Let us begin with what you do know, or should know. The Lord Jesus in the Scriptures is presented to us, amongst His other names, as “the Word” (John. 1:1). What perhaps you do not know is just how frequently the Lord, while here, quoted from the Scriptures, the very words which we have in our Bibles today.
Let us look at some of these briefly. “Abraham rejoiced to see My Day,” “Moses wrote of Me,” “David called (Me) Lord,” (John. 7:19; 5:46-47; Mark. 7:13; Matthew 8:4).
In the temptation, three short words from Deuteronomy, like the small stones in David’s sling, brought down to the ground the enemy of our souls, the giant Goliath. Later he cut off his head. Similarly when the Lord quoted from Deuteronomy to counter the Devil’s suggestions, Satan was banished from His presence for a season. Starting His public ministry in Nazareth He quoted the Scripture from Isaiah (Luke 4:18-21). The sequel is interesting and instructive (v. 22-30).
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:17-19) He said, “I am not come to destroy but to fulfill...Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.” If you continue these studies you will discover (if you don’t know it already) just how abundant are His quotations from the Old Testament.He refers to about 20 Old Testament characters, and quotes from about 19 different books. Try it for yourself and see how many you can find and when you are short in your count, ask your father or your mother. But remember your minds are younger and fresher than theirs and perhaps they don’t have as much free time. Listen to our Lord’s words, “Have ye not read,” “It is written,” “The Scriptures testify of Me,” “The Scriptures must be fulfilled,” “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures,” and “Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God?” In Matthew 22:29-32, our Lord speaks to the Sadducees who did not believe (and many today say the same) that there is a resurrection. God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. Solemn thought for the unbeliever.
As the Cross drew near, listen to our Savior’s words, “Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished” (Luke 28:31). “For I Say unto you, that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘And He was reckoned with the transgressors,’ for that which concerned Me hath fulfillment” (Luke. 22:37). On the night of His betrayal, He three times points to the fulfilling of scriptures concerning Himself (Matthew 26:31, 54, and Mark 14:48-49). Three of the seven sayings from the Cross are the very words of Scripture, and He died with one of them on His lips.
This pattern continues unchanged after the resurrections. On the Emmaus road, to the disconsolate disciples, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning in all the Scriptures, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:25-27). It was His pattern before the Cross, and the same after the Cross. There is one slight addition when He appeared to the gathered company in Luke 24-26. Have you noticed it? On the Emmaus Road their Lord drew upon Moses and the prophets. In the upper room He added the Psalms. Why was it that He added, on that occasion, the clear testimony to His session at the Father’s right hand? He must have been quoting from Ps. 110. How beautiful are these delightful little touches as we pay careful attention to what the Lord says.
But there is another Scripture, this time from the glory, “Fear not, I am the first and the last. I am He that liveth and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore. Amen; and have the keys of hell and death” (Revelation 1:17-18). And again, “He that hath the Key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth, and shutteth, and no man openeth” (Revelation 3:7). These are direct quotes from (Isaiah 44:6, 22:22).
Truly the Lord Jesus Christ is the Key to all Scripture. But some brothers will say to you and to me, it is not Scripture in the head that we need. “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119:11). This is true, but how do we get the word down from the head to the heart? Only by faith. And where does faith come from? “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). This would suppose that the normal route for the word is from the head to the heart. Hence the Lord says to us all, “Search the Scriptures and they are they that testify of Me” (John 5:29). If your father has in his library our brother Darby’s lectures on “The Hopes of the Church” (Geneva, 1840), you will find in those lectures that almost every page is given up to the quotation of Scripture (from the lecturer’s memory, it would seem), and what an impact those lectures have had since then! You and I do not pretend to be in the same class as J.N.D., nevertheless, we can learn not a little from his method.
How precious is God’s Holy Word! Let us value it above everything else in this world, except, of course, the Lord Himself.