Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
(Acts 8:26-40; John 6:44-51)
Last year an article questioning the value of the Old Testament appeared in a leading religious journal. The author drew attention to the work of a German scholar who says that the Old Testament should no longer be used in Christian churches. The scholar believes that it does not contain references to Christ as the Fathers of the Church took for granted. Also, the scholar holds that reading the Old Testament as if it did insults the Jewish people. Both readings today, however, point to a different conclusion. They show that it was not only the Church Fathers of the third, fourth, and fifth centuries who read the Old Testament as a treasury of coded references to Christ. They demonstrate that the New Testament authors did the same.
In the reading from Acts, Philip instructs the Ethiopian that the reference in Isaiah referring to the Suffering Servant foretells the mission of Christ. In the gospel Jesus says the verse, found also in Isaiah, “They shall be taught by God,” refers to himself. There are probably hundreds of other passages from the Old Testament incorporated in the New. Before the gospels were written, the apostles saw the correlation between Jesus’ life and the writings of the Old Testament.
The Church long ago declared the validity of the Old Testament as the inspired word of God. We must see its value not only in what is foretells of Christ but also in what it teaches independent of those references. We are to study it, teach it, live it and cherish it. In doing so, we will draw closer to Jesus, our Savior.