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THE HOLIEST WEEK 2017

WE WILL WALK TOGETHER THIS HOLY WEEK,

CONTEMPLATING THE LAMB WHO WAS SLAIN FOR US.

EACH DAY WE WILL MEDITATE TOGETHER,

DRAWING FROM THE CENTERPIECE OF THE GREAT SCROLL OF ISAIAH:

ISAIAH 53.

NO DOUBT YOU HAVE HEARD OF THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS,

AND OF HOW THESE ANCIENT TEXTS WERE DISCOVERED BEGINNING IN THE 1940’S IN THE CAVES OF QUMRAN.

AMAZINGLY, THE ANCIENT SCROLL OF ISAIAH WAS NEARLY INTACT AND WAS ONE THOUSAND YEARS OLDER THAN ANYTHING THEY HAD AT THAT POINT. 

A COPY OF THE SCROLL CAN BE SEEN IN THIS MUSEUM IN THE HOLY LAND AND THE ORIGINAL IS KEPT SEALED IN A ROOM BELOW THE MUSEUM.

I AM EAGER FOR YOU TO WATCH AN EXCELLENT DOCUMENTARY ON THIS AMAZING ARCHEOLOGICAL DISCOVERY AND ON ISAIAH 53

THAT WILL STIR YOUR SOUL

AND STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH

IN THE RELIABILITY OF THE SCRIPTURES.

EACH DAY WE WILL SEE MORE.

EACH DAY WE WILL MOVE TO HIGHER AND HOLIER GROUND.

PALM SUNDAY:

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. How will you plan to abide so that you can experience His presence this week? The homework is a bit longer, especially Good Friday, so what will you do to find the time?

3. There is so much beautiful music for holy week. If you have a favorite, share.

MONDAY-TUESDAY: The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Mystery of Isaiah 53

Watch this documentary — if you want to divide it into the two days, I suggest you go up to the advertisement for the book on Isaiah 53 and then continue after the ad on Tuesday.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDlibmSE9-c

4. Share your notes and comments on the above documentary.

WEDNESDAY: Isaiah 53:4-7

5. Read Isaiah 53:4-7

    A. For what purpose did Christ endure the beatings, the humiliation, the horrific

         pain, and the abandonment of God the Father?

I want to share comments from the last week from two of our wisest: Mary E and Diane — who know what it is to suffer.

Diane:

He suffered in every way like us (like any who have been badly bruised and mistreated). He knows our pain. Jesus knows every sorrow ever borne. I need to sit in that. Even the revulsion of the chemical attack in Syria this week!  It humbles me and also comforts me. 

Mary E:

 I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard that verse [Isaiah 53:5] misinterpreted (in my opinion) and pushed on me, “Mary, by His stripes we are HEALED” (and by that they mean healed of every, single physical ailment you could possibly ever have in this life.)  As if all Christians are supposed to only die of “old age” (as if that is natural and not part of the curse!  I mean, yes, Adam and Eve would have gotten older if they had not sinned, but not the way that we do, our bodies declining and finally dying.)  But what quickens me is that by His stripes we ARE healed of the only disease condition that really matters- sin and it’s awful consequence of separation from God.  No matter what I must face in this life, however terribly hard, even horrifying it may be, I will NEVER face it alone.  Jesus, on the other hand, faced the MOST horrifying experience a person could ever know and He faced it alone, forsaken by God so that He could promise me that He will never leave or forsake me.  I remember years ago thinking that if I had been in the garden with Him I would have been whispering in His ear, “Please don’t do it, I’m not worth it, truly, I am not worth this….”  But all the pleading in the world could not have stopped His relentless love from driving Him to that cross.

B. What thoughts do you have on Diane and Mary’s comments?

C. To what are we compared in Isaiah 53:6? What do you know about sheep that could give you insight into our sin nature?

Did you know that sheep don’t want to be found?

That is why the shepherd must put him on his shoulders

and clasp his legs.

D. How is the coming Messiah described in Isaiah 53:7? How was the fulfilled by Jesus?

MAUNDY THURSDAY: Isaiah 53:8-10

If you purchased Tim Keller’s Series, Songs of the Servant, this would be the day to listen to Pierced for our Iniquities. It is wonderful, but it is also accidentally truncated at 23 minutes, so I’m not asking the rest of you to buy it. But if you did get it, listen and share your thoughts with us.

6. What thoughts and comments do you have on Pierced for our Iniquities?

7. Isaiah said the Messiah would “make his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death.” How was that fulfilled?

 

8. How does Isaiah show us that the suffering of the Messiah was not a cruel accident according to verse 10? Why did the God the Father will this, and why did God the Son comply?

 

 

 

GOOD FRIDAY: Isaiah 53:11-12

PREPARE YOUR HEART WITH THIS:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7ZJ5D5q54g

9. Meditate on verse 11. What do you think the first part of the verse means?

Read this from scholar Peter Flint:

 

The Great Isaiah Scroll and the Original Bible – An Interview with Dr Peter Flint

10. Share your comments and notes.

11. What additional word did the Isaiah scroll have for verse 11? Comments?

 

I found it interesting that the resurrection was part of his satisfaction — the light after the darkness. But I also believe, according to the rest of verse 11, that His satisfaction was also due to the fact that He rescued us, that He now has a bride who is perfectly pure.

12. Write a prayer of praise for the suffering servant who did this for you and was satisfied by the fruit of His anguish.

Holy Saturday

13. What is your take-a-way this holy week and why?

 

 

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109 comments

  1. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?  The little, bound Lamb.  It is sad that he will be sacrificed for the sins of others, while he is innocent.  And I’m in awe that God kept Isaiah 53 preserved on the original scroll!  
    2. How will you plan to abide so that you can experience His presence this week? The homework is a bit longer, especially Good Friday, so what will you do to find the time?  Going to make a big effort to get up earlier than normal this week.
    3. There is so much beautiful music for holy week. If you have a favorite, share. 
    what comes to mind right now, is Come To The Table by Michael Card:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY0s6n0u9Vs  “The hand that is breaking the bread, soon will be broken”  To be there in that moment, yet not realizing that till after the fact…wow.  

