Typology demands that we take more seriously the call to apply Scripture to our lives, and therefore it must be tightly wrapped around biblical truth about Jesus. Jesus is the template that must be followed as we discover types and images of Jesus in our world. If we misunderstand and fail to pay attention to the Great Template and Prototype, then all our efforts will be misguided and prone to great error.
This is true whether or not we are doing typology. If we misunderstand Jesus we will make all sorts of erroneous and damaging assumptions about life and people and relationships. If we understand Jesus, then we will have a healthy, just, and righteous worldview that will lead us to cherish people and live in thankfulness.
We must begin with Jesus. When we spend time with Jesus and hear from his Word and his Spirit, we will naturally begin to do typology; we will naturally begin to see him in our lives, our relationships, and the things we deal with every day
So, as we end this book and hopefully begin a journey of typology, let’s start with Jesus. Here are several truths about Jesus to soak up and consider what they teach us about our world.
Jesus is the Rest of all rest.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jesus teaches us that he gives us rest in himself. He is the Rest of all rest.
There is a rich theology of rest that is developed throughout the entire Bible. Noah’s name means rest, and he and the salvation he delivers does indeed give us a picture of rest. But Jesus provides the eternal rest. Noah’s rest is merely a temporal picture of the great reality to come, the rest that Jesus has accomplished through his work.
Life is full of things that provide rest. Beds. Hotels. Breaks in the middle of a work shift. Sitting down by a fire with a good book. A vacation.
If we can come to terms with the biblical teaching that Jesus is the True Rest, the Rest of all rests, the Great Rest that our souls long for, then we can imagine how all kinds of rest – beds, hotels, breaks – can rightly be considered a type of Christ. We can rightly and biblically describe a vacation as a type of Christ if we simply assert that anything which provides earthly rest is showing us a bit of Jesus’ character.
He – the eternal rest – is very ground for the existence of any kind of rest; his character provides the DNA that gets repeated all over our world.
Jesus is the Security of all securities.
Matthew 5:19-21: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
With these words Jesus is making the point that his kingdom will provide eternal security. In contrast to earthly or temporal security, which is prone to disaster, thievery, and rust, heavenly security is eternally secure and safe.
Jesus is simply drawing from books in the Hebrew Bible like Isaiah, which stress that everything will fall through except God and the salvation in his Messiah. All that humans build their life upon will fall through. Jesus is the Security of all securities. There is nothing you can build your life on outside of Jesus that will not crumble.
There is a certain surge of emotion when I click the button to lock my car and I know for certain that the car is locked. There is a particular feeling that runs through your body that moment when you have gone through your home before bed and made sure all the windows and doors are locked. There is a very specific essence to the feeling of being secure, whether it is a computer password system, a fence to keep your children safe from the street, or a safe manufacturing environment. We all know the feeling of danger being alleviated and being able to rest easy.
If we recognize that Jesus is who the Scripture says he is, that he is the Security of all security, then we can recognize how this human emotion finds its fulfillment in Jesus. Or to put it another way, this emotion is looking for Jesus. Every time when lock our car we are getting a little glimpse of Christ.
Jesus is the Satisfaction of all satisfactions.
Isaiah 55:1-2“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.“
There are dozens of passages in Scripture just like this one; God rebukes humans for seeking satisfaction in that which does not satisfy, and calls them to find satisfaction in him. And when Jesus came, he told us that he is the Bread of Life, and he told us that his Spirit is the Living Water, and that we will never thirst again if we drink of his Spirit. He is the Satisfaction which God has always promised.
“I can’t get no satisfaction,” laments Mick Jagger. Satisfaction drives human beings to commit the most atrocious and despicable acts. The pursuit of satisfaction keeps the drunkard drunk and the gambler at the casino.
And there are countless little things in life that provide that emotion of satisfaction. A drink of cold water on a hot day. A three pointer. A hard day’s work. A good movie. A workout. We experience this emotion constantly. The emotion of satisfaction saturates the human experience.
