Some Christians read the Old Testament and wonder "what's in it for me?" Many passages are difficult to understand; some are lists of descendants, kings, tribes, and ancient rules and regulations. There are even some who believe that the Old Testament has been replaced by the New Testament--that the Hebrew Bible is, in fact, irrelevant for contemporary Christians. In truth, understanding the concept of the savior as reflected in the Old Testament is essential for understanding the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, and the gospel he proclaimed.
Remember that the earliest Christians had no New Testament. When they spoke of "the Scriptures" they meant those of the Hebrew Bible. The Jews of Jesus' time knew the content of the Old Testament so well that many could quote major portions of it. When Jesus said or did things that recalled the Old Testament, they recognized it. Because of this, when the writers of the New Testament wrote about Jesus, they turned to the Hebrew Bible to help them describe the significance of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.
In this three-session study for adults, we will look at three ways the Old Testament helps us to understand Jesus. Session one considers the Old Testament titles of Jesus (Christ/Messiah, Son of God, Son of Man, Redeemer). How did the Hebrews choose to refer to a savior who did not yet exist and what did their nomenclature suggest about their understating of him? The second session examines the roles that prophets, priests, and kings played in the life of the Hebrew people, and considers how Jesus functions in these same ways in the lives of Christian people. The third session discusses Old Testament images of Jesus. Throughout the three sessions, participants will see how the Old Testament can enhance our understanding of Jesus.