Our Bibles are separated into 2 sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament. Our Christian Old Testament is one big book. But the Jewish or Hebrew Old Testament contains 3 parts: The Law (the first 5 books of the Bible); the Prophets; and the other Writings. Jesus said that the law, the Prophets, and the other Writings all talked about Him.
Jesus said in Luke 24:44, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
The Bible also says that on the road to Emmaus Jesus said: “He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25-27, NIV).
We are going to look at the Book of Lamentations, in the Old Testament, and we are going to see at how Jesus is talked about in this Old Testament book. Lamentation is considered in the Hebrew Bible to be a part of what is called the Writings.
In Lamentations 1:12 we read about Jerusalem and what it is going to suffer at the hands of its enemies. This is a prophecy of the Messiah (it is more clear in the second passage from the JPS):
“O Lord, look,” she mourns,
“and see how I am despised.
“Does it mean nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Look around and see if there is any suffering like mine,
which the Lord brought on me
when he erupted in fierce anger.” (Lamentations 1:12, NLT).
The Spirit of Christ is speaking through the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah is the one through whom God is speaking, but the words are coming from the Spirit of Christ.
Jeremiah is talking about the suffering of the Messiah. First the Spirit of Christ says “see how I am despised” and we know from Isaiah 53 that it is says: “He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.”
Jeremiah goes on to prophecy “look around and see if there is any suffering like mine”, and we know that Jesus had to drink the bitter cup of God’s wrath, because Jesus took upon Himself the sins of the world.
Jeremiah also says that the “Lord brought on me when he erupted in fierce anger” and here we see that the Spirit of Christ is saying that God the Father would pour out His wrath upon His Son, Jesus Christ.
In Lamentations 1:13-14 we read a more graphic prophecy about Jesus. We read about the pain and suffering the Messiah will have to endure:
“He has sent fire from heaven that burns in my bones. He has placed a trap in my path and turned me back. He has left me devastated, racked with sickness all day long. He wove my sins into ropes to hitch me to a yoke of captivity. The Lord sapped my strength and turned me over to my enemies; I am helpless in their hands.” (Lamentations 1:13-14, NLT).
God the Father poured out His wrath “from heaven” upon Jesus. We read about a yoke in verse 14. It is a yoke of captivity. A yoke is something that farmers put on cattle to keep them together so they can plow a field. But the yoke talked for Jesus is the cross. That is Jesus’ yoke of suffering and pain. The ropes talked about in verse 14 were the ropes used to tie Jesus’ arms to the cross (as nails through the wrists would not be able to hold up a person for very long). We can see Jesus hanging on the cross in the above prophecies. Verse 14 says “the Lord sapped my strength and turned me over to my enemies; I am helpless in their hands.” And Jesus was helpless in the hands of His enemies.
We read in Lamentations 2:1 that the Messiah’s body is referred to as a Temple:
“The Lord in his anger
has cast a dark shadow over beautiful Jerusalem.
The fairest of Israel’s cities lies in the dust,
thrown down from the heights of heaven.
In his day of great anger,
the Lord has shown no mercy even to his Temple (footstool in other translations).” (Lamentations 2:1, NLT).
Recall when Jesus said of Himself: “I will destroy this Temple made with human hands, and in three days I will build another, made without human hands.” (Mark 14:58, NLT). So here we see Jesus compared to a human Temple that was nailed to a cross and Lamentations provides for us the fact that the majesty of Israel, the one from heaven, the fairest of us all, would be nailed to a cross and left there to die.
In Lamentations 3:15 we read about the bitter cup that the Messiah would have to drink:
“He has filled me with bitterness and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink.” (Lamentations 3:15, NLT).
This cup of sorrow was much talked about in the Old as well as the New Testament. Jesus Himself asked His disciples:
“Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” (Matthew 20:22, NLT).
It is also recorded in the New Testament that:
“The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.” (Matthew 27:34, NLT).
In Lamentations 4 we read:
“But now the anger of the Lord is satisfied.” (Lamentations 4:11, NLT).
That is why we read in the New Testament:
“Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9, NLT).
So I hope I have given you a little glimpse into what Jesus meant when He said that the Old Testament talks about Him.