Tim Keller is who has turned me on to using the Old Testament to point to Christ as the greater fulfillment of main characters. Well, Keller and Luke 24:27 and 1 Peter 1:10-12.
I had a chance to apply this principle in a recent sermon at Cofer’s Chapel this past Sunday. In talking about the story of the flood, it is easy to make the main application as “Now go live your lives like Noah, and one day God will save you from judgment.” Well, that would be true–if it were possible. But sin that reigns in the lives of all people doesn’t allow someone to simply start living their lives a different way. In fact, left on our own, we are more like the wicked who are about to be drowned by the flood, unaware and apathetic toward God’s coming judgment.
I considered two ways to point to Christ in this passage. I have heard it suggested that Christ is likethe boat. All who are in Him are saved from judgment. But I chose Christ as being the greater Noah. Here’s how I applied it:
- Noah found favor in God’s eyes, but at the baptism of Jesus Christ, God spoke from heaven and said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased” (Mk 1:11). And yet, Christ became a curse for us, so that any who have faith in Him become loved and well-pleasing to God (Heb 11:6).
- Noah was righteous relative to his peers, blameless in his generation. But he was not perfect, because in Genesis 9, Noah had too much wine and became stone drunk. Yet, Christ was perfectly righteous all his days. 1 Peter 2:22–”In Him was no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth.”And yet, Christ chose to take our wickedness on Himself and give all who would trust Him the righteousness He earned (2 Cor 5:21).
- Noah walked with God, but Christ is God, saying “I and my father are one,” and has been in intimate fellowship with the Father from all eternity. Yet, He endured being forsaken by God, so that any who believe can have fellowship with God by the Holy Spirit.
- Noah was obedient in preparing the Ark, but Christ was obedient even to the point of death–a death He died for the sins of any who would believe in Him.
- God established a covenant with Noah, promising He would save him from the flood. God established a greater covenant through Jesus Christ, ratified by His blood, promising to save any who would trust in Christ.
- Noah offered sacrifices of animals to God to satisfy God’s anger. But Christ offered up Himself as a sacrifice once and for all, satisfying God’s anger toward those who believe in Christ.
Noah wasn’t the only one on the Ark, if you remember. Noah’s family was also saved from God’s judgment on account of Noah’s righteousness. In the same way, by faith, we can be saved from God’s judgment by being part of the family of one who is truly worthy of being saved–Jesus Christ. But unlike Noah, we can only take our place on the boat if Christ first steps outside and is drowned in our place.