What is the effect of Jesus on the Christian Bible and its references to the Old Testament?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) provide four different accounts of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, who is also known as Jesus Christ (Jesus "The Annointed One"). The remaining books and letters contained in the New Testament deal with the struggles of and issues faced by Christians during the century after Jesus was crucified. Thus, the entire New Testament deals either directly or indirectly with Jesus and effects he had on those who followed his teachings.

Although the life and teachings of Jesus Christ form the foundation of the Christian religion, we should not forget that Jesus was Jewish. As such, Jesus himself was educated in the religion and teachings of the Jews. Thus, at Mark 12:26, Jesus indicates his knowledge of the Book of Exodus (in the Old Testament) by asking the Sadducees,

Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? (NIV Translation)

Not only does Jesus show awareness of Moses' writings, but at Matthew 5:17 he also tells his audience that

“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." (NIV Translation)

Here, Jesus again indicates the effects that writings and teachings found in the Old Testament have had upon him. He declares that he has no intention of going against the laws that Moses handed down or the words of prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and so on.

Speaking of the law and the prophets, when Jesus experiences the "transfiguration" (cf. Matthew 17:3) he is seen talking with Moses and Elijah. Thus, the gospel writer creates an explicit link between Jesus, the greatest Jewish law-giver, and arguably the most famous Jewish prophet.

We can also find several passage in the Old Testament that are thought to be predictions about Jesus, such as Micah 5:2, which Christians believe alludes to Jesus' birth:

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, 
though you are small among the clans of Judah, 
out of you will come for me 
one who will be ruler over Israel, 
whose origins are from of old, 
from ancient times.”

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team