Last week we continued our study on Jesus of the Old Testament as we looked at some of the appearances He made on earth but at each time He was called the angel of the Lord. We saw that this is one of the terms routinely used in the Old Testament to refer to Him. And I mentioned last week there are other terms used and we will take a look at another one of them this evening.
On a number of occasions Jesus was referred to as man. The first one we will consider is found in a well-known story in Genesis 18. Abraham was sitting at the door of his tent in the heat of the day when he saw three men standing opposite him. The Bible says that when he saw them he ran from the door of his tent to meet them and bowed himself to the earth. This is the first indication that these were no ordinary men. But let’s continue with the story. Verse 3 records what Abraham said. “My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please no not pass Your servant by.” he implored. He went on to offer them water to wash their feet and then bread to eat. They agreed and told him to do as he had said.
Now it is obvious that Abraham recognized one of them as Jesus by calling Him Lord and the fact that he called himself His servant indicates this was no mere man. Abraham had Sarah prepare the bread, had meat prepared by a servant, retrieved curds and milk and then gave to them to eat. As Abraham stood by while they were eating, they asked him a very directed question. Verse 9 says, “Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said “There, in the tent.”
There are a couple of things to note here. First of all, how did they know he had a wife and how did they know her name? It seems to me they knew everything about Abraham and they were there on a mission. Secondly, we find in the next few verses what the mission was. As Sarah was listening from the tent door she heard one of them speak and verse 10 records what He said. “He said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” The mission was revealed. Jesus had come to announce that the promise God gave Abraham that his descendents would be like the sands of the sea was about to begin! In other words, the Lord blessed him.
But Sarah’s reaction was one of unbelief and sarcasm as we see in verse 12. But take particular note of version 13. “And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh saying, “Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?” Notice that the man is called Lord which we know refers to Jesus. And verse 14 reinforces that when it says, “Is there anything too difficult for the Lord” At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” So we see here that the man in this context is the Lord Jesus himself.
When we fast forward to Genesis 32 we find another story where Jesus shows up in the form of a man and blesses Jacob. Verse 24 tells us, “Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.” The Bible goes on to say that the man had not prevailed so he touched Jacob’s thigh and immediately his thigh socket was dislocated. But Jacob would not let go and demanded the man bless him before he would let him go. The man then asked Jacob his name and he said “Jacob” and here is where our story ends up. In verse 28 the man responds, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” And the covenant that God had made with Abraham was passed all the way down to Jacob and the nation of Israel was born. Jacob realized he had met God face to face!
There is another occasion where Jesus appears as a man and that is when He raised up Samson for Israel. The story can be found in Judges 13 but we won’t go into detail. You can read the story for yourself and see that it is once again the presence of Jesus in the Old Testament.
We have now seen the appearance of jesus in the Old Testament on numerous occasions and in different types and forms. The first as King of Salem, Melchizedek, then in a number of instances where He is call the angel of the Lord, and as we have seen this evening, occasions where he is called a man. The fact is Jesus is seen everywhere in the Old Testament if we take the time to look for Him. He was, and is, and forever will be God just as our theme verse for this series describes.
Next week we will end the series with instances where He is just referred to as an angel. There are other terms used that we will mention so that you can look for them in the Old Testament on your own.
“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