Yesterday Bill, David, Joe and I sat down to discuss the significance of Luke 24:44. This is one of my favorite verses in the NT. Join the discussion by leaving a comment.
Understanding the Depth of Luke 24:44 as it Relates to Christ in the Old Testament
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
The significance of Luke 24:44 cannot be overstated. In this statement, Jesus is either a liar or He is the central figure of the majority of the prophecies found in the Old Testament.
The inclusion of the word “fulfilled” lets us know that Luke is referencing prophecy. Prophecies are fulfilled through Jesus. Notice the words “must be.” These words are foundational. He did not say “may be.” He said “must be.” The Sovereign God of the Universe is assuring that all that was prophesied of the coming Messiah either has been or will be fulfilled.
Notice that at a minimum Jesus is making reference to 5 plus 17 plus 1 or 23 OT books. Of course, if Psalms is more than just the book of Psalms then Jesus could be referring to the number of songs Israel sang about the coming Messiah. Therefore, books like Song of Solomon, as well as songs found in the historical books, could also be included in making the scope of His statement even more significant.
Think about the promises that are found in the law concerning Jesus. We can start with the promise found in Genesis 3:15 and move forward. In Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18, specific references are made to God sending a Prophet. Stephen understood this promise to be Jesus.
Referring to Jesus, He said, “This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.”
Seventeen prophetical books, five major and twelve minor, all contain prophecies about Jesus. Certainly, one of the most importance chapters of prophecy concerning Christ is found in Isaiah 53 where Jesus, the suffering servant, atones for the sins of the world.
A famous example of a minor prophet’s reference to Jesus would be Micah’s reference to the birthplace of Jesus.
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Micah 5:2 is incredible in its depth. A ruler from the tribe of Judah, from everlasting, as in preexisting, will be born in Bethlehem. Of course, this is Jesus.
Stephen, Peter, Paul, and others all expected the Jews to recognize that they had made a colossal mistake in crucifying the Messiah. Yet, they also understood this was God’s predetermined will.
Of course, there are so many more prophecies found in the seventeen prophetical books—hundreds upon hundreds, and I would be remiss if I did not mention Isaiah 7:14 as one of the most crucial.
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
In addition, Malachi 3:1 predicts that God would send a forerunner before Jesus who we now know to be John the Baptist.
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
Finally, the Psalms are filled with references to Christ. Think about Psalm 22.
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
But, perhaps the most significant of all is Psalm 110.
The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.
Again, Stephen (in Acts 7) and the author of Hebrews (throughout the letter), both provide commentary on this passage for us. Both make it clear that Jesus of Nazareth is the man (God-man) who is being referenced in this prophecy of a priest after the order of Melchizedek who sits on the right hand of the Lord, as both a priest interceding and a king awaiting his kingdom.
It is critical that the student of the Old Testament recognize that the Old Testament was written with Christ in mind from the beginning to the end.