When was the last time you looked for Jesus in Leviticus? Or Ecclesiastes? We don’t often think of Jesus being in these Old Testament books.
Yet the whole Bible was given to reveal Jesus. If we look, we will find Him all throughout the Word – as our Creator in Genesis, the Lawgiver in Exodus, our Shepherd in Psalms, our Wisdom in Proverbs, our Redeemer in the Gospels, and our soon returning King in Revelation.
But I have a problem (maybe you do too). Sometimes I find myself skipping through the Bible and completely missing these portraits of Jesus.
Jesus reveals three aspects of our problem in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. 1) The Devil loves to snatch away any treasures of truth we find before we make them our own. 2) Difficulties often cause us to neglect our faith. 3) Life distracts us.
So how do we overcome these challenges and discover Jesus throughout His Word? Jesus tells us how:
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matthew 13:44
Diligent to Wealthy
Imagine the story with me:
Eli wiped the sweat from his eyes then pushed the plow deeper into the earth. His ox trudged slowly across the rented field, breaking up the hard soil. It was arduous work, but a grim smile softened Eli’s face as he thought of his children enjoying the food he grew. They didn’t have much, but most days their belly’s were full.
Suddenly the plow shuddered and stuck fast in the ground. A rock. Eli grabbed his shovel and chipped away the soil, revealing not a rock, but a wooden box!
Instantly, hope swelled up in Eli’s heart. He knew people often buried their treasures to keep them safe. Might he be so fortunate? With trembling fingers, he pried open the lid.
Treasures! He’d never dreamed there could be so many! Rubies, diamonds, and emeralds glittered among the heap of gold coins. God had been good to him! Eli gazed upon them for a moment, a plan rapidly forming in his mind. Quickly he replaced the lid, buried the treasure and marked the spot.
Quickly, he led his ox to the market and sold it and his farming tools. Then he dashed home and began gathering up everything in sight. “What are you doing with our things?” his wife and children begged. They didn’t have a lot, but the things they had made life livable.
“Selling them!” Eli ignored their tears and rushed out the door. Soon he was back, this time with a town merchant.
“How much will you give me for this house?” Eli demanded. He negotiated a stiff bargain for their tiny home, then quickly added the few gold coins to his purse. Then he led his sobbing, bewildered family out to a quiet place. “Wait here,” he commanded, then he was off again.
An hour later he was back, a huge grin spread across his face. His money bag was gone, but he held a scroll in his hand. “Come!” he called. His family followed him out to the field he farmed, then watched in amazement as he threw aside a rock and began digging frantically in the dirt. A moment later, he pulled out the box and pulled off the lid, revealing the treasure within.
“It’s ours! It’s all ours!” Eli shouted. “I bought the field!”
Suddenly his actions of the past few hours made sense. His wife wept again, this time from joy and their children jumped and skipped around them. “We’re rich! We’re rich!” they shouted gleefully. “Yahweh be praised!!”
Lessons for Today
What was Jesus trying to teach through this little parable about a man obsessed by a hidden treasure?
Several things stand out:
The man was diligently working his field when he discovered the treasure. We too will find the treasure of a relationship with Christ when we are consistently spending time with God’s Word.
The field contained the treasure long before the farmer knew it was there. Similarly, treasures of the Gospel are found throughout God’s Word. We often discover them in the most unexpected places as we read the Bible.
The treasure was an unearned gift. The farmer hadn’t spent years working for that wealth. There was no way he could have ever afforded to buy it. But when he gave up everything, it became his for the keeping. The same is true for you and I. Jesus, and salvation through Him, is a gift that you and I can never earn, but God gives it to us freely when we surrender all to Him.
Once the man found the treasure, he was willing to give up everything — his livelihood, his goods, his home. Even his family thought he’d gone mad. We too need to be willing to give up everything to follow the Christ of the Bible.
The farmer had just one goal when he returned to his field – pull out that treasure! Our one goal when we study the Bible should be to discover the truths of God and His salvation.
Practical Ways to See Jesus throughout the Bible
OK, let’s be practical. How can we discover the treasure of Jesus in Scripture? These are things that help me:
- I Want See Jesus: Is this your heart’s desire every time you sit down to the read the Bible? If it is, God will fulfill your desire. “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
- Pray: Before you open your Bible, ask God to reveal Jesus to you through the Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and give you spiritual eyesight to see the portraits of Jesus. “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find…” Luke 11:9
- Keep your eyes open: Every Bible passage reveals a facet of the character of God. As you read each passage, ask yourself these questions: What can this passage teach me about Jesus? How does it point to Him or explain him? What part of His character or mission does it reveal? “Search the Scriptures, for… these are they which testify of Me.” John 5:39
- Look for parallels to Jesus in Old Testament stories: The Old Testament is full of stories that point us to Jesus. They reveal aspects of His character and mission. For example, Joseph was sold as a slave, but became the savior of his family. Similarly, Jesus was sold for the price of a slave and became the Savior of our world. Moses spent time in the wilderness before rescuing God’s people. Just so, Jesus fasted in the wilderness before beginning His rescue mission. Jonah spent three days in the belly of the whale like Jesus spent three days in the tomb. Do you get the idea? These Old Testament stories are called “types” and their New Testament fulfillment is called the “anti-type”. (Learn more). Every story in the Bible has elements of these parallels. As you ponder them, you will discover gems of truth about Jesus and the Gospel. Ask God to reveal them to you. He will!
- Highlight prophecies of Jesus: Jesus spent much time making sure that His followers’ faith was firmly founded in the prophecies of Himself. Our faith too will be stronger when we understand the hundreds of prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus. “Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” Luke 24:44-45
- Read the Gospels: What better place could there be to see Jesus than the books written about His life? If you’ve read them before and think you know it all, slow down and ask God to bring them to life for you. Especially ask God to make real to you what Jesus did on the cross for you. “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account… that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.” Luke 1:3-4
- Ponder Jesus’ words: Take time to meditate on the things Jesus said. “His words are truth, and they have a deeper significance than appears on the surface. All the sayings of Christ have a value beyond their unpretending appearance. Minds that are quickened by the Holy Spirit will discern the value of these sayings. They will discern the precious gems of truth, though they may be buried treasures.” Ellen White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 110.
- Digest the apostles’ letters: The men who lived with Jesus and met Him personally (including Paul on the road to Damascus) wrote many letters to first century Christians to help them know Jesus and live for Him. Their letters reveal the love of Jesus and show how to apply His truth in our daily lives. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life — the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us — that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” 1 John 1:1-4
- Study the Book of Revelation: God’s final message in the Scriptures is all about revealing Jesus. Though it veils its meaning with symbols, it is full of the love and glory of Jesus and worthy of your time and study. (If you need help understanding Revelation, attend a Prophetic Voice prophecy seminar near you.) “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants things which must shorty take place.” Revelation 1:1.
How Badly Do You Want Treasure?
The wisest man who ever lived had some wise counsel on finding “Christ Jesus [who] became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30
“Incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:2-5
It really all boils down to one thing. Do you want to know Jesus? Do you desire Him above all else?
If that is your heart’s desire, then you will see Him.
“No one can search the Scriptures in the spirit of Christ without being rewarded. When man is willing to be instructed as a little child, when he submits wholly to God, he will find the truth in His word.” Ellen White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 114.
** All Scriptures taken from the New King James Version.