    1. I love that Michael Card song!

  2. PALM SUNDAY:
    1.  What stands out to you from the above and why?
    “AMAZING ARCHEOLOGICAL DISCOVERY AND ON ISAIAH 53
    THAT WILL STIR YOUR SOUL
    AND STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH
    IN THE RELIABILITY OF THE SCRIPTURES.
    EACH DAY WE WILL SEE MORE.
    EACH DAY WE WILL MOVE TO HIGHER AND HOLIER GROUND.”
    Sorry this is long.
    The evidence in all of science that points to the truth of God’s Word is amazing to me. Although faith is defined as the substance of things unseen, I echo what Dallas Willard has said about faith in a short devotional… The central teachings of the Christian religion, such as those of the Apostles’ Creed, were from the beginning presented and accepted as knowledge—knowledge of what is real and what is right. That is why they had the transforming effect they did on a world dead set against them. Indeed, the biblical tradition as a whole presents itself, rightly or wrongly, as one of knowledge of God. Then, within that overarching context of knowledge, there do arise specific occasions of faith and commitment to action extending beyond what is known, but still conditioned upon the knowledge of God. Consider the biblical stories. When, for example, Abraham left his homeland and went out “not knowing” where he was going, he did so because of his knowledge of God and of God’s constant care in his life. He did not do it wondering whether God existed or was with him. The same was true of his willingness to offer up his son Isaac. The very ground of his actions in faith without specific knowledge was precisely overarching knowledge of his God, who spoke to him and acted in his life.Dallas Willard
    I am not really sure if this ties up with the archaeology discovery here. To me, faith is based on my knowledge of who God is. It should not surprise me then that archaeology or any science knowledge available to us is congruent to the work of only One-the triune God.
    I am rambling here.
     
    2. How will you plan to abide so that you can experience His presence this week? The homework is a bit longer, especially Good Friday, so what will you do to find the time?
    I have just come back from an exhilarating 3 day state contest with my students. 6 of them won gold! Throughout these days, my back troubled me a bit but God provided a special student (a contestant) to be my sidekick. She blessed my heart-I saw it as God’s provision. I sensed His presence but it was with real intention on my part-the world has a way of sucking me into its mold if I am not careful.
    Good Friday and the following Monday is a no school day for us. I see it as God’s provision for this week’s Good Friday homework.
    2.  There is so much beautiful music for holy week. If you have a favorite, share.
    Up from the grave He arose
    With a mighty triumph o’er His foes
    He arose a victor from the dark domain
    And He lives forever with His saints (including me-Lord, that you would deem me worthy I am forever grateful) to reign
     
    He arose, he arose Hallelujah Christ arose!!!

    1. Bing, that quote from Dallas Willard provides much food for thought….that’s the kind of stuff we should be “feeding our minds”. I’m just curious, Bing….are you a nursing instructor at a college?

      1. Susan, I used to be a nurse instructor for nursing students. Now I teach high school students at a technical school. My class is called health science technology, a practical arts 3 credit class. most of my students want to go into nursing but I do have some who are interested in medicine, pharmacy, veterinary, therapy. This year has been a class of above average students and working with them have really stretched me, for good that is. Lately, I have started a special training on dementia and found it becoming a passion. All for God’s glory and doing my part to bring about His purposes of healing in the art of nursing.
        Yes, I love Dallas Willard and hope to get some of his books someday soon. He was a man of such depth.

        1. Bing, I know you are a caring, passionate instructor! Thanks for sharing a bit about your life….I knew you had a nursing background and was imagining you being an instructor at a college of nursing!

      1. Yes, Dee. This back issue is fast becoming a thorn in the flesh. Challenging to live by grace but I am confident His grace will be sufficient.

    2. I love that old hymn too, Bing!  Hope we sing i next Sunday! 😀
       

    3. I also love “Up From the Grave He Arose!” I think it’s my favorite for this time of the season.

  3. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    I remember hearing about the finding of those scrolls – so fascinating. I wonder who put them there, and what a miracle that they survived intact!
     
    2. How will you plan to abide so that you can experience His presence this week? The homework is a bit longer, especially Good Friday, so what will you do to find the time?
     
    I’ll have to get up extra early; I work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and then my daughter’s spring break starts Thursday. I’ve been listening to Chip Ingram podcasts and this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that Chip used has been on my mind: “Life consists in what we think about all day long.” My thoughts are often a jumble of stuff, from one thing to another….family stuff, work stuff, what needs to be done, relationships, daydreaming, and recently I’ve been watching a series on TV – I’m not one who very often gets involved in following a particular program/series, but there is one I’ve been watching all the episodes now for a couple of weeks, and I find myself during the day thinking about the characters and what’s going on in the show as if it’s real – and I know it’s not! It boggles my mind all the things that can fill my mind! And how a lot of it is a waste of mental time, and then I heard that quote….I think I need to made a concentrated effort this week to take a break from this TV show. As I was thinking about this quote this morning, I asked myself, “So if my life consists in what I think about all day long, what should I be thinking about?” I believe the answer is found in the Bible, in verses like Psalm 1, “but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” That’s what I should be thinking about! Of course, I have to also think about other “life stuff”, but maybe I need to write a few verses down on cards and carry them with me this week….even at work, in the back of my mind, I could be meditating on Him.

    1. Susan, the quote from Ingram struck me as well. lately, it has been work for me and particularly how to get my students now to a good placing at Nationals. Like you, I need to grab my Bible and in my case , find verses about glorifying God in what I do. I find success has a way of messing with my mind and all I really want is to do God’s will and please ONLY HIM. I am asking He tempers my success and failure with the reality of his constant love and the fellowship of suffering with Jesus.

  4. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    The dead sea scrolls and the reliability of Scripture. I look forward to watching the video, and so look forward to moving higher up and closer in.
     
    I have had a rough few weeks and see my sin..again.. I am holding onto frustration right now and see how I am like the sheep Dee mentioned later on in this study-I couldn’t help but scroll down. 🙂 I don’t want him to find me! I AM IN AWE THAT GOD MADE SHEEP LIKE THAT!!! Like Adam and Eve after they sinned, they hid, but He went to them looking for them..like the Shepherd goes and gets his sheep, and He carries the sheep–
     
    2. How will you plan to abide so that you can experience His presence this week? The homework is a bit longer, especially Good Friday, so what will you do to find the time?
    I have started memorizing the book of Ephesians-I don’t plan to all in one week of course but I am experiencing His presence.
    I plan to get up a half hour earlier. 

    1. Rebecca, I’m so sorry that you are on a rough road these days.  Sometimes that road seems to stretch out in front of us with no end in sight.  Praying you will feel Him lifting you up and placing you on His shoulders this week to carry you as your legs get weary.  Praying also for a bright spot for you this week, that He will encourage your heart.

    2. Way to go, Rebecca! I am sure that memorizing Ephesians will be a great blessing to you!

  5.    3. There is so much beautiful music for holy week. If you have a favorite, share.
     When my two daughters (now adults) were five and seven, I taught them this Michael Card song and we sang it at church and another event.   They memorized and sang the questions and my husband and I sang the answers.   I will forever think of this song when I come to Holy Week: 
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmh-HO0cH_Y      
     
    My little girls and I also sang this Twila Paris song for several Easters:
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_-flIpeAsc
     
    Grateful that those words imprinted themselves on their young hearts and that those memorized words remain.  
     

