The Big Story of the Bible, Part 10 - Chapter 9: Fulfillment
November 3, 2022 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
Jesus is the center of the Bible. Jesus is the focus of the Bible. Jesus is the thread that ties the Bible all together. Whether we read the Old Testament or the New Testament, we rightly ask how this passage reveals Jesus. This is because the Bible tells the story of God’s covenant of redemption. This plan of redemption was established before Genesis 1:1 ever occurred. And the plan of redemption centers on the Redeemer. We cannot read the story of the Bible detached from God’s covenant of redemption.
So we finally come to Jesus in the Big Story of the Bible, even though Jesus has been integrally involved in every chapter so far. Chapter 9 of the Big Story is Fulfillment. The gospel writer Matthew keys in on this word when he repeatedly says, “this was to fulfill what was written…” The Old Testament gives us many promises related to the blessings of God’s covenant. And all those promises find their “yes” in Jesus (2 Cor. 1:20).
Chapters 1-8 of the Big Story of the Bible have led to this moment. Jesus says in John 17:4 that he fulfills the covenant of redemption made with the Father before the foundation of the world. He says, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” Then he explains to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus that everything in the Old Testament pointed ahead to him. We read in Luke 24:27, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Jesus even speaks about fulfillment later in the chapter when he says, “Everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
The apostle Paul strikes on this same theme of fulfillment in his letter to the Galatians. He applies the promise of Genesis 12:3 to Jesus when he says, “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed’” (3:8). The Holy Spirit inspired apostle teaches us to read the Old Testament looking for Jesus. Later in Galatians 3, Paul explains how all the nations are blessed in Jesus. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us… so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”
What Paul is saying is that when God promised to bless Abram in Genesis 12 and through Abram to bless all the families of the earth, God was promising that his only Son would die for the sins of the world. Jesus would be the satisfaction of God’s wrath due our sin. That is the promised blessing in Genesis 12:3. The gift of the Spirit is confirmation that our sins are forgiven, and we are reconciled to our Heavenly Father. Redemption is accomplished and applied.
But I’m getting ahead of myself now. Chapter 10 is called Application, which focuses on how the Spirit applies the work Jesus accomplishes. For now, I want us to know that when we read the four Gospels in our Bibles, they are intricately tied to the Old Testament. In fact, the more we understand the story of the Old Testament, the richer our appreciation and wonder will be when we read of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. We cannot extract Jesus from the Big Story of the Bible, because he is the main character and plot line in the entire story. This chapter in the Big Story, Fulfillment, is the thread that ties the entire story into a unity.