Did you ever read a ‘Where’s Wally?’ book? Wally is a cartoon character, who wears glasses and is dressed in red and white with a bobble hat. The ‘Where’s Wally?’ books contained huge complex illustrations with all sorts of things happening in them. Wally was a time traveller who hid in these scenes and the challenge was to find him.
Wally became a worldwide phenomenon, with many languages having their own localised version. His distinctive outfit also makes him a firm favourite for fancy dress costumes, particularly at student parties and stag does – all you need is a red pen, a hat and some fake glasses – cheap as chips!
Finding Wally was quite hard but once you knew what to look for, you got better at it. This is just the same with finding Jesus in the Old Testament. In John 5, Jesus claims that he is the central purpose and figure of the entire Bible – “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”
This is no less true for the Psalms. There a dozens of references to the promised Messiah throughout the Psalms; giving us clues, promises and prophecies about who Jesus will be and what he will do. Here’s just a few, that you might not have noticed before!
The Crucifixion: On the cross, Jesus quotes several Psalms, even as prophecies from the Psalms are being fulfilled around him. The soldiers dividing Jesus’ clothes comes from Psalm 22:18. Jesus cries out both Psalm 22:1 – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” and Psalm 31: 5 – “Into your hands, I commit my spirit”. In fact, Psalm 22 is full of references to the events of the crucifixion.
Jesus is the Son of God: Psalm 2 talks about God’s chosen King. This king will surpass earthly kings and will rule the nations as his inheritance. There are two Jesus moments here: v7 – ‘The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.’ which finds a parallel in John 3:16 and also v12 – ‘Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way’. This verse is a mini gospel picture – it is only the ‘kiss’ of salvation that mankind can avoid perishing.
The Resurrection: Psalm 16:9-10 says ‘Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.’ Sheol refers to the grave/place of death. Now, David is writing this Psalm but David died. He didn’t think he was invincible or immortal.
He’s prophesying about someone else. Who? Well, Peter the apostle gives us the answer in Acts 2:29-31 – ‘Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.’