OLD MEETS NEW

Read Acts 23:12 – 25:22.

Having just been encouraged by the Lord and assured that he would testify in Rome just like in Jerusalem, Paul’s experience as a prisoner spun seemingly out of control. After multiple conspiracies to kill him, an incredible escape under cover of night and hundreds of armed soldiers, making multiple defenses before various Roman authorities over the course of a couple years while still a prisoner, Paul was asked if he would return to Jerusalem to stand trial.

Paul realized nothing good would come of returning to Jerusalem, so he made his famous appeal: “I appeal to Caesar!” This meant Paul was bound for Rome to stand before Caesar himself.

There is something vitally important for us to see in Paul’s repeated defenses. Each time Paul addressed the accusations against him—being that he was breaking Jewish law, violating the temple sanctity, and acting against the emperor’s interests by causing strife and disorder—he demonstrated how unfounded and blatantly wrong the claims were before drawing it back to a crucial point: the Way, or Christianity as we more often refer to it, is not a sect and fracture off from the Law and all the traditions of the Jews; it is the fulfillment of it all! Paul wanted to constantly make clear that the Christian faith and life was not in violation of any of the law and prophets, but was actually the true way that they were leading us to.

This is crucial for us to see because there is a growing movement in our culture that wants to abandon the Old Testament books of Scripture and hold only to the truth of the New Testament Scriptures. We must see that they are not contradicting each other! There is truth and guidance in the Old Testament that all beautifully points to the unified story of Jesus. As Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17-18, CSB). With the revelation of the New Testament, we can now clearly see the intent and meaning of the Old Testament Scriptures and it is still important!

I encourage you to not forsake reading and spending time in Old Testament Scriptures as you daily hear from God in His word. As Paul said, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, CSB). You will find Jesus and His good news there just as you do in the New Testament. While there was not yet a written New Testament, Jesus declared to some religious people seeking to harm Him, “You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about me” (John 5:39, CSB). It is all telling His wonderful story, and He is at the center of it all offering you life.

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