I came across a couple verses buried in the middle of a bunch of Old Testament laws this morning that broadened my understanding of Jesus. It’s quite remarkable:

“See, I am sending my angel before you to lead you safely to the land I have prepared for you. Pay attention to him, and obey all of his instructions…. He is my representative—he bears my name.”
– Exodus 23:20-21, NLT

I checked my commentaries to see who this angel is, and nearly all agree it is the Son of God, Christ Jesus. In 1 Cor. 10:1-11, Paul himself commentates on this passage to help believers learn from Israel’s history, and he points directly to Jesus as the one who led them.

I’ve known that the Second Person of the Godhead, the Son of God, appeared in bodily form in different places and times in the Old Testament, but I guess I haven’t given it much thought before. I guess I have generally confined my understanding of Jesus to the New Testament, born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, etc. But the Son of the Most High God is much more than that! He has always existed (see John 1:1-4). In him all the fullness of God lives in bodily form (Col. 2:9). And he did not just sit around heaven for thousands of years waiting to be born of Mary!

Jesus is and has always been the Good Shepherd, who leads his people to the land prepared for us. He has always been active in this pursuit! (Read also John 10 and John 14.) He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life even in Old Testament times!

Jesus is and always has been God’s representative, bearing his name. Jesus told his disciples over and over again that he was in the Father and the Father was in him (John 14:10). Jesus’ name is powerful (John 14:14) because he bears the name of the Father. Jesus made it clear that he was sent by the Father and did nothing except what the Father instructed him to do (John 5:19; 6:38; 7:16; 8:28; etc.).

I praise you today, Lord Jesus, as the Leader of my life. You are safely leading me through the wilderness of this life to eternal life and to an abundant life during the journey. You are the Way … and that’s nothing new! Thank you for revealing to me today a new side of you, so that I may better know your voice and follow you as you lead me.

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Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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