There are many reasons why we fail to see Jesus on every page, as David Murray so aptly puts it. Let me just suggest a few pitfalls to avoid to help us on our way. Bless you all as we journey together as hungry pilgrims along the ascending route of Messianic insight to greater glimpses of God's Christ.
Natural human minds, unaided by God’s light, are slow and dull to perceive Christ’s Old Testament face: this is precisely what Jesus indicated near Emmaus when he opened heart-burning truth to Cleopas and companion. Lk 24:25-27 says:
Luke. 24:25-27 says “And he said to them, "O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
We cut up Scripture wrongly and mangle Paul’s injunction. “Rightly dividing the Word of Truth”, in the KJV, is not a kitchen-cutting term “slice and dice” but a road-construction phrase “cutting a straight path.”
Timothy 2:15 says “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
All of the Bible is one long Covenant river which springs from the promise in Genesis 3:15, flows on to Noah (global), Abraham (familial), Moses (national), David (royal), before opening out in the New Testament mouth-of-the-Amazon, full-flowering, Covenant in Christ (fulfilment).
You won’t see Christ’s face without the Holy Spirit’s help. Kneel before the Father. Ask Christ to send His Spirit. Pray for eyes wide-open that see wonders in the Law (the Hebrew word Torah means instruction). It is by this same method that you will need to pray truth in - earnest, panting, prayer is the path to profit from such light.
It’s tempting to move too fast to find Christ in a passage. Christ is often claimed to be seen when not present in the text. He is often declared to appear in ways foreign to the context or in some unconvincing, incidental, detail. We must put in hard yards to find the true, original, plain sense-in-context. Not sloppy but only diligent workmen are approved. It is when we do long leg-work in the Law that we adore the Old Testament brightness of the countenance our our Lord.
We prize Sunday School teachers who instill truth in youth and who by shining example recommend Christ - rightly so! It can be counterproductive if Scripture only functions as good stories or is reduced to character studies (even if such studies are cherished).
New Testament writers often cite the Old Testament in ways that can strike us as a bit odd at first. Don’t give up. Study texts in context. Use good books as friends. Commentaries that point to Christ are sadly far too rare. If in doubt, or without other help, remember the Bible is best - the Sola Scriptura can be trusted.
Jesus is missed if we shrink his Name to small. See macroscopic not microscopic observations of Messiah! Seek natures divine & human; offices prophet, priest & king; works of creation, providence & redemption; traits of grace, power, holiness & wisdom; our Lord's ordered government of both kingdoms of church & state; suddenly you’ll see the God-Man Mediator; every Kirk Douglas-like Old Testament text will shout out “I’m Spartacus!”
Many come to the text not expecting a glimpse of God’s Son. Rectify these mistakes! Pray for 20/20-Messiah sight! Expect the Spirit to shine and burn inside your heart. Progressively increasing glory will beam upon your face as you behold the magnificent radiant revelation of divine glory in the being, person, work and character of Christ.
2 Cor. 3:16-18 “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. “
Luke 24:32 reminds us:
They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
This is just for starters - there are other things we do that tend to obfuscate - but these little hints, by grace, should help blow away some fog! Pray to see Jesus. Ask for clearer vistas and panoramas of Glory. Seek divine heartburn as the Saviour is seen in Law, Prophets and the Psalms. May the LORD bless us all as the light of the Spirit provides colour, contour and texture in the wonderful face of Messiah in Old Testament Scripture. As rays light up our faces may we share God's sunshine with others.
Then we will lament, how on dry off-days, we do not see or show Christ just as bright in all of Scripture. In your mercy, Lord Jesus, shine, shine, shine!