Loving Jesus in the Old Testament

by Robin Kim | Nov 5, 2018 | Articles

I’ve read the beloved Jesus Storybook Bible to my children countless times, but nothing has helped me see Jesus in every book of the Bible like Nancy Guthrie’s study series, Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament. The glory of Christ truly exists from cover to cover.

Consider the appearance of Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:5. David writes, “He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze.”

The NIV and CSB translations interpret “coat of mail” as “scale armor.” Goliath stepped onto the battlefield covered in what looked like snakeskin from head to toe. As Guthrie puts it, he’s like a nine-foot-tall serpent. Yet, through David, we see a beautiful foreshadowing of how Jesus crushes Satan and fulfills God’s promise in Genesis 3:15.

But there’s more! There are many more ways David foreshadows Jesus as our champion:

  • Everyone, including his own family, perceived David as inadequate. Jesus too was not the mighty ruler the Jews anticipated and was rejected by his own hometown (1 Sam. 16:11; Luke 4:14-30).
  • The Spirit rushed upon David when Samuel anointed him, just as the Spirit’s power anointed Jesus at his baptism (1 Sam. 16:13; Matt. 3:13-17).
  • David’s father sent him to his brothers in the battlefield, and Jesus’s Father sent him to us in our world (1 Sam. 17:17; John 3:16-17).
  • David was rejected and mocked by those he saved; Jesus was rejected and mocked by those he came to save (1 Sam. 17:28; John 1:11).
  • David stood before Goliath confident of God’s victory, and Jesus stood before death confident of his victory (1 Sam. 17:37; John 11:25).
  • God alone was with David when he faced Goliath, just as the Father alone was with Jesus when his followers abandoned him (1 Sam. 17:40, 45; Mark 14:50).
  • The sword intended to kill David actually destroyed Goliath; what authorities used to shame Jesus actually shamed them (1 Sam 17:50-51; Col. 2:15).
  • David delivered the Israelites from lifelong slavery to the Philistines, and Jesus delivered us from lifelong slavery to sin (1 Sam. 17:9, 52; 1 John 5:4-5).

The story of David and Goliath showcases God’s faithfulness and power. We can learn from David’s example of trusting God’s promises, standing passionately for God’s supremacy, and having faith in God’s victory. However, when I look for Jesus in this beautiful story, I realize I identify less with David and more with the Israelites.

Like the Israelites, my efforts to fill the throne of my life have failed. Just as a shepherd boy from Bethlehem claimed victory for them, my good shepherd born in Bethlehem is my champion and does what I cannot do. I would be a slave to death were it not for Jesus defeating the Goliath of death.

Looking for Jesus in the Old Testament showcases he is before all things, and in him, all things hold together (Col 1:17). Can you imagine the disciples’ awe when Jesus, “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27)? We didn’t have the privilege of standing with Jesus on that road to hear him exposit Scripture, but unlike the disciples, we get to read God’s entire Word through the lens of already knowing the fulfillment of God’s promised one. He is in every book.

I am eager to continue the search for Jesus in the Old Testament, for as I see him in every page, my heart grows to love him more.