Hey Preacher, You Need More Murray!
Five Reasons to Read Jesus on Every Page by David Murray
Let’s be honest—there are books on our shelves that we purchased with the noble intention of reading in their entirety. Despite our aspirations, many of these books remain on our shelves and have become nothing more than dusty monuments to our fleeting zeal. Before you run away from this article, allow me to strum a sweeter chord. Though there are many unread books in our personal libraries, I would wager that there are a few gems tucked away on our shelves too. These are books that we instinctively revisit and often find ourselves quoting. Their pages are scarred with our feverish scribbles and our comic overuse of yellow highlighters. In short, these are books that the Lord has been pleased to use in our lives with great spiritual benefit.
One such gem in my personal library is David Murray’s 2013 release, Jesus on Every Page: Ten Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament. Murray’s work has helped me see Christ more clearly in obscure passages, and his book has emboldened me to preach from the Old Testament with greater courage and joy. To that end, fellow preacher, here are five reasons why you need more Murray:
1. Jesus on Every Page is Enjoyable to Read – Not every theological tome is fun to cuddle with. There, I said it. Though its contents may be helpful, slogging through two thousand pages of scholastic nomenclature is sapping. Murray’s book is a merciful combination of academic rigor and pithy readability. Consider this example from Murray’s explanation on the function of the Law: “Many read these motivation clauses found throughout the Old Testament and say, ‘See, it’s all about works and reward.’ But that fails to recognize that redemption and relationship came before any rules or reward.” Murray helps his readers with the winsomeness of a pastor and the candor of a friend.
2. Jesus on Every Page Lives up to Its Title – Murray strives to ensure that his book is relentlessly committed to its title—Jesus on Every Page. For the preacher who is eager to properly exalt Christ from the Old Testament, Murray’s work will not disappoint. Consider some of Murray’s chapter headings: Discovering Jesus in Creation, Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament Law, Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament Types, Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament Covenants. Dear preacher, these topics are theological gold!
3. Jesus on Every Page Balances Profundity and Pragmatism – Jesus on Every Page is theologically profound insomuch that a graduate-level reader would find themselves intellectually challenged. However, Murray has also created a book that is wonderfully pragmatic. Specifically, it contains helpful study questions that could easily be used by a small group, Sunday school class, or for personal devotions.
4. Jesus on Every Page Highlights Christophanies – In my opinion, one of the most neglected areas of study for preachers is Theophanies (or Christophanies). In short, these terms refer to the Old Testament appearances of Jesus Christ. Yes, you read that correctly, appearances. In his chapter titled, Christ’s Presence: Discovering Jesus in His Old Testament Appearances, Murray explains that theologians through the centuries (including Calvin and Edwards) have understood instances of God’s presence being visibly and physically manifested to humans as being the actions of the second Person of the Trinity, the eternal Son of God. Murray says, “Just as the Son of God is the usual way God speaks to humanity, so also the Son of God is the usual way God appears to humanity: ‘No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.’” Mind—blown. Mic—dropped.
5. Jesus on Every Page Will Make You Want to Preach – As our name implies, Christ-Centered and Clear aims to encourage and equip pastors to preach and teach in such a way that Jesus is exalted in all things. It is our hope that you experience what transpired on the infamous road to Emmaus when the risen Christ preached himself from all of Scripture. The awestruck disciples exclaimed, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (Lk. 24:32). Reading Jesus on Every Page will, Lord willing, bring you to the same wonderful experience of seeing the supremacy of Jesus Christ and being compelled to proclaim the beauty, sufficiency, power, and glory of Jesus Christ. This is the primary reason that you, dear preacher, need more Murray!