Jesus is the better everything.
To get away from Christ is to get away from the divine crescendo of all of Scripture.
Among the most formative beliefs to which I’ve come to hold most dearly in the last several years is the conviction that every single page of Scripture finds its fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the center around which every story of Scripture revolves and finds its climax. He is the culmination of every historical narrative, the point of all prophecy, the true ideal of all poetry and wisdom. This conviction is more than just a fashionable tenet by which I aim to understand Scripture. Rather, it is the fundamental hermeneutic and dogmatic principle by which the faith makes sense.
Much like Jesus’s own testimony during the “best Bible study ever,” it is only with the conviction that your whole Bible is about him that we ever begin to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:44–45). This concept served as the essential premise for my very first sermon for the church where I pastor. Namely, that all Scripture is pure Christ.1 To get away from Christ, then, is to get away from the divine crescendo of it all. Jeff Vanderstelt, in his book, Gospel Fluency, echoes this sentiment2:
Jesus is the point of every story, the fulfillment of every longing, the completion of everything that is lacking. Every character, story, and theme points to him because the whole story is about him.
Indeed, this is Jesus’s own interpretation of his Father’s words. Everything points to him (Luke 24:27, 44–48; John 5:39; Acts 8:35). There is, perhaps, no better human declaration of this creed than the salient words of Tim Keller from his eponymous sermon, “What Is Gospel-Centered Ministry?” which he delivered at the 2007 TGC National conference.3 He asserts:
Jesus is the true and better Adam, who passed the test in the garden. His garden is a much tougher garden and his obedience is imputed to us.
Jesus is the true and better Abel, who, though innocently slain, has blood that cries out, not for our condemnation but for our acquittal.
Jesus is the true and better Abraham, who answers the call of God, who leaves all the familiar comforts of the world [to go] into the void, not knowing where he went.
Jesus is the true and better Isaac, who is not only offered by his father on the mount but who was truly sacrificed for us all.
Jesus is the true and better Jacob, who wrestled and took the blows of justice we deserve so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace that wake us up and disciple us.
Jesus is the true and better Joseph, who is at the right hand of the king, and forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his power to save them.
Jesus is the true and better Moses, who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and mediates the new covenant.
Jesus is the true and better rock of Moses, who, struck with rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert.
Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.
Jesus is the true and better David, whose victory becomes the people’s victory though they didn’t lift a stone to accomplish it themselves.
Jesus is the true and better Esther, who didn’t just risk losing an earthly palace but lost ultimately the heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life but gave his life, who didn’t say, “If I perish, I perish,” but, “When I perish, I will perish for them . . . to save my people.”
Jesus is the true and better Jonah, who was cast out into the storm so we could be brought in. He’s the real Passover Lamb; he’s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread.
“From beginning to end,” writes Matt Smethurst, “your Bible is an epic story about Jesus.” “The Bible is about Jesus,” echoes Jared C. Wilson, continuing: “Front to back, page to page, Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, the written Word of God is primarily and essentially about the saving revelation of the divine Word of God.”4 May I never shudder, then, from bringing too much attention to the person and work of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Jeff Vanderstelt, Gospel Fluency: Speaking the Truths of Jesus into the Everyday Stuff of Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 150.
Tim Keller, quoted in Vanderstelt, Gospel Fluency, 153–54. You can read the full transcript of Keller’s sermon here: https://issuu.com/gospeldelta/docs/tim-keller-gospel-centered-ministry/6.
Jared C. Wilson, The Prodigal Church: A Gentle Manifesto Against the Status Quo (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015), 77.