Jesus provides an eternal, lasting, and heavenly satisfaction. He is the Satisfaction of all satisfactions. Therefore, all of the above instances – whether good or evil – are images and types of Christ; they are pictures of what we humans long for in Jesus: satisfaction. Even the atrocious acts of evil are (ironically) reflections of what we look for in Jesus, albeit perverted reflections.
Jesus is the Light of all lights.
John 8:12″I am the Light of the world.”
Something as fundamental as light is described as a type of Christ in Scripture. He is the light that shines in the darkness. This world which has rejected God is described as darkness, and Christ is presented as the light which pierces the darkness.
The Scripture speaks of Jesus as the Light of all lights. The light which first came into the world in Genesis 1 is a picture of Jesus, the Word.
If we can rightly say that Jesus is the Light of all lights, and that light was created for the purpose of creating an image or picture of Jesus, then we must reevaluate this energy which permeates our world. Magnificent displays of Christmas lights or fireworks, extraordinary light shows at a U2 concert, a flashlight guiding us through a pitch-black cave – all of these give us a profound picture of Christ.
Think of images on computer screens and motion pictures. Humans are prone to be addicted to these. Could it be that what dazzles us about light is borrowed from the DNA and character of the one our heart truly longs for?
When we come to terms with such a basic biblical image of Jesus we will start to discover him all over our life; literally, he is the meaning of everything we see.
Jesus is the Freedom of freedoms.
Gal 5:1″For freedom Christ has set us free.”
Life is full of freedom. Colonists rebelling against the Tyrant King of England to create a new independent United States is a powerful picture of freedom that Americans celebrate every July. We might also think of young men and women in their twenties going on last minute road trips. There is also a sensation of freedom whenever a work shift ends.
Freedom is one of life’s most ironic realities. Many have observed the irony of licentious living in the name of being free which leads to abuse of drugs, alcohol, and sex; the irony is that the alleged freedom is precisely what brings about the slavery of addiction and brokenness, which is the defined opposite of freedom.
Freedom is one of the deepest and most basic human desires. It is impossible for human flourishing to exist without freedom. The opposite of freedom is slavery. Claustrophobia. Prison. A car stuck in a ditch. Images like these which contrast freedom give us a negative surge of emotion. We long for freedom.
Jesus is presented as True Freedom, as the Freedom of all freedoms. It is as if every temporal instance of freedom – getting your car out of a ditch, paying off debt, getting out of jail, finishing your work day – are all miniature dramas of Christ and his reality. Typology teaches us that these instances in our life where we experience the abstract concept and the emotion of freedom do not just happen to correlate to Jesus; rather, they are the result of the Father designing the world to be full of images which point to his Son. These images are types.
We could continue this study forever and never reach the end of the great exploration. Jesus is the Reward of all rewards. The Power of all powers. The Solution of all solutions. The King of all kings.
If we take seriously the New Testament’s claim that all things were created by, through, and for Jesus, and if we come to terms with the titles that the Scripture applies to the Messiah – the King of kings, the Bread of Life, the True Vine, etc. – then we will not be able to escape the obvious implication that the person Jesus Christ is intimately connected and fundamental to the design of all things.
The reason I argue that all things are a type of Christ rather than merely a metaphor or an illustration is because the word type carries with it the connotation of design as opposed to happenstance. God designed food as an illustration and a metaphor. Food can be used as a metaphor for a good book, but God did not design food to ultimately point to books; God designed food to mean Jesus.
My intention is not to create a list of sermon illustrations. Rather, I want us to come to terms with the Design and the Purpose and the Orchestration of the very fabric of our reality himself: Jesus Christ. If we miss Jesus, we miss everything.
The exhortation is to enjoy life in the light of Jesus. Set aside time each day to meditate on what the Scripture says about Jesus, and to consider how the things you enjoy and interact with and struggle through and experience are all reflections of his character. Truly, he “yearns jealously over the spirit he has made to dwell in us.”
The Creator of the world does indeed pursue us in everything, and he is thoughtful in his design. It is therefore worth considering what he is saying. His Word. His Teaching. Jesus.