Why is it important to study the Old Testament? Because it is where we get the foundation for the Gospel. To know one, we must know both.
11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the [Old Testament] Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11
As we continue our look at the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament, there is a shift from God and His chosen people, Israel, to God and Christians. As anti-sematic as this sounds, Jesus’ call was first to the Jews and then the Gentiles (Romans 1:16) to make a new person out of the two groups (Ephesians 2:14-16); this new person is anyone who follows Him. Let’s look at the New Covenant:
New Covenant: Between God and Christians
The system of animal sacrifice lasted hundreds of years, but even so, it was only temporary. Out of love, God the Father sent his only Son, Jesus, into the world. This new covenant would resolve the problem of sin once and for all.
For three years, Jesus taught throughout Israel about the kingdom of God and his role as Messiah. To support his claim as Son of God, he performed many miracles, even raising three people from the dead. By dying on the cross, Christ became the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice whose blood has the power to wash away sin forever (1 John 1:7).
The new covenant could have begun in the upper room at the Lord’s Supper when He took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20), at Jesus’ crucifixion when Christ’s blood was poured out, upon His resurrection when death was defeated, or at Pentecost with the coming of the Holy Spirit and founding of the Christian Church. Regardless, the new covenant was established between God and the individual Christian (John 3:16), with Jesus Christ serving as mediator.
Besides serving as the sacrifice, Jesus also became the new high priest (Hebrews 4:14-16, 7:24-25). Instead of physical prosperity, the new covenant promises salvation from sin and eternal life with God. As high priest, Jesus constantly intercedes for his followers before his Father in heaven (He IS the intercession). Individuals may now approach God themselves; they no longer need a human high priest to speak for them, for the Father Himself loves us (John 16:26-27).
Like I said earlier, to know one (the New Covenant), we must know the other (the Old Testament). Without knowing about sacrifices, we would not understand what Jesus did for us on the cross. we simply wouldn’t have a reference point.
Abba, we ask that You turn our hearts toward Your entire message, which includes both Old and New Testaments (or Covenants). Just as Abraham and Isaac on the mountain was a foreshadow of You and Your Son, You were teaching Your people all along what the New Covenant would look like. For us Gentiles, we trusted You and then are learning about the promises, where the Jews know the promises, but are having a tough time trusting You. May You turn their hearts toward Jesus, O Lord. We ask it in Jesus’ name, amen.