Friday, March 11, 2011

Christ is the Rock

We erroneously think that the Old Testament is just full of interesting stories from which we can derive moral lessons. However, the entire Bible points to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Here is just one Exodus chapter 17, God used Moses to deliver the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt. They had witnessed the miraculous plagues that God brought on the Egyptians and the miracle of a lifetime when the Red Sea parted and they crossed on dry land. Yet they continually doubted God's provision for them. By the time they arrived at Rephidim they were thirsty and complained about their lack of water. They were ready to stone Moses to death. They demanded that he give them water to drink! God instructed Moses to strike a particular rock with his staff and water would gush out for all to drink. This rock prophesied Jesus Christ who would willingly give his life as a ransom for many and provide living water. Just as Moses would strike the rock, Jesus would be beaten, suffer and die to provide spiritual refreshment for us, through Him the Holy Spirit (living water) would flow to mankind.

Consider what Jesus said about the life giving water that He provides,

"...those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life." John 4:13

"Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.) John 7:38-39

The Apostle Paul plainly states the truth about this analogy...

"I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness." 1 Corinthians 10:1-5

In a similar instance the Israelites were camped at Kadesh and are in need of water again. God desires to expand on the "Rock" analogy but Moses obviously failed to understand the point, so his frustration and anger somewhat destroy the illustration.

God spoke to Moses: "Take the staff. Assemble the community, you and your brother Aaron. Speak to that rock that's right in front of them and it will give water. You will bring water out of the rock for them; congregation and cattle will both drink." Moses took the staff away from God's presence, as commanded. He and Aaron rounded up the whole congregation in front of the rock. Moses spoke: "Listen, rebels! Do we have to bring water out of this rock for you?" With that Moses raised his arm and slammed his staff against the rock—once, twice. Water poured out. Congregation and cattle drank. God said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you didn't trust me, didn't treat me with holy reverence in front of the People of Israel, you two aren't going to lead this company into the land that I am giving them." Numbers 20:7-12

Moses was told to speak to the rock this time and water would flow. Jesus has already suffered to pay the penalty for our sins, all we have to do is speak to the Rock of our salvation, ask for forgiveness and confess that He is Lord to enjoy spiritual refreshment. Moses acted as though he had the power to provide water from the rock. He disobeyed God's clear instructions, invoking God's anger and was denied entrance into the Promised Land. Yet even in the midst of this God's grace provided water to drink for His rebellious fledgling nation. Although we rebel against God, He proved His love by sending Jesus Christ to die in our place. From beginning to end, the Bible is all about Jesus. God invites you to receive His gift of living water today. "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved." Romans 10:9, 10

1 comment:

paul williams said...

I love this analogy. My only question is this - in John 7v37, do the fountains of living water flow out of OUR bellies as believers - or out of Christ's? The language is difficult to make clear. If it is out of Christ's belly, then it would fit better with the Rock analogy - and with Calvary - water and blood flowed from Him when He was struck - under the judgement of God (itself interesting - one of the only times in the OT when God Himself says He was take the blows, in what amounts to a court scene, at the Rock). Recall, the Holy Spirit came, not only because of pentecost but in virtue of Christ's finished work. Great website brother. Paul Williams, Pastor, Swindon Evangelical Church