  6. 2. How will you plan to abide so that you can experience His presence this week? The homework is a bit longer, especially Good Friday, so what will you do to find the time?
     
    Well, thank you for this challenge, Dee.   I’ve been very slowly reading Union with Christ and will carve out more time to keep reading.    I will get my guitar out and my binder of  music and go through some of the old and new songs which speak truth to my soul.
     
    Last night I went to the newly released movie, A Case for Christ.    It was such a good and contemplative way to start this week.    And I think an excellent movie to take a friend who is searching for truth.

    1. Thanks for sharing about that movie, Nila.  I’ll look for it in my area!

    2. Nila, am reading Union with Christ as well. I cry every time I pick up and read a section of the book.

  7. 3. There is so much beautiful music for holy week. If you have a favorite, share.
    (I posted an answer to this early this morning and it looks like it has disappeared :\   It showed as being posted, but not anymore.   Will try again.)
     
    When our little girls were five and seven, they would sing the questions and my husband and I would sing the answers to this truly beautiful Michael Card song entitled, Why:
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmh-HO0cH_Y
     
    Also, for several years my little daughters (now adults and with families of their own) and I sang this Twila Paris song every Easter.  They memorized their parts and the song has been etched in their memory all of these many years later.    
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_-flIpeAsc
     
     
     

  8. Dee,
    I have tried posting a response to question number three twice.  It seems to post fine and shows up and then it disappears.  My post has a link to two songs.

  9. Hi dear sisters–oh how I love this week, just love Easter so much. I never feel like I have fully prepared my heart “enough”, though I’ve been enjoying my Easter devotion “Keep Me Near the Cross”. Rebecca–so impressed with your memorization, I have to confess that I so struggled with my 1 John memorization! but…I am at chapter 5 in hand writing out each verse and that has been such a blessing to me, I am going to continue with more books. This morning I was struck by how easy it is for me to try to steal glory for myself–whether overt or subtle–but He has shown me by example–true humility, laying down my life, and then He shares His glory with me. What a Savior!
    SO many great hymns to choose, but we sang this this morning and the old Amy Grant version always takes me back to 8th grade. O Sacred Head: https://youtu.be/YKwsILM-z_I

    1. I can’t believe I have never heard that little song before in my life!  It’s precious.  Thanks for sharing, Lizzy.

    2. Lizzy-Chapter 5?!?! That is GREAT!!!! KEEP IT UP!! 🙂 🙂 

      1. oh no Rebecca, Dee-I must clarify! I am on Chapter 5 of writing out each verse by hand, NOT memorizing! If there is any trust to the idea that some are just better at memorizing (and that is not just a made-up-cop-out of mine), then I am NOT one of those people! I got one of those “Journibes” (not a journal Bible, but a journal made for each book of the Bible to write out each verse and notes. After this, I really would like to memorize (just) Romans 8. I love John’s heart, but the way he talks…hard on my “reader’s digest-type” brain! ; )

  10. Wonderful posts as always! What stood out to me was the picture of the lamb with tied up feet! I just can’t imagine how Jesus let Himself be bound & tortured & sacrificed for us…so hard to wrap my head around…yet I know it is True. What a wonderful self-less Great Shepherd He is!! I have so many songs that I love but one fairly recent one is “Boldly I approach Your Throne” by Rend Collective. You can U tube it..I don’t know how to attach it here (a bit tech challenged/ haha). And then of course “In Christ Alone”. How will I make rrom for Him this Holy week…I’m going to set the alarm for early & try to open my heart & receive Him afresh. I pray for a brighter glimpse of Him this week & a fresh touch of His Presence.

  11. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? 
     
    The dead sea scrolls have facinated me since I heard of their discovery. I don’t know much about them. Looking forward to learning!
     
    2. How will you plan to abide so that you can experience His presence this week? The homework is a bit longer, especially Good Friday, so what will you do to find the time?
     
    This is hard for me; fitting more into my schedule. I think I could eat lunch alone instead of with the department or have quiet time in the afternoon when I get home. These times would be in addition to my 5:00am blog time.

  12. 4. Share your notes and comments on the above documentary. 
     
    The parallels of the OT and the NT are fantastic! I never really knew this before. I guess the Jews don’t read the NT, so they don’t acknowledge it as being a valid source of the times? If I were Jewish, and knew these parallels, I would have to become a Christian! It’s SO obvious to me.
     

    1. Laura, that is exactly what happens when someone Jewish sees the parallels and considers them. That is what happened to the Jewish woman Robyn who spoke at our church last month and is serving with Chosen People Ministries. I mentioned her in one of my posts last week. 

      1. Oh Bev! That’s so cool! I must have missed that last week.

  13. 4. Share your notes and comments on the above documentary.
    First half of video: NOTES:
    Isaiah 53. Identify this one whom the lord calls my servant. In the rabbinic version it adds the word Messiah. Many citations could say this is a messianic passage. 
    Ancient interpreters understood it to be a messianic passage. What is the Messiah’s name? The sick one for he shall bear our sicknesses. 
    The unnamed servant succeeds by suffering, not by power or might bringing healing not only to Israel but to the world. 
    For centuries the rabbis were trying to figure out who this servant was. Some thought it was two messiahs. messiah son of David and messiah son of joseph. Ancient copies were discovered near the Dead Sea. Isaiah they have 21 copies. The only full copy is the Isaiah scroll so it was important in Qumran. 
    Isaiah 40:3 is the same verse mentioned in Mark in regard to John the Baptist explaining why John the Baptist is announcing the coming of Messiah. 
    My Comment: What struck me besides how magnanimous the prophecy-is God’s passion for His people who have turned their backs..God warning His unrighteous people, yet His desire to become a man to save them and bring them back to Him and not only them-us. And what melted me is this: “The un-named servant succeeds by suffering, not by power and might.” 
     
     
     

  14. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? 
    It is amazing that the scrolls were almost completely intact and 1,000 years older than  any other writings.  In my mind it was miraculous.  
    2. How will you plan to abide so that you can experience His presence this week? The homework is a bit longer, especially Good Friday, so what will you do to find the time?
    Experiencing Him comes from what I read and study from the Word and the music I listen to.  The challenge is to make time to be alone but God is faithful to provide as I seek Him. 
    3. There is so much beautiful music for holy week. If you have a favorite, share.
    For me it is without a doubt “In Christ Alone”
    I haven’t figured out yet how to add a link here But I like the performances by Kristin Getty. Reading the history of how God brought Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend together to write the music snd the lyrics is interesting and how they have refused requests to let contemporary hymnals change the  the wording that speaks to the wrath of God being satisfied. 
    quote by Keith Getty
    “As people in the pew sing “In Christ Alone,” we pray they understand the many attributes of God. His sovereign power, grace, love, justice and wrath all are intertwined. And we shouldn’t turn away from exploring his wrath, because through understanding God’s righteous anger toward sin, we understand his desire for justice and peace. As J. I. Packer so clearly explains in Knowing God, God is not just unless he inflicts upon all sin and wrongdoing the penalty it deserves. While we may think it severe, we desperately need God’s wrath—a holy and just response to evil—to restore the broken world in which we live.”

