Abraham, Moses, Jacob, and other Old Testament patriarchs all point forward to Jesus. None is greater than Jesus and in fact the argument is made (by Paul) that none is greater than John the Baptist because he clears the path for Jesus. The New Testament, therefore is rightly devoted to Jesus Christ and his life, teachings, death, resurrection, ascension, and return. However, there is another patriarch of sorts that deserves a lot of credit for pointing back to Jesus after his ascension. The Apostle Paul.
There are 13 or 14 letters that Paul wrote that became books of the Bible and the story of Acts is largely about Paul’s missionary journeys. That is quite an impact for one man (not named Jesus) to have on the church. I dare say that no single person did a better job of explaining the Gospel to so many different kinds of people in both his time and in the centuries to come than Paul himself.
Yet he considers himself the “chief of sinners” and complains about a thorn in his flesh. Beside the glory of Christ, we all look like horrible sinners and none of us has what it takes to earn our salvation. Paul lays out his earthly resume to display that he’s got all the things that the Jews would have esteemed and then some, but he considers it all loss in relation to Christ. So it is by Faith alone that we are saved. What a relief that is.
So we should use Christ as the ultimate example and model to live by. However, if we need a more earthly bound and slightly more realistic goal, we should try to follow Paul’s lead by dying to self and living for Christ.
Bible in a year check-in: I’m in Hebrews and only have about two weeks of scheduled readings left, so I’m on schedule to finish ahead of time. Praise the Lord!