Growing up, I loved reading mystery books. Sometimes, I would get so excited about reading one of these books that I would flip all the way to the end to see who the bad guy was! I wanted to make sure I picked up on all the right clues throughout the book, and my goal was to interpret everything in the book based on how I knew it ended.
As Christ-centered preachers, we approach the Bible in a similar way. Because Jesus is the focus of Scripture, we interpret the whole Bible in light of that truth. Whenever we read a portion of Scripture, we are to be reminded that it connects to Christ. Here are three biblical reasons for us to preach Christ.
1. Preach Christ because Jesus is at the center of Scripture
To the Pharisees, Jesus said, “You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about me. But you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life” (John 5:39-40). Elsewhere, on the road to Emmaus, Jesus interpreted the Scriptures as they related to Him (Luke 24:25-27). The laws, institutions, and people of the Old Testament are all shadows that find their fulfillment in Christ.
2. Preach Christ because the Holy Spirit seeks to glorify Jesus
Through inspiration and illumination, the Holy Spirit’s role in study and preaching glorifies Christ. Inspiration refers to the Holy Spirit’s role in stimulating the human authors of the Bible to write down the very words of God, while illumination refers to the Holy Spirit’s work in contemporary believers as He reveals the meaning of the text to us. So in our interpretation, we need the help of the Holy Spirit to guide us in the correct understanding of the passage. The Holy Spirit has inspired the Bible to be written and illuminates its meaning to testify about and glorify Christ (John 16:14). When Bible expositors are faithful to preach how a text points to Christ, the Holy Spirit joins in glorious proclamation.
3. Preach Christ because the early church preached Jesus
Jesus calls the disciples to be His witnesses in Acts 1:8, and these apostles preach sermons as His witnesses from the Bible. At this time, their Scriptures would be the Old Testament as they preached. Our role, like these apostles, is to testify about Jesus, declaring what we have seen and heard. These sermons from the apostles in Acts, along with the book of Hebrews, teach us how to interpret the Bible in a Christ-centered way (cf. Acts 2:14-41; 13:13-43).
These three reasons are foundational as to why we preach Christ from all the Scripture. When you realize that all of the Bible finds its endpoint in Christ Jesus, you can never read the Bible in the same way again. It’s like looking at the end of the mystery novel and knowing that everything points to this character. Jesus is everywhere, in the Old and New Testament, and the faithful interpreter cannot help but find Him because they know that He is the end of all revelation.