    1. Bev, I absolutely LOVE that song, In Christ Alone!  We have not sung it in the church I am a member of now at all that I can recall, and I miss it so much!

    2. Bev–love that song too and the Getty’s, and Stuart Townsend music! That is most of what we sing in my Church. Funny tidbit–at my Walmart, there is one checker who hums “In Christ Alone” ALL DAY LONG. Every time I’m there (which is quite a lot) I try to get in her line–it’s just the sweetest! 🙂

      1. 😀

  15. Is anyone else having trouble posting here?

  16.     A. For what purpose did Christ endure the beatings, the humiliation, the horrific  pain, and the abandonment of God the Father?
     
    He suffered to save us. We are healed and forgiven because of His sacrifice. Our grief is His. Our wounds and sufferings are on Him.

  17. What stands out for me?
    The visuals as usual just draw me in. The lamb for the sacrifice with the legs bound is etched in my mind’s eye.
    I look forward to learning more of the historical background of Isaiah. I have found the study of Isaiah very challenging and just want to know more.
    This special week always brings me to contemplate the suffering of my Savior and all the events that occurred. I will abide by reading, praying and singing the beautiful music. Today I sang 3 hymns, The Old Rugged Cross, Alas and Did My Savior Die and Lamb of God by Twila Paris which we sang at church yesterday.
    The youtube version of Alas and Did My Savior Die by Red Mountain Church is beautiful. The words are wonderful and touch my heart. At the cross where I first saw the light and the burden of my heart rolled away..
    “dissolve my heart in thankfulness and melt my heart to tears.” Isaac Watt’s hymn is my favorite.

    1. Shirley-such good hymns! You reminded me of another Red Mountain one I LOVE for this week: “It is Finished” https://youtu.be/70D_W8hGBQ4

  18. 4. Share your notes and comments on the above documentary.  Good information.  I guess the scrolls were not the originals, but copies that a people group living near the dead sea had made and tried to preserve and that people group must have believed that they were close to the fulfillment of that prophecy in Isaiah 53.  The point is made that obviously Isaiah 53 could not be talking about the Jewish people because Israel can’t die for Israel…as the Messiah would.  Another thing which the documentary brought out that I did not know is that Christ is the Greek word for Messiah.  I should have known that after all these years of knowing Him, but I’m glad to know it now. 🙂  So His disciples were calling Him Messiah, though they obviously still did not fully grasp until after His death what Him being their Messiah would entail, as many thought it would mean deliverance from Rome.  

  19. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    The photos of the Dead Sea Scrolls.   I have always been intrigued by the fact that they were discovered so many centuries later.   I hold to the thought that God kept them hidden until He wanted them discovered.   Also new discoveries have continued to happen, and I believe there are at least a dozen caves that have been found in the Qumran area.  
     
    2. How will you plan to abide so that you can experience His presence this week? The homework is a bit longer, especially Good Friday, so what will you do to find the time?
     
    You ask a very good question!!    Holy Week appears to be jam-packed, and Good Friday in particular is jam-packed – with good things like a prayer vigil at church, and working in a food pantry, and preparations for our Easter celebration.    I plan to work ahead as much as possible.  
     
    3. There is so much beautiful music for holy week. If you have a favorite, share.
     
    I tried unsuccessfully to find “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” on YouTube, but couldn’t find one that used all of the verses.    I particularly wanted verse 4.   So since the lyrics were most important to me, I decided just to post the lyrics.   I would imagine most of you know the tune.   
     
    Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
    The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;
    A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
    From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.
     
    O safe and happy shelter, O refuge tried and sweet,
    O trysting place where Heaven’s love and Heaven’s justice meet!
    As to the holy patriarch that wondrous dream was given,
    So seems my Savior’s cross to me, a ladder up to heaven.
     
    There lies beneath its shadow but on the further side
    The darkness of an awful grave that gapes both deep and wide
    And there between us stands the cross two arms outstretched to save
    A watchman set to guard the way from that eternal grave.
     
    Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
    The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
    And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;
    The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.
     
    I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
    I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
    Content to let the world go by to know no gain or loss,
    My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.
     

  20. Here is my song for this week. If I can, I will try to record my former group dancing this piece from a video tape, and post it on the Facebook page. It was very long ago. However it was pretty moving. 
     
    https://youtu.be/K2iiM3H0KWk

    1. The name is “Thy Will Be Done.”

  21. B. What thoughts do you have on Diane and Mary’s comments?
     
    It strikes me the humility these sisters in Christ have and demonstrate time and time again though they have been through many trials and continue to suffer and look to Christ for His guidance. They decrease and He increases. Thank you ladies for being such good examples for the rest of us.

  22. 4. Share your notes and comments on the above documentary.
     
    I didn’t take any notes, just sat back, closed my eyes and listened! It was very informative and I like how they tied-in the New Testament with Isaiah. When I think about how the ancient people had to hand copy those scrolls….how painstaking, slow, and careful!
    I went back to my former church on Palm Sunday as I saw that they were going to preach on Isaiah; the sermon was on Isaiah 28 and the pastor tied it in beautifully with Palm Sunday. Jesus is seen in this portion of Isaiah as the “cornerstone” that God laid in Zion.
     
     

  23. Second half of video:
     
    It’s so funny to me how I struggle with poetry, especially things that Jesus talks about in the New Testament because he speaks in parables, but I can clearly understand what Isaiah is trying to say!  I suppose if there were scholars who were Jewish men saying Isaiah was referring to the nation of Israel, I would tend to want to believe those commentaries, just as we do today.  Think about what it would feel like if people like Matthew Henry, Charles Baylis or Jonathan Edwards, etc. were wrong in their analyses, but we believed what they said?  Was the Nation of Israel really beat beyond recognition? Isaiah continually refers to “…he this and he that…”
     
    “By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?”
    ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭53:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    http://bible.com/59/isa.53.8.esv
     
     
    Finally, scripture I can understand and some people interpret it in analogies for something else! Lol! 
     
