What did the cross achieve? – Part 4

Today I am thinking about how the Jesus dying on the cross fulfilled the promises of the Old Testament.

Over the past few months I have become really excited about the Old Testament. Traditionally, I thought it was the boring bit of the bible that was irrelevant to us Christians. Recently however, I have changed my mind. I am growing to understand that God has spoken to us in all the scriptures and is telling us one story. Therefore, I have become convinced that to rightly understand the New Testament, we must all spend more time appreciating what the Old Testament is telling us. Reading only the New Testament is like only watching the last series of a TV show. Sure we can understand it, but not in the way as someone who has watched all the series.

So let’s take a step back and see the bible story unfolding, so that the final chapter really does feel exciting!

God made promises to…

  • Adam and Eve – we looked at this one on day 1, but to quickly recap even as God curses humanity for their disobedience, he states that someone will come that will be a wounded victor that destroys satan.
  • Abraham – This is a really big promise that most us will know about. God makes a promise to Abraham:

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:1-3)

Now we have narrowed down who is coming, someone who was a descendent of Abraham through whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed.

  • David – King David gets promises made to him by God as well:

When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me. Your throne shall be established for ever.’” (2 Sam. 7:12-17)

This promise has 2 levels and is talking about two people. The first is David’s son Solomon, Solomon becomes King after David dies, and goes on to build a temple in Jerusalem (establishing a house for God). Solomon also has a great Kingdom which prospers (I will establish his Kingdom), and when Solomon sins God speaks to him and disciplines him. However on another level this promise is about someone else with a far bigger plan, someone who’s throne lasts forever.

God made prophecies 

Not only did God promise someone but he sent lots of prophecies concerning that person, what he would do, who he was, many of the details of his life were explained to the Jews beforehand, we looked at Isaiah on day 1.

There are some great websites that will list the messianic prophecies so I won’t go into details here, but check them out for yourself:

https://bible.org/article/messianic-prophecies

https://jewsforjesus.org/answers/top-40-most-helpful-messianic-prophecies/

Jesus as the fulfilment of the expectations built up over the OT

Jesus fulfils these promises in the Old Testament on the cross. Through his death, the Abrahamic promise was fulfilled, as Gentiles and Jews are now able to be reconciled to God, through belief in Jesus.

Through Jesus’ death he also established a kingdom that is eternal. He built a house for His name in His people the church, so that he dwelled in them, through the Holy Spirit.

I find the hardest day of Holy Week for me is Maundy Thursday, when I read the account of Jesus in the garden. Jesus is torn. What I have begun to realise is that, yes, Jesus knows he has to go to the cross to achieve salvation for humanity, and he does this willingly. But if Jesus does not go to the cross, instead he backs out at this point, we would have one of two options.

He was not the Messiah, as he would have left a whole raft of prophecies and promises unfulfilled. His divinity means that his goals are God’s goals, and God’s goals are clearly laid out in the Old Testament. We can identify Jesus as the messiah through his choices, and his actions, as we see him doing all that was promised. So promises unfulfilled means he is not the messiah.

The other option is that he was God and the messiah, but that God wasn’t trustworthy and didn’t keep his promises. This would have made God less than perfect, and therefore not God.

By looking at what would have happened if he didn’t fulfil scripture we can rejoice fully knowing that he has.

Prayers for today

Thank you Lord that you are a trustworthy God who keeps his promises. Help me to understand that, because I can see you kept all the promises in the Old Testament, I should be encouraged and assured that you will keep all the promises you give to me. Help me to rejoice in the fact that Jesus’ death, achieved the goal that the whole Old Testament points to. Keep me living in light of the promise of His return.

(All scripture quoted from English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

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