At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. (John 12:16 NIV)
When you read the gospel accounts, it is easy to come away with the impression that the disciples were very slow to understand much of what Jesus was trying to teach them. And in truth, they were. They had grown up with an image of what their Messiah would be. And Jesus’ constant refusal to conform to that image confounded them. It was not until after Jesus’ resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit that they could see what their Scriptures had been pointing to concerning the Messiah.
As a follower of the Lord Jesus, a Christian, how should I read the Old Testament, the Jewish Scriptures? Is it simply telling the story of ancient Israel, their near-constant rebellion, God’s judgment on them, and a promise that they had a glorious future awaiting them? That was the lens the disciples had grown up with. And it is a lens through which many Christians view the Old Testament today. But, as the disciples discovered, there is a better way.
The disciples came to understand that the Scriptures they grew up with were pointing ahead to Jesus and his fulfillment of them. And it completely transformed how they read the Scriptures. When we read the Old Testament today, we need to do so in light of Jesus and his fulfillment of what it contains. It will give us a whole new perspective on what it records. Especially the words of the prophets.