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. (Luke 24:44)
In this verse, we receive from Christ an important teaching: That the Old Testament Scriptures point to him and to his saving work for man. He points out the law of moses, the prophets, and the psalms. Two points become important to mention here. The errors of Marcion – who believed the Old Testament taught of a different God than the New – are herein rejected by this express statement from Christ.
If the Old Testament Scriptures are uncomfortable for you, you must ask yourself a few questions:
1) What did Christ appeal to when being tempted by Satan? When instructing the people of Israel? When teaching of himself and his work?
2) Who was it that inspired those Scriptures? Who is “The word become flesh?”
In what way do the Scriptures point to Christ?
In the Bible, a hermeneutic principle that is vital to understanding the Old and New Testaments is that of typology. Essentially, what this means is that we see “types” throughout the Old Testament. We see persons, events, places, that point to the work that Christ would eventually come to do. The writers of the New Testament constantly appealed to the Old Testament Scriptures that revealed Christ. Irenaeus, an early church father writing writing in the second century AD, appealed to many types throughout the Old Testament pointing to Christ in his work On The Apostolic Preaching.
An important principle related to typology is that the antitype is greater than the type. The antitype is the “thing” which the type fulfills. Thus, whenever we look to Scripture to see how the Old Testament and the New are related, we must remember that whatever fulfills the type is greater than what came before, not equal to or lesser than.
Did the Apostles recognize that the Scriptures pointed to Christ?
Yes. Following his resurrection, Christ taught the disciples that he fulfilled the types and shadows of the Old Covenant. Matthew Henry on this point says this:
See in what various ways of writing God did of old reveal his will; but all proceeded from one and the self-same Spirit, who by them gave notice of the coming and kingdom of the Messiah; for to him bore all the prophets witness. (3.) By an immediate present work upon their minds, of which they themselves could not but be sensible, he gave them to apprehend the true intent and meaning of the Old-Testament prophecies of Christ, and to see them all fulfilled in him: Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, v. 45. In his discourse with the two disciples he took the veil from off the text, by opening the scriptures; here he took the veil from off the heart, by opening the mind. Observe here, [1.] That Jesus Christ by his Spirit operates on the minds of men, on the minds of all that are his. He has access to our spirits, and can immediately influence them. It is observable how he did now after his resurrection give a specimen of those two great operations of his Spirit upon the spirits of men, his enlightening the intellectual faculties with a divine light, when he opened the understandings of his disciples, and his invigorating the active powers with a divine heat, when he made their hearts burn within them. [2.] Even good men need to have their understandings opened; for though they are not darkness, as they were by nature, yet in many things they are in the dark. David prays, Open mine eyes. Give me understanding. And Paul, who knows so much of Christ, sees his need to learn more. [3.] Christ’s way of working faith in the soul, and gaining the throne there, is by opening the understanding to discern the evidence of those things that are to be believed.