By Micah Carter
At the start of 2012, I managed to stumble across a number of “read through the Bible” plans that caught my attention. One of those plans was to read the entire Bible in 90 days. I thought: Whoa! The idea seemed daunting, but also intriguing, so I decided to tackle the plan. (I’m happy to report “so far, so good” on my progress nearly 20 days in.)
Reading huge chunks of Scripture at a time has allowed me to see the text with a wide-angle lens instead of a microscopic view. And the more I see of the big picture within the Bible, the more I’m convinced that it’s all about Jesus.
One verse that stopped me in my tracks early on was Exodus 17:6: “I am going to stand there in front of you on the rock at Horeb; when you hit the rock, water will come out of it and the people will drink.”
Seems like an obscure verse, right? But it’s powerful. And it’s powerfully illustrative of Christ.
A Look at the Israelites
Through Moses, Yahweh delivered the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. You’d think that freedom from bondage would be grounds for consistent gratitude, but not so with the Israelites. Instead, we read time after time that they grumbled against Moses (and God) whenever water was short or food wasn’t satisfying enough.
Even so, God always provided for them, even when they didn’t deserve it. He instructed Moses to hit the rock and see the water flow that would satisfy the thirst of the people.
Do you see Jesus in the picture yet? If not, don’t worry – we get a little help from the New Testament writers.
For example, the apostle Paul refers to this wilderness event in 1 Corinthians 10:4, and he directly says that the rock Moses struck was Jesus! What?
Here’s the full context (verses 1-4): “Now I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.”
Beautiful. God said he would stand on the rock, take the blow, and produce thirst-quenching, life-giving water.
Do we not hear this obscure verse behind the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John 4, when He identified Himself as “living water” that satisfies and brings eternal life? Even more pointedly, Jesus said in John 7:37, “If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink!” Aren’t we driven to worship to think that as He was pierced on the cross, blood and water flowed from His side?
A Look at Us
Here’s why it’s all about Jesus (and not Moses or anyone else). Through Jesus, God delivered us from slavery to sin, death, and Satan. You’d think freedom from that bondage would be grounds for consistent gratitude, but not so with us. Instead, we grumble whenever we’re not satisfied with everything that is not Christ.
And yet, God always provides for us, even when – especially when – we don’t deserve it. And he satisfies us with and through Jesus. We should be thankful our Rock was struck (or better, pierced) for us, so that His living water might satisfy our spiritual thirst.
It really is all about Jesus Christ.
From beginning to end, the obvious and the hidden, the big and the small, every nook and cranny in the Bible is about Jesus. Truly, “All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him” (Colossians 2:3). Paul is convinced that everything that came before us in the Old Testament is a shadow, but the true substance is in Christ (Colossians 2:17). To explore this idea further, take some time to read and think about Luke 24:25-27, 44-45 and John 5:39, 46.
B. B. Warfield once famously said that the Old Testament is “a richly furnished but dimly lit room.” Only when the light is switched on in the New Testament do we see the glory of the room and its contents – and Christ is all in all. It’s really all about Jesus.
Micah Carter is the editorial project leader for Threads.