We are all familiar with the story of the birth of Jesus that we find in the New testament of God’s Holy Word. We know Him as the Son of God, God Incarnate, Savior of the world and Lord of our lives. But there are millions of others who have also heard of the birth of Jesus but do not have a personal relationship with Him or even understand what that means. There are also many church members that certainly believe the story of His birth and even believe He is who He said He is. But the fact is they seem to think that Jesus came to this earth at his physical birth for the very first time. In other words, the only time He was here was during His life on earth from His birth to His ascension. They never reach a point of understanding that He was here many times before He was born to Mary in that stable in Bethlehem. Maybe even some of us don’t realize how many times the Old Testament records His visitation to this world in times past.
Over the next few weeks we are going to take a look at several of those times He made a physical appearance in this world. We will not be able to cover them all but there will be enough to help us realize that Jesus has been interested and involved in the lives of people from the very beginning. The first few verses of the book of John make it very clear that Jesus was from the beginning and still is and forever will be God. And His hands have been in every detail of human life from the day Adam was created and He has appeared on earth on many occasions. This evening we will take a look at what most theologians consider the very first of such appearances.
We find in Genesis 13 the story of how Abram leaves the land of Egypt with his wife and all of his possessions and Lot goes with him. Abram eventually settles in the land of Canaan but Lot decides to settle near the wicked city of Sodom. In that chapter we also find that God makes a binding promise to Abram concerning the land he would occupy and how his descendents would multiply. We know this as the Abrahamic Covenant. But immediately after that in Genesis 14 the story continues with the invasion of Sodom and Gomorrah by four powerful kings which results in Lot and all of his possessions being taken away by those kings. When Abram gets word of this he puts together a small army and goes after them. He successfully defeats the kings and not only brings lot back with all of his belongings, he brings back the women and the rest of the people who had been taken. And here is where we see the appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament.
The Bible says that the King of Sodom went out to meet Abram upon his return and that the King of Salem brought out bread and wine. The name of this king was Melchizedek and God’s Word states that he was a priest of God Most High. And he blessed Abram. This was a physical and personal activity on the part of Jesus. Hebrew 5:6 states that God Himself declares Jesus as a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedec. And then in Chapter 7 that the name Melchizedec translates as king of righteousness and that King of Salem meant king of peace. It goes on to say that “he was without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.” This can only be a description of Jesus. Isaiah the prophet and Paul’s letters to the Ephesians and to the church at Rome offer additional support of this.
Isaiah 9:6 refers to Jesus as the Prince of Peace. In Ephesians 2: 14 Paul says “He Himself is our peace” and in Romans 10: 4 he states “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Jesus, Jesus, only Jesus. He is the theme and subject throughout all of God’s Word from Genesis to Revelation. And the Old Testament reveals Him for who He is on many other occasions as we will see in the coming weeks.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” John 1:1-2