    The OT and NT stories are just too in line for me not to believe Isaiah was not speaking of Christ. How sad for the Jews though. I guess they are still “wandering,” aren’t they?

    1. Laura,  I love this about you!!..:-) “Finally, scripture I can understand and some people interpret it in analogies for something else! Lol! ”  

  24. 4. Share your notes and comments on the above documentary.
    Video part 2:
    This time I didn’t take notes, but to be reminded this morning that He came as a servant-giving His life away for us. When He went to the cross Jesus was disfigured beyond recognition, humiliated, torn down physically and then God forsook Him…what He went through for us.  

  25. 5. Read Isaiah 53:4-7
        A. For what purpose did Christ endure the beatings, the humiliation, the horrific pain, and the abandonment of God the Father?
    So He could take on our sins against God-He was condemned by God, forsaken-completely alone in His suffering so we would never have to be-so that He could bear our suffering-walk with us through it so we would never be alone….OH.

  26. B. What thoughts do you have on Diane and Mary’s comments?
    They have truly walked through darkness feeling the sting of isolation in it, yet He has walked with them through it bringing them comfort in that sting so I can see through their comments they are letting Him comfort them instead of their idol. In their comments I get a glimpse of their hearts! They massage the Gospel deep down into their heart and it is beautiful to see their affection for Him rising up. 

  27. 5.A. For what purpose did Christ endure the beatings, the humiliation, the horrific pain, and the abandonment of God the Father?  For the purpose of bringing near to God, we who were far off.
    C. To what are we compared in Isaiah 53:6? What do you know about sheep that could give you insight into our sin nature?  We are compared to sheep.  Sheep are herding animals, who prefer to be with the group and will follow another sheep, even to their own death…like off a cliff.  What I just read about sheep is that when one leaves the herd (or falls behind) it is usually an indicator that it is not feeling well/is ill.  People care a lot about the opinions of others and will sometimes also follow the crowd, to their own detriment, rather than following the Lord.  I did not know that they don’t want to be found when they wander off!  That’s interesting.  I guess sometimes when we are feeling weak and vulnerable we also just want to go hide and not be found, and yet what we need the very most, in order to not be even more vulnerable to the enemy, is TO be found by the Good Shepherd, and returned to the fold.

  28. D. How is the coming Messiah described in Isaiah 53:7? How was the fulfilled by Jesus?  He was oppressed and afflicted but He did not open His mouth, “like a lamb before the slaughter or a sheep before the shearer…”  Jesus fulfilled this in that He did not resist the horror that He knew was about to come upon Him.  He didn’t lash out or yell or protest what was to come, he quietly subjected Himself to it all.  The only One He cried out to was the Father, but said, “not My will, but Thy will be done.”  (just as He had taught the disciples to pray, so He prayed, “Thy will be done…”  
     

  29. MONDAY-TUESDAY: The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Mystery of Isaiah 53 
    4.Shareyour notes and comments on the above documentary. 
    The documentary is excellent and well done.  And so affirming of the amazing work of God to preserve His written Word.  And I appreciate the expertise of the contributors to unravel the mystery of the Suffering Servant.  
    I am fascinated by God’s faithfulness to lead me and teach me. I am so appreciative of the excellent teaching God has sent my way through this blog and the study of Isaiah 53 for lent and Holy week. Several months ago before I became part of this group at our church womens group a young woman Jennifer who worked for 10 years with Chosen People Ministries but now works at our church gave a lesson on Isaiah. She recommended a free little book called “Isaiah 53 Explained” by Mitch Glaser. (-:  I had sent for it and just hadn’t taken time to read it until this week. Last week I referred to it in some of my comments. Now today in the documentary there are ads for the book.  The book is written from a Jew to Jews specifically making the case that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah Based on Isaiah 53.  At the same time as I am doing this study my son & daughter inlaw travel to Israel on a tour arranged and set up by Jennifer. My son came home and shared many pictures they took of the places they visited among which are the caves of Qumran.  As would be expected Israel really became  alive to our kids during their time there.  It has already impacted my son’s preaching. Side note: Tyce attended Dallas Theological Seminary and Darrell Bock was one of his favorite professors. 
    I also appreciate Dee’s encouragement to abide and experience the Lord’s presence this week.  I find myself thinking about the house guests I will be having and all the meal preparation for Easter dinner overtaking my thoughts.  I am old enough and experienced enough to know that stuff will all get done but I still tend to let it consume me.  I just don’t want to miss really meeting with Jesus this week. To be reminded we stand on Holy ground together as we meditate on these passages. 

    1. Bev, how cool is that which has happened to you and your family! From the little book of Isaiah 53, to your son’s trip to Israel. God is so good in tying things together. Yes, we are indeed on Holy Ground. School is so busy for me and am thankful for the study here-it centers me. The readings here are God’s ways of reminding me that I need to seek Him first amidst the hustle and bustle of life. For after all , He does promise that if we seek Him with all our hearts we will find Him. And that if we seek God’s kingdom first and His righteousness, we should not worry about how to live life because seeking Him and honoring Him is what life is all about anyway.

      1. Ernema, your nickname must be Bing?  At first when I saw that I thought Dee and those who know you were saying “Bing!” as in “Right on!” In other words that they were affirming your comments. Haha (-:  I am slowly getting a feel for the different personalities represented here on this blog. And I have a deepening and growing appreciation for those who participate. 

  30. 4. Share your notes and comments on the above documentary.
     
    FIRST HALF DOCUMENTARY NOTES: 
     
    A vision is given during troubled times to the people of Jerusalem living under the eminent threat of invasion.   They were invaded by Sennacherib (Assyrian).  God was trying to get Judah’s attention, as they had turned their backs on what God had said in the Torah.  The vision expressed both warnings and hope for Isaiah’s time, while including predictions that reached to the end of the age.     
     
    In graphic detail, it spoke of a servant deliverer whose identity seemed hidden in a kind of prophetic riddle.   Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is a messianic passage.    In the Talmud it says the sick one shall bear our sicknesses, quoting Isaiah 53.   Bock said “the righteous remnant could fit this role, but whole nation of Israel was not righteous”.   In 41st chapter, Israel is referred to as a servant nation, but sometimes one individual within the nation is referred to as the servant.    It says the Servant dies for the sins of “my people”   Whether it is Israel speaking, God speaking, or Isaiah speaking, the only answer to the question of who are “my people” is “it is Israel.”  So how could Israel die for Israel as a substitution?   
     
    The unnamed servant succeeds and conquers not by power, but by surrender and suffering, bringing healing for His people, the Jewish people, and the world.
     
    For centuries the rabbis of Israel reflected on the mysteries of what Isaiah had foreseen.   Some suggested that Isaiah was predicting two messiahs, two deliverers – one in the military legacy of King David, another who like the Patriarch Joseph would rescue his people through suffering.  
     
