Summary: Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the things predicted in the Old Testament and our union with Him is the hope of our life.
In Second Timothy 4:2 Paul tells Timothy to “preach the word.”
Acts 17:11 tells us that the Bereans “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
In Colossians 4:3 Paul asks for prayer “that God will open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ.”
When we put these together we find that the Old Testament is a book about Christ. It’s a precursor to His coming. John’s gospel was written with this intent. He wants to show us that Jesus is the Christ. He’s the one who was promised. Therefore he tells us about the time Jesus gave the people plenty to eat. They wanted more and they wanted to make Him a king, but Jesus refused both. He didn’t come to satisfy earthly needs or take over an earthly kingdom. He came to do the will of the Father and that meant finding the lost sheep of Israel. It meant opening the eyes and ears of His disciples so they could see the Scriptures and hear the word and put it all together. Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah and the Passover Lamb. He is the only way to God and the fulfillment of all the ceremonies and symbols that had been given before. Anyone who belongs to God, the true elect nation of Israel, will see this and believe because we are taught by God:
Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. 47Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
The emphasis here is on “He that believes on me” and it answers how men are taught by God. No one has seen the Father, so how can He be their teacher? Some people saw Christ but only very few in history. What about you and me? How are we taught by God? Does this mean we have visions or special revelations? Does it mean we sit quietly waiting for a small voice?
Think about what Paul told Timothy: “preach the word.” What word was he preaching? It must have been the good news and glad tidings of the coming of the Messiah! It had to be something that the Gentile churches could understand, but the Bereans searched the Jewish Scriptures to see if what was being taught had actually been shown. And we must also think with this way. The Old Testament isn’t just the old way of doing things: it is the revelation of Jesus Christ!
It wasn’t made less applicable because the curtain was thrown back and Jesus was identified; it still serves the same purpose in showing how salvation works and why God keeps His word. It points us to Christ. And this is why He says, “He that believes on me.”
The Jews thought the ceremonies and articles of Moses were the means to salvation. They thought Jewishness and faithful observance was the way to God. They failed to see that the Scriptures preached Christ and when He came they rejected Him.
Of course to do this was to reject the Father and to embrace death:
48I am that bread of life. 49Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever:
Notice how he changes from “bread of life” to “living bread.” He’s not just bread that gives life; He is bread that is living! This is an important point because He’s about to start talking about union:
and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Of course this brings to mind the cross. His death fulfilled the sacrifice of the Passover lamb; He was the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29). But the Jews didn’t understand:
52The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.