On the road to Emmaus, Jesus met Cleopas and another disciple and explained to them in Luke 24:44-45 that, everything written about him “in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” I’ve often thought how great that would have been to have been able to hear what Jesus had to say and have my mind opened to understand the Old Testament like that. But there are references enough from Jesus and the writers of the New Testament to know that Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection will be the most significant themes he discussed. Warren Gage argues, “The third day passages are widely distributed throughout Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms (Writings), a distribution which satisfies the canonical claim of Jesus. We can therefore be fairly certain that the Emmaus conversation targeted these passages in the Lord’s explanation of the necessity of his suffering prior to his glory.”1

Is it really an appropriate hermeneutic (approach to interpreting the Bible) to understand the Old Testament as being primarily the message of God’s promised deliverance of man from the Sin that would be ultimately fulfilled in Jesus on the cross? The Bible contains much wisdom for our daily lives in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. There is the history of Israel from Abraham to the birth of Jesus. There are stories about characters who have fascinating life experiences for our benefit but don’t all these things have a more significant meaning? Jesus understood much of all three parts of the Scriptures to be about himself. When the religious leaders asked for a sign from Jesus to prove that he was indeed the Messiah, Jesus told them in Matthew 12:40 there was only one sign that he would give them and he pulled that sign out of the Old Testament and said, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Opening the mind to understand the Bible is the see Jesus as the subject of the whole thing! The resurrection of Jonah from the belly of the great fish is about Jesus. When we read Psalm 16 where the writer says that God will not let his anointed one undergo decay, he’s referring to the necessity of Jesus resurrection on the third day. It’s about Jesus. When Moses speaks to the people in Deuteronomy 18:15 saying “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen” he is speaking about Jesus. When we see the many, many references about Jesus in the Old Testament Scriptures we understand that Jesus is the “Word” from God to us all. Our minds have been opened. We will experience what the two disciples on the road to Emmaus experienced when they said, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

1 Warren Austin Gage, Milestones to Emmaus: The Third Day Resurrection in the Old Testament (Fort Lauderdale, FL: Warren A. Gage, 2011), 4.