“Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (John 1:45)
In verse 43 we are told plainly that the Lord Jesus found Philip. But here in verse 45 Philip told Nathanael, “We have found the Messiah.” — Which is true? Did the Savior find Philip, or did Philip find him? — Yes! Without question, all who get Christ seek him. Seeking him with all our hearts, we find him (Jeremiah 29:13-14). Then, finding him, we discover that we began seeking him because he had found us by his grace. Knowing where Philip was, the Shepherd and Bishop of his soul, looked him up, found him out, and called him by his grace. When he was found of the Savior, he found the Savior.
“I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
He moved my soul to seek him, seeking me;
It was not I that found, O Saviour true,
No, I was found of thee.”
If we are saved, we are saved by the will of God our Savior; and we gladly acknowledge that to be the case (Romans 9:16; John 15:16).
I specifically want you to see that the Holy Spirit here reminds us again that the message of the Old Testament is the same as that of the New — Christ crucified. Many read the Bible as though it were two books: the old Bible and the new Bible. That is a serious mistake. The Word of God is one Book of Divine Revelation; and the message of the Book is one. It is the gospel of Christ. When Philip described Christ to Nathanael, he said, — “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (v. 45).
All the Old Testament speaks of just one “Him.” It speaks of just one man. Moses and the prophets had nothing to say about anything or anyone else. Perhaps you are thinking, “The Old Testament speaks about many people and many things: Adam, and Enoch, and Noah, and Abraham, creation, the nation of Israel, the Egyptian Bondage, the plagues, the Red Sea, the giving of the law, the judges, the kings, the Babylonian Captivity, etc.” Most people would agree with you. But here we are told that there is just one “Him” of whom Moses and the prophets wrote. This is confirmed in many places (Luke 24:27, 44-47; Acts 10:43).
Christ is the sum and substance of the Old Testament. The Apostle Paul asserts that Christ crucified is “all the counsel of God” (cf Acts 20:27 and 1 Corinthians 2:2). To him the earliest promises pointed in the days of Adam, Enoch, and Noah, and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. To him every sacrifice pointed in the ceremonial worship appointed at Mount Sinai. Of him every high priest was a type, every part of the tabernacle was a shadow, and every judge and deliverer of Israel was a picture.
If we read only that which was written by Moses in the books of the law, the Pentateuch, we would see the Christ everywhere in the first five Books of the Bible. He is set before us by Moses as the Seed of the woman, who must crush the serpent’s head, the Seed of Abraham, in whom all nations would be blessed, Shiloh to whom the gathering of the people would be, and the great Prophet, like Moses himself, God would raise up among the children of Israel, whom they would obey.
Not only is Christ crucified the message of Moses, he is the message of all the prophets. — “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write.” All the law and all the prophets spoke of him. They wrote of his birth of a virgin, the place of his birth, Bethlehem, his sufferings and the glory that should follow, his resurrection from the dead, his ascension to heaven, and mediatorial reign at the right hand of God, and asserted many things relating to his person, and office, and work.
The prophets described him plainly as the King of the house of David, who came to be David’s Lord as well as his son. He is the Lamb foretold by Isaiah — the righteous Branch mentioned by Jeremiah — the true Shepherd described by Ezekiel — the Messenger of the Covenant promised by Malachi — and the Messiah, who, according to Daniel, was to be cut off, not for himself, but for the people.
If you want to know who those saints of old trusted, just read the Old Testament. When Philip said to Nathanael, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write,” Nathanael knew immediately that Philip was saying, “Nathanael, we have found the Christ!” The Person they all saw afar off, on whom they all fixed their eyes, was one and the same Christ we trust and worship. The Spirit which was in them testified of Christ (1 Peter 1:11).
Do you find it difficult to see Christ in the Old Testament? Do I? If we do, the fault is all our own. It is our spiritual blindness and ignorance that is to blame, not the imaginary ambiguity of the Book. The eyes of our understanding need to be enlightened. The veil needs to be taken away. Let us pray as we open the Scriptures, “O Spirit of God, open this Book to my heart and open my heart to this Book. Take the things of Christ written upon these pages and show them to me.”
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