JESUS IN ISAIAH: Our God Rescues
Jn 5:39 (Jesus said)…the Scriptures point to me! NLT
Every book of the Bible points to Jesus in fascinating ways! Isaiah means the “salvation of Yahweh.” The central theme is clearly expressed in Isa 12:2 See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. NIV
The book of Isaiah provides us with the most comprehensive prophetic picture of Jesus Christ in the entire Old Testament. It includes the full scope of His life:
1. The announcement of His coming (Isa 40:3–5)
2. His virgin birth (Isa 7:14),
3. His proclamation of the Good News (Isa 61:1)
4. His sacrificial death (Isa 52:13–53:12) and
5. His powerful return (Isa 60:2–3).
As you read Isaiah you’ll discover the strong presence of judgment in the first 39 chapters yet the theme is salvation. The presence of judgment is what makes salvation understandably necessary.
In Mark 10 a rich man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus didn’t tell him that he had a God-shaped hole in his heart that only Jesus can fill and if he’d pray he’d get to go to heaven when he died.
The tragedy of modern evangelism is the focus of life-enhancement rather than the recognition of our desperate need for a savior!
Isaiah is the first book listed in the section of prophets. Prophets insist that we deal with God as God reveals himself, not as we imagine him to be. Prophets insist that God is the sovereign center not on the sidelines awaiting our beck and call.
Over several hundred years, the Hebrew people gave birth to an amazing number of prophetic men and women distinguished by the power and supernatural ability to present the reality of God.
Most people believe in God. But in honesty most of us do our best to keep God in the margins of our lives structuring our belief in God to conveniently fit us.
These men and women yelled, wept, rebuked, encouraged challenged and comforted. They used words very powerfully to help God’s people reimagine a better future! In doing so they never backed away from their conviction about the truth. Jesus is revealed powerfully and forcefully in the Prophets! People need to know the truth!
GOD’S NOT YOUR THERAPIST IN THE SKY:
2 Tim 4:2-4 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—
with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. NIV
The Bible predicts a great a day when a great number of teachers will say what society wants to hear as their message from God.
The church of our generation has attempted to reduce the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a self-serving religion. This is a false Gospel built on feel good advice giving sermons. These sermons aim for a moral lifestyle that will really benefit you if you get it right.
Our theology tends to be based on our addiction to our rights and our disconnection from obligation.
We have exchanged the priority of being deeply convicted for being greatly encouraged. Jesus wasn't addicted to affirmation nor should we be.
They didn't kill jesus because he loved the poor. He was crucified because He's politically incorrect and unbending when it comes to truth.
THIS is the Jesus i follow! Loving Jesus isn’t weak about the truth, neither is he lacking compassionate for the deceived. He’s not the effeminate sheep stroker we see in paintings!!!
Ps 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul…”
The law doesn’t save us or justify us. It just leaves us guilty before a just and holy God with an awareness that we need a Savior.
GP4RL: Realize this week that your willingness to express the love of Christ affects the eternity of other people. Make a daily difference!
As is the case with nearly all the books of “the prophets,” the book of Isaiah takes its name from its writer.
There were hundreds of prophets to Israel in Old Testament Times yet only 16 were chosen to speak what would be written into books as Holy Scripture.
The Major Prophets are made up of 5 books simply called major because they are longer letters.
Lamentations author is never mentioned but strong evidence points to Jeremiah. Then we find The Minor Prophets, shorter letters making up these remaining 12 books of the Old Testament.
Prophets train us in discerning the difference between the ways of the world and the ways of the gospel, keeping us focused on the Presence of God.
These 16 Hebrew prophets help us stay alert and knowledgeable to develop faithful and obedient lives before God. The more we understand the ways of God the more we understand that the ways of the world - its assumptions and values - are never on the side of God.
We don't read very many pages into the Prophets before realizing that there was nothing easygoing about the Prophets. They were not popular. They never achieved celebrity status. They were decidedly uncooperative to the culture of their day as it was considered secondary to the culture of God.
This makes them somewhat insensitive to our feelings. They seem to be lacking “relational skills.” We like leaders, especially religious leaders, who understand our problems and are sensitive to our needs.
Prophets don't fit into our way of life. For a people who are accustomed to "fitting God" into their lives, the prophets are hard to take and easy to dismiss. The God these prophets point to will not be confined to our preferences in our lives. If we want anything to do with him we have to conform to him.
You know you have successfully created God in your own image if it turns out he hates all the same people you do.
One of the bad habits that we pick up early in our lives is separating things and people into secular and sacred. We assume that the secular is what we are more or less in charge of: our jobs, our time, our entertainment, our government, our social relations. The sacred is what God has charge of: worship and the Bible, heaven and hell, church and prayers. We set aside a sacred place for God, designed to honor God but really intended to keep God in his place, leaving us free to have the final say about everything else that goes on.
Prophets will have none of this. They contend that everything, absolutely everything, takes place on sacred ground. God has something to say about every aspect of our lives: the way we feel and act in the so-called privacy of our hearts and homes, the way we make our money and the way we spend it, the politics we embrace, the wars we fight, the catastrophes we endure, the people we hurt and the people we help. Nothing is hidden from the sight of God, nothing is exempt from the rule of God, nothing escapes the purposes of God. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty who was and is and is to come!
Isaiah was married to a prophetess who bore him at least two sons (Isaiah 7:3; 8:3). He prophesied under the reign of four Judean kings—Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (1:1)—and he likely met his death under a fifth, the evil King Manasseh. Christian tradition as early as the second century identifies Isaiah as one of the prophets whose death is described in Hebrews 11:37, specifically the prophet who was “sawn in two.”
They delivered God's commands and promises and living presence to communities and nations who had been living on god-fantasies and god-lies.
The prophets purge our imaginations of this world's assumptions on how life is lived and what counts in life. Over and over again, God the Holy Spirit uses these prophets to separate his people from the cultures in which they live - putting them back on the path of simple faith and obedience and worship in defiance of all that the world admires and rewards
Their words and visions penetrate the illusions with which we cocoon ourselves from reality. We humans have an enormous capacity for denial and for self-deceit. We incapacitate ourselves from dealing with the consequences of sin, for facing judgment, for embracing truth. Then the prophets step in and help us to first recognize and then enter the new life God has for us, the life that hope in God opens up.
They don't explain God. They shake us out of old conventional habits of small-mindedness, of trivializing god-gossip, and set us on our feet in wonder and obedience and worship. If we insist on understanding them before we live into them, we will never get it.
Basically the prophets did two things: They worked to get people to accept the worst as God's judgment—not a religious catastrophe or a political disaster, but judgment. If what seems like the worst turns out to be God’s judgment, it can be embraced, not denied or avoided, for God is good and intends our salvation. So judgment, while certainly not what we human beings anticipate in our planned future, can never be the worst that can happen. It is the best, for it is the work of God to set the world, and us, right. And the prophets worked to get people who were beaten down to open themselves up to hope in God's future. In the wreckage of exile and death and humiliation and sin, the prophet ignited hope, opening lives to the work of salvation that God is about at all times and everywhere.