Jesus’ first priority after he physically rose from death was to teach people the Scriptures that are all about him. Just like the men walking to Emmaus whom Jesus joined, we are all spiritually blind until God opens our eyes; the teaching of the Word of God opens blind eyes. We see six ways in which all of the Old Testament is connected to Jesus: events, titles, prophecies, Christophanies, types, and like service. The book that God wrote is all about Jesus.
Pharaoh did not repent and, as a result, death came to every household and the firstborn son in every home, with one exception: those homes who, in faith, as an act of worship to the God of the Bible in acknowledgement of their own sin, took an animal, sacrificed it—because the wage for sin is death—and that animal was a substitute, showing, "We’re sinners. We should have had death come to our home, but because of our faith in the God of the Bible, his love for us, we’ll sacrifice this animal. We’ll take the blood, we’ll paint it over the doorpost of our home, and then literally death will pass over our home, and we’ll be spared from the wrath of God." So death came to every home, with the exception of those who, in faith, were covered by the blood, so that the wrath of God would pass over them. That’s all about Jesus. Later—many years later—when Jesus comes, his cousin, John the Baptizer, looks at him and declares, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!" Paul tells the Corinthians that Jesus Christ is, "our Passover Lamb, who has been slain." You know why we don’t celebrate Passover? You know why we don’t slaughter animals? We don’t need to. Jesus fulfilled Passover. Jesus is our Passover sacrifice. He shed his blood for our sin, so that the wrath of God and the death from sin might pass over us. So we don’t just have celebrations and annual feasts and meals. We have Jesus, and we love him every day.
Abraham, by faith, though confused I’m sure, sought to obey God. Hebrews 11 says, "He believed that even if Isaac died, God could bring him back from death." So even Abraham believed in the hope of resurrection. And what happens then is Isaac is an adult boy, son. He carries his own wood on his back to the place that God had designated for his death. He, though a younger, stronger man, willingly lays himself down to die at the hand of his own father. And as Abraham takes the knife and is about to plunge it into his firstborn, beloved, promised covenantal son, a messenger of the Lord, perhaps Jesus, cries out, "Abraham, there’s no need to murder Isaac. There’ll be another day when a greater Father offers a greater Son." Jesus comes as the greater Isaac. He, too, carries his own wood on his back to his place where he would willingly lay down his life and that the Father would agree to the death of the Son. And all of this happened in roughly the same region and area very close by where Jesus was crucified, because there’s a greater Father than Abraham, God the Father; there’s a greater Son than Isaac, Jesus. And all of that was to show us how God would save us.
Everything is growing at the same time. We praise God. We rejoice. We’re riding a wave of God’s grace that I think is sort of once-in-a-lifetime, the kind of thing you tell your grandkids about. Really encouraged, really excited. So we’re going to show you that over the course of five weeks. And here’s the big ask. We want you to pray, serve, give. And I’m just going to boldly ask for more money. I know the last thing to get saved is your wallet. I know that. Sanctification concludes in your wallet. And we want to open up room for nine thousand more people in 2012. That’s what we’re going for, the biggest year we’ve ever had. We figure if this book is true, if this guy is alive, if people don’t know it and they’re going to hell, and we know it, we want to help them. We want to tell them about Jesus. We want to plant churches. We want to make disciples. We want to open opportunities. In the next few weeks I’m going to ask you to give big, give generously. Let’s beat budget. Let’s open the new churches. What else are you going to do? This is a wonderful opportunity. God’s in it. Things are going great. Let’s keep it going. […] And here’s my question. Which category are you in? Which category, at the end of the year, will you be in? And we want to see more people meet Jesus. Amen? If we believe this is the book that God wrote, if we believe it’s about Jesus, if we believe that people need to know him, we should be enthusiastic to do all we can, pray, give, serve, make that happen.