We can make a lot of comparisons between people in the Bible and Jesus. Think about Joseph…he received revelations from God through dreams/Jesus knew the future. He was despised and rejected by his brothers/Jesus was rejected by those He came to save. He was falsely accused by Potipher’s wife/Jesus was falsely accused by the Pharisees and people in the temple courts. He offered forgiveness and restoration to his brothers despite their awfulness toward him/Jesus forgives on the cross – and daily forgives us even though we don’t deserve it.
The coolest part about comparing biblical characters to Jesus is that Jesus is always better. Jesus is a better Joseph…because He never sinned, and forgives ALL people. Jesus is always better.
So when you look at someone in the bible, think about how they might compare to Jesus.
We can learn a ton about Jesus by reading the gospels. Think about how He speaks, what He values, who He hangs out with, what He does, etc.
There are a lot of misconceptions about Jesus. Sometimes He’s portrayed as the sandal wearing, hippie type, who just wants to love everyone. Other times He’s depicted as a simple, easy-going man who walks along and stumbles into an undeserved death. Once we read the text and understand the implication of Jesus’ actions and words, we begin to see a radical Jesus.
Getting to know Jesus as revealed in Scripture is a powerful tool as we battle worry. All of Scripture hangs together in Him. All promises of peace and comfort and restoration are fulfilled in Jesus.
So consider not only What can I learn about God from this passage?, but also, or more specifically, What can I learn about Jesus from this passage?
*If you’d like some help discovering Jesus throughout Scripture, consider Reading the Psalms with Luther. It’s a devotional that tracks through the Psalms, connecting Jesus to each Psalm and also teaching readers how to use the Psalms to pray.