Road Map to Jesus (Book Review)
How do the God and events of the Old Testament relate to Jesus? Alistair Chalmers’ short and very helpful book gives answers to this and more.
The Old Testament makes up about 75% of our Bible but Christians often struggle to connect with it.
“Many people find the Old Testament uncomfortable. It’s treated a bit like the New Testament’s strange older cousin.”
The Bible is full of a thousand different stories, but how do they fit together? Is there one big story? If so, what is it? And is the God revealed in the Old Testament the same as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? How is the God of the Old Testament related to Jesus?
Alistair Chalmers - pastor of Ferniehill Evangelical Church in Edinburgh and a member of our Pastor’s Network - helps us to answer these questions in Road Map to Jesus.
On the road to Emmaus, Jesus encouraged his disheartened disciples by taking them back to the Old Testament and showing them how it found its fulfilment in him. Beginning there, Alistair takes us on the same journey.
To know Jesus, we need to know the Old Testament. It is the roadmap that leads to him.
“The Old Testament is a treasure chest that points to Jesus as the Son of God who came to earth in human flesh.”
In 160 pages and 36 short chapters, Alistair introduces us to the main Old Testament passages that lead to Jesus.
In the first part of three, Alistair shows that the whole of the Old Testament narrative, all its festivals and sacrifices, and its great promises and prophecies point forward to Jesus. In part 2, the focus is on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Finally in part 3, Alistair challenges us to take this good news to the ends of the earth.
This is a lightweight and accessible introduction to biblical theology. Not everyone is a reader. Long chapters that demand continued focus may not be manageable for many. Time pressure is also a factor – we may need a book which is easy to pick up for a few spare minutes in the midst of our busy days. Not everyone has mastered the Old Testament (has anyone?!). We need something that will give a straightforward introduction to the subject.
This book succeeds in each of these areas.
A tool for churches
Each self-contained chapter will take around five minutes to read. They are accessible without being simplistic. The book does not aim to be an in-depth exposition but it helpfully introduces key people, events, passages, and promises which point to Jesus.
Alistair himself writes, “…hopefully each chapter has enough for a believer to stretch and inform their minds and hearts but also a challenge for the non-Christian to follow Jesus.”
In this he is successful.
This is the kind of book that you could give to a Christian who wanted an introduction to the way in which the Old Testament connected with Jesus and the New Testament. It might form the background and structure for a series of lessons for a Sunday School class or a youth bible study. As I read it I thought that my wife and I might read a chapter each morning at our devotions together.
You could also consider giving it to an interested non-Christian, since the gospel, the cross and the resurrection are all central to the book. There is a clear and warm gospel appeal throughout.
“The Bible begins with the story of how peace between God and humanity was broken. The Bible ends with the promise of this relationship being completely restored. Jesus stands in the middle as the one who makes that possible. Only through Jesus can sinful, rebellious people be at peace with God.”
This is not an in-depth treatment of biblical theology, but it is a good introduction. It looks at the big themes of the Bible and the grand story of redemption.
The aim of the FIEC Theology Team is to enable all our church members to become better theologians. Road Map to Jesus fits in with this goal. Used in the right way it will be of great tool for our churches. I recommend it.