If I were a betting man (which I’m not), I would bet not too many of us would list Ezekiel in the top 5 of our favorite Bible books. Its length and strangeness may even have kept many of us from reading it all the way through. But, as it is the Word of God, there is wealth to be mined from it. Especially, when we recall Luke 24:27, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Ezekiel, then, is a book about the Lord Jesus.
As I read the first six chapters, what stood out to me was that through Ezekiel himself, we can see glimpses of Jesus.
In chapter 3, Ezekiel is told to take the scroll (God’s Word) and to eat it. He was to “feed [his] belly with the scroll…and fill [his] stomach with it.” The strength of his prophetic mission would come from the ingestion of the very words of God. Jesus overcame the devil’s temptation because He knew that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4). Jesus, the Prophet of God, lived and ministered in the power of the Word of God. We can say more: Jesus actually was the very Word of God! That is His identity not merely His calling. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:1, 14). Jesus was the Word of God enfleshed; the living, breathing, speaking, touching, walking, loving Word! In the Biblical narrative, Ezekiel points us forward to the Word Prophet.
Ezekiel was not only called to proclaim the Word of God, but he also was called to dramatize and symbolize it. Through these divinely inspired (and sometimes odd) dramas, the prophet, to some degree, identified with and experienced the sorry state of the rebellious people. As one commentator put it, “he suffered in his body the consequences of representing God before the nation and of representing the nation under God’s judgement.” Ezekiel’s identification with the people was only partial, and it wasn’t salvific. But it did serve to prepare for the Prophet whose identification with His people would be total and saving.
At birth, through life, and in death, Jesus fully identified with and represented His people in order to redeem them. The Scriptures say, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us…” (Gal 3:13); “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21); “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree….by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Pet 2:24); and, “When Christ came into the world, he said….’Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'” (Heb 10:5,7). Breathtakingly, the incarnate Word willingly submitted himself to the inscripturated Word and thereby achieved salvation for all and any who repent of their sins and trust wholly in Him.
May God give us eyes to see the beauties of Jesus in all the Scriptures.
Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.