In our last post, we saw the big story of the Old Testament through the lens of 11 key verses. As we turn to the New Testament, we find that Jesus is the One through whom all these promises find fulfillment.
1. Mark 1:14-15
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Imagine for a moment that you were a faithful Jew living in Galilee at the end of the “B.C.” era. It had been hundreds of years since the last of the OT prophets was on the scene. You would have known God’s covenant promises well. But you would have been waiting . . . until you heard about John the Baptist, proclaiming that the times of fulfillment were near.
After John was arrested, you head of this young man Jesus, the promised “Messiah.” Traveling out to hear him, you would have heard this simple message: the time is fulfilled. The kingdom had come, and the proper response was to repent and believe the good news — that is, believe that in Jesus, God’s promises were being fulfilled!
2. John 19:30
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Jesus spent about three years proclaiming the arrival of God’s kingdom in and through his ministry and calling his audience to believe in him. But he was betrayed by the religious leaders because they could not see that he fulfilled the Law and Prophets. So he was executed on a Roman cross.
In his crucifixion, however, he was the final and full sacrifice for sin. He was the suffering servant who bore the iniquity of all God’s people. He was the true Passover Lamb who died so others might live.
So as he hung on the cross, he was able to say, “It is finished.” The sacrifices of the Mosaic Law, the plan of redemption, and the power of sin and death were all finished when Jesus went to the cross for our sin.
3. Romans 1:3-4
Concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
But Jesus did not stay in the grave. Three days later, he rose from the dead, appeared to his followers for 40 days, and then ascended to his Father. And the message of his kingdom began to spread to the nations — so that all the families of the earth would be blessed through the true seed of Abraham.
God called Paul, a former persecutor of God’s people, to take that message to the nations. Paul wrote to the church in Rome, the capital of the Gentile world, about the fulfillment of God’s promises in Jesus. In Romans 1, he says the Spirit gave life, just as Ezekiel’s prophecy said he would. This begins with Jesus, raised from the grave as the “firstfruit” of the resurrection.
He is the true offspring of David, who will reign forever over God’s people. So Jesus is the One through whom all of these promises find fulfillment, first in his sacrificial death for sin and then in his victorious resurrection and reign as King.
4. Romans 3:21-26
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
As Paul continued to unpack the way Jesus fulfilled the OT promises and plan, we see that he was the necessary and just payment for sin. In Romans 3, Paul explains what it means for the Law and Prophets to bear witness to God’s righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus.
In short, all people, Jew or Gentile, are under the condemnation that sin brings, but all people can be justified in the same way — only by trusting that Jesus is the one in whom the redemptive plan of God finds it fulfillment.
In the OT era, God “passed over” former sins because there was a greater sacrifice coming, one that would show how God both takes sin and its consequences seriously while also providing a gracious way to pay the debt of sin that each of us owes — in other words, so that he can be both just and justifier.
5. Revelation 21:1-4
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Paul and many others have labored to take the story of God’s saving plan to the nations around them. But they were looking forward in hope to the day when God would dwell with his people once again in the place that he would create for them.
This great story of the Bible will find its culmination when the redeemed from every tribe, tongue, and nation gather in the new creation to live with God forever. Until then, he has called us to jump in and proclaim the good news that God has kept his promise in the garden — the offspring of the woman, Jesus Christ, has defeated the serpent in the cross and resurrection, and he is calling the nations to turn from their sin and trust in him alone.
How is God calling you to step into this story?
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