The gospels are firmly set within the framework of first century Jewish piety. The sacrificial rituals continue to be maintained by the official priesthood in the temple at Jerusalem (p. 80). Jesus was born into a time of the Old Testament system. He would have grown up observing it too. However, everything in history up to that point was directly setup for the coming of Christ. The ritualistic ways of worshiping God all proved its purpose when Jesus came. Even the Magi, who were not even Hebrew, knew where to look for the Messiah.
Jesus coming to Jerusalem throughout his life showed that He would worship in the temple. So when he came and cleared out the temple, it became symbolic for the nation of Israel. It showed that Christ would replace the place of worship. The place where God spent time with His people was now replaced with Christ being the center of worship. The writer Matthew made this his point of writing to the Jews. John on the other hand focused on Emmanuel, which meant that God was now with the people through Christ.
Christ didn’t come on the scene alone, but He brought with Him the Holy Spirit. He would teach the people a new way to worship God. Jesus didn’t come to destroy the system of worship, but rather came to show that it all pointed to Him. He was now the only way to God. He lived and died to show how to build the relationship with the God of the Universe.
I’m glad I live during the time of Christ. I don’t know how I would have done living during the time of the old system. I’m not one for systems or even institutions. Worshiping God through Christ means everything to me. I can’t imagine living during the time without Christ. It would have been a very extreme shift in worship. A man now became the temple! I praise God that I didn’t have to undo a history of temple worship in order to come to Christ.
When I came to Christ, I just had to accept Him into my heart. I chose to follow Christ because I knew in my heart it was simply a decision to make. At the age of four, I didn’t have too much to change. I was still new to the world when I made a decision for the Lord. I love the idea of looking at the Old Testament and study it through New Testament eyes. It is always easier to know how the story ends and then start reading from the beginning. Knowing Christ after He arrived helps me read from the start of Scripture.
I have learned to keep my eyes on Jesus when reading the Old Testament.
Peterson, David. Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press. 1992.