If we believe what Jesus says about our joy in him hinging on the words of God, then we need the whole Bible. To maximize our joy in him we need maximal Scripture. So let’s look at how one often-neglected section of the Bible helps us enjoy Jesus: the Minor Prophets.
When it comes to true joy, Jesus was deadly serious. He tells his disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). His words are the key to experiencing fullness of joy in our lives. But the words of Jesus are not merely what the Gospels record him saying. Jesus makes it clear that in some way everything in the Bible relates to him — his life, death, and resurrection, and his message of repentance and forgiveness (Luke 24:44–49).
If we’re honest, though, we can find parts of the Bible confusing, and even boring. We encounter strange customs, different kinds of literature, lists of unfamiliar names, and complicated systems of laws. As a result, we often gravitate toward certain parts of the Bible and avoid the uncomfortable terrain.
But if we believe what Jesus says about our joy in him hinging on the words of God, then we need the whole Bible. To maximize our joy in him we need maximal Scripture. So let’s look at how one often-neglected section of the Bible helps us enjoy Jesus: the Minor Prophets.
Six Fresh Glories
Despite their name, the “Minor” Prophets pack a major punch. These final twelve books of the Old Testament have strange names and often use poetic language to introduce people and stories that are literally thousands of years old. But when we read the Minor Prophets to know Jesus better, and enjoy him more deeply, we see his glory afresh in at least six ways.
1. Discover the character of Christ.
We see the manifold character of God that Jesus displays in his incarnation. God reveals himself as a jealous husband whose people have committed adultery with other gods (Hosea 1–3). Jesus is the Bridegroom of his redeemed people, the church (Mark 2:19–20; Ephesians 5:22–33).
God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding steadfast love, but will not clear the guilty (Jonah 4:2; Nahum 1:2–3). Jesus was the fullest embodiment of grace and truth (John 1:16–18), while at the same time being the righteous Judge who will execute God’s wrath (Revelation 19:11–21).
2. Uncover the horror of the sin for which Jesus died.
We see the horrible depths of the sin that Jesus dies for on the cross. Often in graphic detail, the Minor Prophets describe the many different ways sin manifests itself, such as spiritual adultery (Hosea 2:1–13), idolatry (Hosea 4:10–19), mistreating others (Amos 1:2–2:16; Micah 2:1–3:12), racism (Jonah 1:1–6; 4:1–11), and impurity (Malachi 1:6–14).