I just finished a preaching group where a fine preacher gave a fine talk on Judges 14. At the end he included a sentence about ‘another Saviour who came to deliver His people eternally’. That sort of thing. He didn’t make anything of the point and he didn’t mention the name ‘Jesus’, but he included the sentence.
During the feedback session I asked him in as non-leading a way as possible, “Why did you include that sentence about Jesus?”
Quick as a flash another student answered “Because we’re supposed to.”
Let me ask:
Do we preach Christ from the OT “because we’re supposed to” or because the Hebrew Scriptures are already and inherently a witness to Christ?
Is the ‘Jesus bit’ a token effort to fulfil some preaching requirement? Or is Jesus actually witnessed in and through the passage?
Is Jesus as incidental to the proclamation of this passage as those terrible jokes that are also tacked on?
Is it the preacher’s job to ‘bridge to Christ’? Or has God’s word already done a good job of that?
Is Jesus forced into our sermons? Or is He present as the Ground, Grammar and Goal of the whole Scripture?
Congregations can really tell the difference between the former and the latter.
Churches where the former is the common practice often produce Christians who know that Jesus is very important. But they’re not so sure why.
Preachers that follow this model can start to think that Jesus is a homiletical necessity, but not so much a spiritual one. So when they speak of God’s sovereignty, the importance of holiness, the necessity of prayer, they give powerful illustrations and pointed applications. For these ‘main points’ of their sermon it’s aged wine and the best of meats. But then at the end they give their people Jesus as though He’s cod liver oil. Out of the blue, unappetising, supposedly good for you but we’re not quite sure why.
Know what I mean?