Well done for sticking with 'Glimpses of Jesus through the Old Testament' during 2016. We hope you enjoyed it. We certainly gained a lot as we put it together. When we embarked on this project we never claimed that it would be comprehensive in its ...

 

Thank you and more...



Thank you

Well done for sticking with 'Glimpses of Jesus through the Old Testament' during 2016. We hope you enjoyed it. We certainly gained a lot as we put it together.

When we embarked on this project we never claimed that it would be comprehensive in its scope! Exhausting the Old Testament for hints, echoes or glimpses of Jesus is not possible this side of heaven. One glimpse per week for a year was our aim and we hope that the 52 posts we produced gave you insights and, more importantly, encouraged you to mine the riches of God's word for more.

We therefore thought that we should finish the blog by beginning 2017 with an encouragement for you to read with your Bible with your eyes open. As you enter into the New Year why not look for more glimpses of Jesus? We thought we would give you a couple of passages we ran out of space for. They may help to get your searching started:
Genesis 3:21 - God made coverings of skin to cover the shame of Adam & Eve
Genesis 4:4 - God was pleased with the sacrifice of the firstborn of the flock which Abel offered
Psalm 72:1-20 - A description of the righteous King
Micah 7:14-20 - The shepherd who pardons iniquity, demonstrates love & compassion, and removes sin

And a last worship video:
 



We'd love to hear what you find! And also we’d love to see or hear any creative responses you produce!

May you continue to fall in love with Jesus as you discover Him on every page of Scripture and gaze upon His beauty.

Bernice & Simon


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.


         
 

The Purifier

Malachi 3:1-4

Malachi’s prophecy concludes the Old Testament. Chapter 3 opens with God promising to send a messenger who will prepare the way for God Himself to come (v1). This echoes Isaiah’s words about ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight’’ (Isaiah 40:3). Malachi finishes his prophecy by describing the messenger as Elijah (4:5,6).

The gospel writers explicitly identify John the Baptiser as this messenger (Matthew 3:1-6, Mark 1:1-8, Luke 3:1-6, John 1:19-23). He styled himself as ‘The Voice’ and brought a message of repentance which called people to get ready for the One who was coming. He went even further and identified Jesus as, ‘The Lamb who takes away the sin of the world’ and the One on whom the Spirit descends and remains (John 1:29-34). His message was not about himself but pointed as a very clear signpost to the long-awaited Messiah.

As we read on in Malachi’s prophecy we see the promise that the Lord Himself would come suddenly to His temple (v1) and usher in a day when there will be purification and refining of people so that they will be able to present offerings in righteousness (vv2-4). The priesthood is to be restored back to being able to please God with their offerings. Sin is to be burned up, smelted and cleansed. The twin features of holiness and righteousness are to once more characterise the worship of God’s people. And God is once again to be in residence amongst His people as He returns to His temple.

But He is not going to come to His Temple simply to be present. He is going to arrive on a mission. A mission to deal with sin. A mission to usher in God’s kingdom. A mission to redeem for God’s own possession a pure people who are zealous for good deeds. A mission that will lead to the extension of God’s family across the earth through adoption of many sons.

So this final Old Testament glimpse of Jesus in fact points us to the next glimpse of Jesus. But this next glimpse would be more than a glimpse. The next glimpse would be a call, a signpost, a pointer, an identifier, a voice crying out to people to get ready for a full view of the Promised One.

Everything was now set up. Everything was ready to go. The signs had been given. The prophets had spoken. The patterns had been laid out. The men and women of faith had looked and seen. Century after century of hints, glimmers, shadows, clues and promises were over.

Next would come the unveiling.

And so history paused….waiting for the moment….

‘But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons’ (Galatians 4:5,6).

Further reading:    John 1:1-34      Galatians 4:1-7       Titus 2:11-14

Worship video:
 



To think about:
John the Baptiser pointed to Jesus. How does your life point to Jesus? Does the atmosphere change when you walk into a room?

Creative Response:
Artwork by Crystal Stine


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.
         
 

The Return of the King

Zechariah 9:8-10

Conquering kings arrive on great stallions. Conquering kings arrive with pomp and fanfare. Conquering kings arrive followed by an army with banners, flags and news of victory. Conquering kings arrive having vanquished the enemy and ready to take the plaudits and honour which accompany the making of history.

Not so this king!

In this prophecy Zechariah describes how the enemy will be beaten (vv1-7) and how God Himself will surround His people to prevent further oppression (v8). The capital city, Jerusalem, will rejoice and be filled with shouts of triumph (v9), as would be expected for the return of the king.

However, this king looks different. Instead of a mighty horse, He will ride a donkey. Instead of the external signs of victory such as royal clothes and crowns, He is marked out by the internal qualities of humility and justice (v9). Instead of bringing a trail of conquered prisoners, He brings salvation.

This humble king may arrive on a lowly donkey but He ushers in a large kingdom ‘from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth’ (v10) which will be marked out by peace to all nations.

