“Jesus is the HERO of the Bible. You and I are not! We’re the problem! There’s only ONE hero, and we (should) go to the Bible to find out about our Hero who SAVES us!” (Ray Ortlund, Jr.)
That is not how most of us read the Bible. We read it looking for ourselves or we read it looking for a “word” about what we are supposed to do that day. In reality, however, the Bible has a main point, and a main point Person. Just like other books are written about a single topic or theme, the Bible is written about JESUS the Messiah, and it should be read through the lens of the work of God throughout history to save us–sinful humanity.
Dr. Timothy Keller does a masterful job of taking the “characters” of the Bible and explains how their lives and stories point ultimately to the One who would be the fulfillment of all they, in part, accomplished. The Bible refers to them as the “shadows”; Christ is the “Substance” that they were pointing toward. Keller puts it this way:
- Jesus is the truer & better Adam who passed the test in the Garden (His garden, a much tougher garden) and whose obedience is imputed to us.
- Jesus is the truer & better Abel who though innocently slain has blood that cries out not for our condemnation but for our acquittal.
- Jesus is the truer & better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go into the world, into the void, not knowing where He went.
- Jesus is the truer & better Isaac who is not just offered up by His Father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us all. While God said to Abraham, “Now I know that you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love, from me;” Now we at the foot of the Cross can say to God, “now we know that you love me because You did not withhold Your Son, Your only Son, whom You love, for me.”
- Jesus is the truer & better Jacob who wrestled & took the blow of justice we deserve so that we like Jacob only receive the wounds of grace that wake us up & discipline us.
- Jesus is the truer and better Joseph who is at the right hand of the King and forgives those who betrayed & sold Him, and He uses His power to save them.
- Jesus is the truer & better Moses who stands in the gap between the people & the Lord and mediates the New Covenant.
- Jesus is the truer & better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert.
- Jesus is the truer & better Job, the TRULY innocent Sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.
- Jesus is the truer & better David whose victory becomes His peoples’ victory though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.
- Jesus is the truer & better Esther who didn’t just risk losing an earthly palace but lost the ultimate heavenly one, who didn’t just risk His life but GAVE His life-who didn’t just say “if I perish, I perish” but “WHEN I perish I’ll perish for them to save My people.
- Jesus is the truer & better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that the storm of God’s wrath could be calmed for us.
- He’s the real Passover Lamb. He’s the true Temple; the true Prophet, the true Priest; the True King; the true Sacrifice; the true Light; the true Bread.
Keller’s quote came from a sermon I listened to yesterday. If interested, you can watch it here.