on 21 August 2013
In September 2012, Harvard historian Karen King unveiled her discovery to an unsuspecting world: she had uncovered a credit card sized fragment of a papyrus manuscript, which she named The Gospel of Jesus' Wife. It seems like every few years a new document is discovered with new information about Jesus and his life. In his wisdom, God gave his people detailed accounts of the life and works of Jesus Christ in the gospels. Another document with information about Jesus' life and ministry, like a new novel in a best selling series, would make excellent supplemental reading material. What if such a document actually existed? As a matter of fact, thirty-eight of them exist and you likely have them nearby.
David Murray is a Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. In Jesus on Every Page, he will become your guide as he presents the reader with ten paths, or ways for experiencing Jesus in the Old Testament.
And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)
In Luke 24 we read the account of two of Jesus' followers on the road to Emmaus. They are downcast with the events of crucifixion and are confused in their understanding of what sort of a Messiah he was. They clearly didn't understand what Jesus was about. As they are walking on the road to Emmaus, Jesus draws alongside and teaches them how all the Old Testament Scriptures revealed him.
The aim of Jesus on Every Page is to help us, like these two followers of Jesus on the road to Emmaus, to clearly see Jesus Christ in all the Old Testament. Furthermore, to see Jesus Christ as at the centre of all Scripture. David shares his own road to Emmaus experience with the reader as the book progresses.
This is a book of two parts. In part one, David begins with a careful consideration of how Abraham would have understood the good news of what God promises in Genesis 12:1-3, and what this would have meant to him on top of God's previous promises in Genesis 3:15. David shares that in his own journey, the light of Jesus in the Old Testament gradually became brighter and brighter. In four chapters he shows us how Jesus, Peter, Paul and John viewed the Old Testament scriptures. David shows his skill as a scholar and unlocks the Old Testament for us. As he says on page 40, "the consistent message of Christ and His apostles is that the Old Testament is all about Christ and His gracious salvation."
Now that this foundation has been laid, in the second part of Jesus on Every Page, David draws alongside us and continues to be our guide on our own journey. This second part of the book is comprised of ten chapters where he presents us with ten methods to discover Jesus in the Old Testament: in creation, through various characters, appearance of the pre-incarnate Jesus, the Law, Israel's history, the prophets, types, the covenants, and through the literary genres of proverbs and poetry.
One of the many chapters I enjoyed reading was chapter 7, which is like a gateway into the second part of the book. David writes about the Christ-centeredness of the creation account in Genesis 1-2 and encourages the reader to take a step back from the creation vs. evolution debate to view these first chapters within the overarching narrative of all Scripture. Who wrote this text? Moses. Who were the original readers? God's people - the children of Israel. What situation were they in? God had delivered them from Egypt through his chosen rescuer - Moses. David comes to the conclusion that the first chapters of Genesis, for the original audience, are not primarily about 6-day creation. Rather, they are about something with far greater significance. God's people took encouragement from this passage to look for a redeemer greater than Moses and deliverance greater than that from Egypt!
I think David kept one of his best chapters for last: discovering Jesus in the poetic genre of scripture, particularly with his handling of the Song of Solomon. The poetic genre is difficult for many of us because we don't read poetry well, or at all. David tells his readers to stop dissecting the poetic text of the Song of Solomon and treating it the way we would a theological discourse like a Pauline epistle, and encourages us start to feel the emotions the love poem evokes for this coming King of Love.
Jesus on Every Page is an accessible guide for the Christian and also of great value for the Bible student and the preacher alike. David writes with a straightforward and logical style and he makes good use of worked examples in some chapters. The book is well cross-referenced and draws you deeper into passages of Scripture. David also makes several useful suggestions for further reading, such as The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses by Vern Poythress.
In some chapters David does pack a great deal of good teaching in; but perhaps a bit too much in one or two instances. When reading the chapter on characters that pointed forward to Christ, or on how the Law revealed Jesus, I felt like I was trying to take a drink from a fire hose. The teaching comes thick and fast. These parts require you to shift gears and to re-read slowly and thoughtfully.
Through reading Jesus on Every Page I came to a better grasp of how the Old Testament teaches us about Jesus; and more appreciation for the place of the Old Testament in the overarching metanarrative of all Scripture. If you have read The Goldsworthy Trilogy by Graeme Goldsworthy, or God's Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts, you will thoroughly enjoy reading Jesus on Every Page. You should add this book to your reading list if you are a Bible student or preacher as it will open up the many and varied ways that Jesus appears in the Old Testament. For the same reason the Christian should also consider reading this to acquire the methods that David will teach you, so that you too can say the words of Philip: "We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." (John 1:45).