The main thought behind this series is to further our Biblical literacy as the whole church. Knowledge of Old Testament stories can no longer be assumed in our modern culture. Even if we are familiar with OT stories they often do not dominate our thinking in the same manner that they did for the New Testament writers and so references or allusions to the OT can sometimes seem to be obscure and hidden.
Jesus’ OT references in Luke 4 was the inspiration for the series, with Elijah and the widow at Zarephath to Elisha and Naaman (Lk 4:25-27) providing the bookends for the series. We’ve chosen a selection of passages which tie
in to NT references/allusions. Some of these are quite explicit such as James 5:17 referring to Elijah and prayer. Others stories provide background examples to Jesus’ words, such as sharing the reward of a prophet in Matthew 10:41 (see Elijah and the widow, Elisha and the Shunammite woman).
On occasions these stories may highlight the importance of Jesus’ words, such as the distinction between the call of Elisha in 1 Kings 19:19-21 and Jesus’ call of discipleship in Luke 9:61-62, or the parallels with Elisha’s command to Gehazi in 2 Kings 4:29 and Jesus’ sending of the seventy-two in Luke 10:4.
Our hope is that by looking at these Old Testament stories, be it for the first time or one or many times, it will enhance and enrich our reading of the New Testament.