    Just as the modern nation of Israel was being reborn, the prophecies of Isaiah resurfaced.  The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves in the area of Qumran (on the NW shore of the Dead Sea), 530 kilometers east of Jerusalem.   The air was bone-dry, perfect for preserving and hiding the manuscripts. 
     
    The Essenes broke from mainstream Judaism and retreated to seek the Lord in the wilderness.  The Book of Isaiah was among the post popular and most admired books for the sect.  Out of the 220 biblical copies in Qumran, the only full copy is the great Isaiah scroll.   There were many examples in the Book of Isaiah about a future savior and the end of history.  They regarded the Roman threat to be parallel to the threat felt by the Jerusalemites from Assyria.   
     

    1. Deanna, thanks for your wonderful notes again. Wow-Isaiah 53-I look and beheld the fulfillment of the prophecy in Jesus. He  is even more lovely, uncontained by time and space and moving slow in history but with PERFECTION. We love you, Lord!

  31. SECOND HALF DOCUMENTARY NOTES: 
     
    The Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum houses the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit.  Within this 20 599 scroll of Isaiah are ancient predictions of a restored people and of a global peace.   Yet with the promise comes an unfolding drama.   The 53rd chapter of Isaiah tells the story of the Suffering Servant that would eventually be claimed by followers of Jesus.   
     
    Jesus and his disciples didn’t see themselves as starting a new religion, but part of a new era in Judaism.  Isaiah is the oft-quoted prophet in the New Testament writings.   In the gospels, there is only one story where it is said He reads from a book.  It is in the gospel of Luke, chapter 4.    It is the story of Jesus, when He was in Nazareth for the Sabbath, and was asked to read from a scroll.
    The Book of Isaiah was given to Him and He read from Isaiah, chapter 61.   He read and then said “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”   
     
    The story in Acts 8 of the Ethiopian royal official who was reading Isaiah 53 and trying to figure out “Who is this Servant?”  At this point he meets Phillip who was a Jewish follower of Jesus.  Phillip had been taught by the disciples and learned of Isaiah 53 and its application to Jesus being the messiah.   When Phillip meets the royal official, he asks if he knows who is reading about.   The royal official says “I don’t know – there is no one here to explain it to me.   Then Phillip shows him how Jesus is the fulfillment of this passage.  Immediately the royal official believes and becomes a follower of Jesus as well.  
     
    What made people see Jesus as more than just another rabbi?   After the tragic unexpected execution of their teacher,   followers of Jesus claimed to be eye-witnesses of His resurrection.   Before long they were also seeing in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah an ancient portrait of the remarkable events they had just witnessed.   In verse after verse, they saw detailed description of the life of Jesus.   His terrible sacrificial death and resurrection.   They saw Jesus as the unnamed suffering servant in Isaiah 53.    It is shocking to see the Servant of the Lord experiencing a humiliating death.  It talks about Him being crushed for our iniquities.   He is beaten beyond recognition.  It is an excruciating, humiliating, disfiguring death that He faces.  Also says He was pierced through for our iniquities.   The Servant is dying to pay the punishment of our sins.   He is exchanging His life so we can be forgiven. 
     
    The nation of Israel also suffered tragically. Through Israel’s suffering somehow healing comes to the world.   Then at the end, the Gentiles realize that through Israel’s suffering “Healing has come our way.”  
     
    First century Israel certainly knew about suffering.   Jesus was not the only one crucified.  Some were still looking for a messiah to deliver them from Roman occupation.   There had been 400 years since there had been a prophet to show them the way.   The Rabbi from Nazareth didn’t meet the expectations of many in Jerusalem.  The primary Jewish expectation even among the Disciples was that the messiah would rule and reign over the kingdom,  and destroy the yoke of Rome, and set the Jewish people free.  
     
    In contrast Jesus presented himself humbly as the Servant of Isaiah, conquering by surrender and suffering.   At the Last Supper Jesus takes what is Passover and changes the imagery, and relates it all to himself.   In the midst of doing that, he speaks about the blood being shed on behalf of many.   The illusion is to Isaiah 53.   While speaking to the Disciples of His death, He spoke of the future kingdom foreseen by Isaiah.   He said He had not come to abolish the law and the prophets – but to fulfill them.
     
    Was that Servant a nation that suffered, or was the servant a Son of David who said he came to serve and suffer? 
     
    All prophecies are tested by time.   
     

  32. I learned a lot from watching the video, but as I read Deanna’s notes it all came together in a much more organized way than my notes! Thanks, Deanna.
    Isaiah has been a difficult book for me, but the passages about the suffering servant are so clearly related to Christ’s suffering.
    I am amazed at the preservation of these scrolls and would love to visit the Israel Museum. God does reveal ancient truths to us in his time.
    I always loved the story of the Ethiopian official who was reading the Isaiah scroll and encountered Philip who explained it to him and he became a believer!
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  33. C. To what are we compared in Isaiah 53:6? What do you know about sheep that could give you insight into our sin nature?
     
    We are compared to stray sheep. We are only concerned with ourselves and our sin. Sheep wander, they are stubborn, and loners. They are sneaky and hard to catch. How interesting that we could be just like sheep. something else  interesting is that Christ is the slain lamb. So was he also a wanderer, who didn’t want to be caught? Who was stubborn and a loner. I do think he was a loner, and wandered. However, I’m not sure about stubborn and not willling to be caught though. That doesn’t make sense to me.
     

  34. D. How is the coming Messiah described in Isaiah 53:7? How was the fulfilled by Jesus?
     
    He is described as “oppressed and afflicted but quiet,” like a lamb led to the slaughter.
     
    Jesus was humiliated, and led to be whipped and killed, but was quiet just like the lamb.
     
    7. Isaiah said the Messiah would “make his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death.” How was that fulfilled?
     
     
    Christ was hung between two sinners and laid to rest in a tomb on the land of Joseph, a wealthy man. Wow, I actually remembered something from scripture! Yay!
     
     
    “When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭27:57-60‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    http://bible.com/59/mat.27.57-60.esv

  35. 5.Read Isaiah 53:4-7
     
    A. For what purpose did Christ endure the beatings, the humiliation, the horrific pain, and the abandonment of God the Father?
     
    The purpose was to bring us to God, to reconcile us to God, to make it possible for us to be at peace with God….“the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him….” The only way to have peace with God is to have sin dealt with; God requires the death of the sinner as payment. “He was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities.” Jesus took our place.
     
