On Easter Sunday we considered that on the morning of the Resurrection Jesus’ disciples did not yet understand from the Scriptures that He had to rise again from the dead. The apostle John admits as much while describing his first glimmer of faith inside the empty tomb. (John 20:9)
Clearly, by the time he wrote his Gospel, however, the apostle was convinced beyond any doubt that Jesus had risen from the dead. And, under the instructive guidance of the Holy Spirit, he had come to understand this is what his own Scriptures had taught all along.
The question is, do WE understand from the Scriptures (especially what we now call the Old Testament) that Jesus had to rise from the dead?
Christ is obviously the focus of the New Testament, and I think most of us can point to a text or two in the Old Testament that clearly point prophetically to Jesus. But let us ask the Spirit to help us read the Old Testament with new eyes. May we discover that Christ and His Death and Resurrection are to be seen throughout Moses and the Prophets, in the books of Poetry and the Psalms. Let us seek and find the Gospel of Christ in the lives of the patriarchs, in the Passover, in the wilderness wanderings and larger history of Israel; in the Temple, sacrifices and feasts, in the lives of the judges, the prophets, priests and kings.
There are many reasons why we ought to read the New Testament Gospels in the context of the Old Testament, but one very important reason is that we need to understand that our Christian Faith was not a new religion started by Jesus or His followers. The Gospel of the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus is the Good News of God that He has been revealing to His people since the very beginning of time.