When we think about the Gospel of Jesus Christ – the Good News of what God has done in and through the life, death, and resurrection of his Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, we usually just go back 2,000 years. But the story is older than that. In one sense, it goes all the way back into eternity – into the mind of God who’s always existed.
But I don’t want to get that philosophical with you this morning. But I do want to show you that the Good News that would be fulfilled in Jesus was already planned in the Old Testament. God didn’t come up with it on the fly.
When I used to teach Disciple Bible Study (which is a very detailed study of both the Old and New Testaments), folks would very often tell me how bogged down they were getting in the Old Testament. Frankly, they would often tell me that they thought it was boring and irrelevant.
So, one of the things I used to tell them to encourage them to stick with it, was to start looking for Jesus in the pages of the Old Testament. Because he’s there. In fact, he’s all over the place in the Old Testament.
Now, I can’t go through all the Old Testament in this post to make that case, but here are a few Scriptures from the New Testament that help make my point…
Romans 1:1-4 – Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God–  the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures  regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David,  and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:1-3 – Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,…
Galatians 3:6-9 – Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”  Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.  The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”  So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
Acts 13:26-39 – “Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.  The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath.  Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed.  When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb.  But God raised him from the dead,  and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.
 “We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers  he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus…
Peter and Stephen, in the book of Acts, declare the same truths: that all that was accomplished in and through the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ was anticipated and prophesied about in the Old Testament.
Now maybe at that point you may say, “Well, that sounds good, but that’s just Paul and Peter and Stephen. They’re just men. Well, let me caution you to remember that Paul’s writings and Peter’s preaching in Acts are just as inspired of God as anything written in the Gospels. But, just for emphasis, let me quote a little of what our Lord himself said, or what was said about him, in the Gospels…
Luke 18:31 – Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.
Luke 24:27 – And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Luke 24:44 – He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
John 1:45 – Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
John 5:45-46 – “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set.  If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.
John 8:56 – Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
The “Scriptures” that Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, Philip, Nathanael, and Stephen spoke of were, of course, the Old Testament. That’s what I mean when I say that we ought to try to find Jesus and his Gospel in the Old Testament. It’s far from silent on the subject. That’s why we read so much from the Old Testament during the Advent and Lenten seasons. It points to our Lord. Thanks be to God.
So what, exactly, is the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ? That’s what we’ll take a look at next time.
Grace and Truth,