    B. What thoughts do you have on Diane’s and Mary’s comments?
     
    What I see in their comments is the answer that so many ask when suffering, pain, and tragedy occurs: “Where is God?” or “How can a good God let evil and suffering happen?” I believe that both Mary and Diane are convinced in their hearts that God is good; that even when suffering comes, it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love them. Jesus’ enduring the Cross shows us the depth of His love for us. And Mary is right – sin is the one and only disease that can really destroy us.
     
    C. To what are we compared in Isaiah 53:6? What do you know about sheep that could give you insight into our sin nature?
     
    We are compared to sheep. Sheep have a shepherd whose job is to keep them safe and provide them with food and water. But sheep aren’t very smart, and they go off and wander and they don’t know, understand, or think of the possible consequences, such as they could become prey for a wild animal. My sin nature also causes me to wander away from my Shepherd, thinking there is something better over there that will make me happy. Sometimes I don’t stop to think of the consequences. I have a bent inside of me that naturally wants to go my own way.

  36. D. How is the coming Messiah described in Isaiah 53:7? How was this fulfilled by Jesus?
     
    Messiah is described as a sacrificial lamb that is led to the slaughter, and He remained silent. I think this speaks of Jesus’ trust in His Father. I am imagining that perhaps a lamb was “led” to the slaughter because it trusted the person who was leading it and it didn’t resist and fight. Jesus didn’t resist or put up a fight because He was entrusting Himself to His Father. John the Baptist cried out when he saw Jesus, “Look – the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

  37. C. To what are we compared in Isaiah 53:6? What do you know about sheep that could give you insight into our sin nature?
    We are compared to Sheep gone astray-going our own way. I don’t know a lot but I think sheep normally travel in herds and if one splits from the herd something isn’t right with it. I love the new insight Dee provides that when a Lamb separates from the flock it doesn’t want to be found. That so reminds me of Genesis when Adam and Eve didn’t want to be found after they sinned.

  38. 5. Read Isaiah 53:4-7
     
    A. For what purpose did Christ endure the beatings, the humiliation, the horrific pain, and the abandonment of God the Father?
     
    Jesus was enduring all of that to redeem us from our sins  – He suffered so we didn’t have to be punished. 
     
    B. What thoughts do you have on Diane and Mary’s comments?
     
    I think they each said it so well – each in their own way.   Knowing what I know about the backgrounds of each of these sisters, and the suffering that each have endured, it means a lot to hear their testimonies about what Christ’s suffering means for them.   
     
    C. To what are we compared in Isaiah 53:6? What do you know about sheep that could give you insight into our sin nature?
     
    They tend to be disobedient, and don’t stay within their bounds unless there is some means of enforcement – like a shepherd’s crook, or a sheep dog, or something to make sure they get to their destination.  They try to hide from their shepherd.  Sound familiar?   Yes, indeed!
     
    D. How is the coming Messiah described in Isaiah 53:7? How was the fulfilled by Jesus?
     
    He is likened to a lamb led to slaughter, or silent like sheep led to the shearers.    Even the trial was oppressive and violent (crown of thorns and lashing with whips).    Jesus did not respond to the mocking calls and cruel questions.   He remained silent and passive.    
     
    6. What thoughts and comments do you have on Pierced for our Iniquities?    
     
    Jesus was pierced many times throughout the whole ordeal.  First there was the crown of thorns. Then at crucifixion spikes were driven through his palms and his feet.   Finally there was the spear that was thrust into his side while on the cross.    Piercing is always the ultimate of painful, as all of the pain is concentrated on one small point.      Jesus was pierced for our iniquities.  His righteous heart must have been pained at all of the sins that were heaped upon him – sins of all mankind, including sins that we committed   
     
    7. Isaiah said the Messiah would “make his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death.” How was that fulfilled?
     
    Jesus was crucified between two thieves.   He was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea who was supposedly a person of means.
     
     8. How does Isaiah show us that the suffering of the Messiah was not a cruel accident according to verse 10? 
     
    “Yet it was the Lord’s will…”
     
    Why did the God the Father will this, and why did God the Son comply?
     
    This question takes me back to my understanding of the trinity.   All three parts of the trinity work in concert with one another.   This leads me to believe that it was a group decision in the first place.   The redemption of all mankind was high stakes.   Father and Son wanted it equally.  Both deeply loved all the humans they had created.    
     
    9. Meditate on verse 11. What do you think the first part of the verse means?
     
    After He has suffered, He  will see the light of life and be satisfied.”     I think that means after he has suffered and died, then he will be resurrected (see the light of life).   
     

  39. Wednesday: Isaiah 53:4-7
    A. 
    The purpose of Christ’s unbelievable suffering is about my sin. Not the sins (acts against God) that I have committed but my innate sin nature that I inherited from Adam & Eve. My sins (acts) result from a heart that is deceitful and desperately wicked which I needed to be saved out of. “There is none righteous , no not one” What Jesus accomplished in his flesh, his perfect sinless flesh as my righteous substitute is beyond comprehension.  I was hopelessly lost but the sinless Lamb paid the price at so great a cost of suffering & abandonment. 
    B. 
    Diane & Mary make powerful points of truth about Jesus and his suffering.
    Diane says  “Jesus knows every sorrow ever borne”  Only Jesus understands and can enter into our sorrows like no other.  He has truly been there. 
    Mary’s point is right on that our healing is about our sin. She outlines the truth of redemption beautifully. It is tiresome that individuals misapply such an important truth. 
    C.
    Sheep.  “We all like sheep have gone astray”  Sheep will go their own way and other sheep will follow them going the wrong way.  They look for greener grass rather than being content with what they have.  Sheep need a Shepherd.  Left alone they would perish.  
    D. 
    He came afflicted and oppressed. Like a lamb subdued and quiet.  Jesus was silent before his accusers and did not resist.  Though He was completely innocent He suffered the horrendous punishment and death for our sin just like it was prophesied in Isaiah. 
     
     

  40. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR CHRIS!! Oh how we love you dear sister! Praying for you!

    1. Yes Chris! Happy birthday! Happy Easter! 

    2. Yes, Chris, if you are checking in at all, Happy Birthday!

  41. 8. How does Isaiah show us that the suffering of the Messiah was not a cruel accident according to verse 10? Why did the God the Father will this, and why did God the Son comply?
     
    I’m not feeling too confident about this answer, but is it because Christ was the offering for our guilt? He would obey the Father so that we would be with Him in heaven. 

  42. 5a. For what purpose did Christ endure? He knew that our sins required a sacrifice that must be paid- a blood sacrifice. It was only through his death; God is holy and his wrath is against all sin.
    Ephesians 5:1 Live a life filled with love following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins, a pleasing aroma to God.
    5b. Thoughts on suffering  as shared by Diane and Mary: Yes, we are drawn closer to Christ as we endure pain , of illness, broken relationships and loneliness, if we identify with Christ.
    Our healing of the only disease that really matters is sin and its awful consequence of separation from God. Yes, I know this, Mary.
    5c. We are compared with sheep who are so needy and require a shepherd who tenderly loves and cares for them, bringing them back when they stray into danger. We always seem to stray into areas that have harmful consequences.

