“I will put animosity between you and the woman, and between your descendant and her descendant; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15 CJB).
“5 (6) For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; dominion will rest on his shoulders, and he will be given the name Pele-Yo‘etz El Gibbor Avi-‘Ad Sar-Shalom [Wonder of a Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace], 6 (7) in order to extend the dominion and perpetuate the peace of the throne and kingdom of David, to secure it and sustain it through justice and righteousness henceforth and forever. The zeal of Adonai–Tzva’ot will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7 CJB).
The story of Jesus does not begin with the gospels, and He did not live his life in a vacuum. Jesus was the Word made flesh (John 1:14), and His purpose is to save His people from their sins. There are many Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled to prove that He is the Messiah, not just a good teacher or prophet. When we read the gospel of Matthew, we find an often repeated phrase, “that it might be fulfilled.”
I love the Old Testament because it is the story of the people of God, the nation of Israel, and the story of the law and the promises given to them. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament’s Messianic prophecies, and at the end, we will see the complete restoration of the people and the land of Israel.
Jesus is not found in every verse of Scripture, but He is the theme of Scripture. In Genesis, He is the seed of the woman; in Exodus, the Passover Lamb; in Leviticus, our High Priest; in Numbers, the pillar and the cloud; in Deuteronomy, a prophet like unto Moses; in Joshua, He is the commander of the Lord’s army. In Matthew, He is the King of the Jews; in Mark, He is the Servant; in Luke, He is the Son of Man; in John, He is the Son of God; and in the book of Revelation, He is our coming and conquering King.
When you read the Old Testament, look for promises of Jesus’s first and second coming. An easy way to do this is to read the gospels and cross-references to Old Testament verses. The New Testament alone cannot prove who Jesus is; without the Old Testament, there is nothing to prove. The Bible is a whole book, both Old and New Testaments, and in reality, the Old Testament isn’t old; it’s just first. We wouldn’t know what the New Covenant is without Jeremiah 31:31-40 and Ezekiel 36:22-28. Let the New Testament help you get to know the Old Testament, and let the Old Testament give you a deeper and fuller understanding of the New Testament. If you’ve ever struggled with Leviticus, read Hebrews, and learn how to see Jesus in the sacrificial system, Leviticus will take on another level of interest after you do.
As I said, the Bible is a whole book, and we miss out on so much when we neglect the Old Testament. Learn to see Jesus throughout the Old Testament. Matthew and Hebrews are a big help where that is concerned. Enjoy the Old Testament, delight in the law of God, and see it as holy, just, and good.