This scene would have appeared farfetched to Zechariah’s listeners but it did actually happen! All four gospel authors write of the account of Jesus’ triumphal entry when He, the King of Kings, entered Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey. The crowds acclaimed Him as a victorious king who is blessed by God shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!’ (see Mark 11:9,10).

As that procession into Jerusalem happened very few people would have recalled the words Zechariah followed with in verse 11. The prophecy talks about this being fulfilled with the ‘blood of the covenant’ (v11) which again brings the cross into view. We know that this triumphal King on a donkey would end up crucified just one short week later.

Further reading:        Luke 19:28-40

Worship video:
 


To think about:
Jesus is the king! His kingship is one which looks different from the power and might of the world. Try to describe what Jesus the king means to you.

Creative Response:
Journal page by Bernice


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.


         
 

The King in the midst of his people

Zephaniah 3:8-20

The book of Zephaniah is about judgement and, like many prophecies relating to this theme, it is not comfortable reading. The book climaxes with the appearing of the King who judges the evil which has been done and leaves a humble and lowly people who will take refuge in the name of the Lord (v12). This people have some characteristics which lead us to think about their King.

The first characteristic of this people is holiness. They will have purified lips (v9) with which they will call on the name of the Lord. They will ‘serve Him shoulder to shoulder’ (v9) indicating a total commitment to His cause. Not only that but they will also ‘feel no shame because of all your deeds…for I will remove them from your midst’ (v11). In addition, this remnant will ‘do no wrong and tell no lies’ (v13).

The second characteristic is joy. The people will shout for joy in triumph and will rejoice and exult with all their heart (v14). The reason for this joy is threefold: firstly, salvation both from judgment and their enemies (v15a), secondly, the clearing away of enemies (v15b), and thirdly, security because ‘the King of Israel is in your midst’ and so they have no need to fear anymore (v15c).

The third characteristic is restoration. It is interesting to note that this people will include the lame and the outcast (v19). It seems that the King is not in the business of restoring the fortunes of the elite but instead will take those who are ashamed and bring them praise and renown (v19). And the praise and renown is ‘in all the earth’ (v19). God doesn’t do things in half measure!

The fourth characteristic is the presence of the King. Twice it is promised that the King will be in the midst of His people (vv15, 17) giving flashbacks to the idea of the Tabernacle and God dwelling amongst His people. But the King will be among them as a mighty warrior who also sings quietly over them with His love and rejoices over them with shouts of joy.

This paints a beautiful picture of the aim of Jesus’ work. He came to seek and save the lost. He came to restore the fortunes of many. He came to bring freedom from sin and create a holy people. And He came so that He could dwell among His people in victory and joy so they could be a people who enjoy His presence.

Further reading:       1 Peter 2:4-12

Worship video:
 

To think about:
To what extent would you say that these four characteristics are present in your life? Ask the Holy Spirit for help in developing these characteristics.

Creative Response:
Journal page by Bernice


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.
         
 

'This One will be our peace'

Micah 5:5a

Following on directly from our considerations of Micah 5:1-5a  in the previous post, the final phrase of that prophecy is worth a little more consideration.

As we discovered last time the references back to the greatest king Israel ever had, King David, are clear in the passage. The birthplace is the same (1 Samuel 16:1-13). The image of the king as shepherd of the nation is the same (see Psalm 78:70-72). The leading out of strength in God is the same (see 1 Samuel 30:6).

However, there are some differences. The extent of the kingdom will be greater than David’s as it will reach to the ends of the earth (v4). But most crucially this king, in contrast to David, will be their peace. David had wanted to build a temple for God but God had told him not too as he had shed so much blood and it would be his son who would reign in peace who would build it (see 1 Chronicles 22:8,9).

The king Micah describes in this prophecy is instead characterised by peace. Note, though, how this king is not described. He is not described as being a peaceful king, or a king who brings peace, or as a king who oversees a peaceful time. Instead the King is described as being our peace. It is the King Himself who is the peace.

In Ephesians 2 Paul helpfully makes this explicit for us:
‘But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace…’ (vv13, 14a)

He goes on to say that Jesus preached peace to all those who were near and far off and that we now through Him all have access in one Spirit to the Father (vv17,18), and that He has made peace through the blood of His cross (see Colossians 1:20).

We have peace with God because Jesus Himself is our peace. A king born into the obscurity of Bethlehem has the mission of reconciling the world back to God. He can only do it because He Himself is our peace:
‘This One will be our peace’

Further reading:      Ephesians 2:11-18        Colossians 1:20

Worship video:
 
 
 

To think about:
As with most things to do with the Kingdom of God our thinking is turned upside down. Jesus IS our peace – he isn’t bringing peace. Asking Jesus to be our Saviour means we have that peace living inside us. How does this peace manifest itself in your life? How can you model peace to those you meet?

Creative Response:
Journal page by Bernice

Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

         
 
 
   
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