  43. Dee,   I saw your warning that Keller’s sermon was accidentally truncated at about 23 minutes, and I said to myself — well I might manage to do a shorter sermon.  So I went ahead and purchased it and began listening.    I am at about 16 minutes now (taking notes) and I got curious to see what was going to develop, so I fast-forwarded trying to find where it ended.    It goes strong all the way up to 36 minutes — completely to Amen!!!!!    I’m not sure I’m going to make it.  Sooo many church events and responsibilities this week!    I may post what I have and hope that someone else can finish the job.      I assume I have the right sermon.  It was called Pierced for our Transgressions (instead of Iniquities).  Since it is on the same scripture passage we are studying, I assume it is the right one.   I wonder if it makes a difference that I purchased the sermon individually, as I did not purchase the series.   Maybe you purchased the series, and that sermon in the bundle got truncated.   

    1. Well,  I did get it done after all.    However, the second half was done with a smoke detector chirping loudly overhead.   It is in a vaulted ceiling, and we cannot get to it.  I don’t know why they would install one like that in a senior community.  ???      No way to get anyone out here until tomorrow.    We are on the list!     So, if I made mistakes — please blame it on the smoke detector.      It is going to be a long night!    🙂

  44. Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12
    Sermon by Dr. Timothy Keller
    Pierced For Our Transgressions
     
    This is the most famous of the Servant Songs.  This is THE chapter in the whole Bible –the best single chapter to explain what happened on the cross.   New Testament writers were constantly going back to it, referring to it, or alluding to it.  
     
    There are five stanzas of three verses each.   All I can do is to give you the kind of birds-eye view of the text by showing you the one main lesson for each stanza. 
     
    First Stanza:   Isaiah 52:  13, 14, 15 – Lesson: You have to understand the mixture
     
    Vs. 13 – He will be raised, lifted up, and highly exalted.  My servant will work wisely (successfully) He will triumph.  He will get it done.    But then verse 14 says that when they looked at Him, they were appalled.   “ His appearance was so disfigured, it was marred beyond human likeness.  We see incredible triumph  and incredible defeat, incredible honor and unbelievable suffering.  The Mixture!    The mixture that will always happen in the lives of the servants of the Lord and people who God is using.  
     
    People say “I thought God loved me, I thought God was working in my life, and I thought God was really using me, but then all this horrible suffering fell upon me.  Now I know He could be.” 
    Keller says, “And all I want to say is ‘Look at Jesus!’”   
     
    In the lives of any of the servants of the Lord in the Bible, there is always enormous sunshine and storm, success and defeat, great joy and horrible misery.  But why?  You can’t see usually.  Remember the story of Joseph.  He was sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused and actually thrown into a dungeon.   There is like 20 years in which nothing goes right for this man.  Every single prayer he sends up is turned away.  But the perspective you get by reading the Book of Genesis and the story of Joseph is that you begin to see that unless all those things happened to him – all of them – he himself would not have been saved from being proud and stuckup and miserable.  His brothers would not have been changed from being violent, bitter people.  His family would have actually perished in the famine, if Joseph hadn’t gone through all of that.   Even at the end of Joseph’[s life, he was able to begin to see why terrible things had happened to him.   This was all part of the way God was working in his life.   But only we reading thousands of years later realize how important it was for the children of Jacob to come down into Egypt to become a great nation to be prepared to be the vehicle for the salvation of God to the world. 
     
    Understand this:   that God’s wise, redemptive love in your life is completely compatible with very rough, difficult experience.  
     
    Second Stanza: Isaiah 53: 1-3 – Lesson:   Accept the Ordinariness.  
     
    Jesus Christ, before he was beaten to a pulp was just unimpressive.  He had no beauty to attract us to him.   He was despised (meaning to be taken lightly or laughed at).    If you are interviewing for a job, you have to show people in your resume indicators of future success: school, talents, scores.   Jesus had none of them.  He didn’t have looks, money, connections, credentials, cultural power. When Jesus had shown up in his hometown of Nazareth, they said “Who is this?”  We saw him grow up.  I wiped his nose, I changed his diapers. 
     
    People sometimes turn away because they don’t understand the ordinary way in which God usually deals with us.   They want spectacular, the dramatic – they want sudden, and that is not ordinarily the way God works.    
     
    Three quick examples:   
     
    (1) We want God to guide use – we want a revelation – we want a voice, strong feelings, so I just know this is the right one.    The way to have God guide you – study your Bible day in and day out.  It is a discipline.  It is just a matter of doing it, doing it, doing it, until you know it so well, its themes, its principles, and even its attitudes so permeate you that when you make decisions, it just guides you whether or not you can cite chapter and verse. 
     
    (2) A lot of us just want God to change us like that.   Get rid of our problems and bad habits.  I want to feel something or I want the bad feelings to go away.   In 2 Cor. 12, Paul says he prayed for God to take away the thorn in his flesh.   A thorn in the flesh is a pain.   It is an irritation, but you can keep on moving.   God says “No” to Paul.   Why?   “My power is made perfect in weakness.”     That thorn that you have is going to humble you, strengthen you, make you lean on me.  The main embodiment of the power of God in the world is through Jesus, yet he doesn’t look like what the world expects at all.   You expect his power to come in with guns a-blazing Instead He gives you irritations, irritating people, irritating colleagues at work, and irritating siblings.  
     
    (3) Many of us turn aside because we don’t like how ordinary other Christians are.   When you are new in the faith, you think you are pretty special.   You think “why are there so many Christians out there that are so unimpressive?”   We get turned off.   Keller related from the Screw-Tape Letters by C.S. Lewis.  The senior devil is writing to the junior devil telling how to tempt humans.  The junior devil’s client has converted.   Screw-tape says that sounds really bad.   BUT   there’s hope because he is starting to go to church, and he is going to meet other Christians.    He says “Work hard then on the disappointment and anticlimax which is certainly coming to your client during his first weeks going to church.   If anyone sitting around him sings out of tune or smells bad or have double chins or odd clothes, your client will believe that their religion must be somewhat ridiculous. 
     
    Third Stanza – Isaiah 53: 4,5, 6. – Lesson:   Realize the Magnitude of Love. 
     
    Jesus’ death was absolutely voluntary.  Jesus didn’t have to die at all.   Nothing would be strong enough to bind the arms of the maker of the universe to the cross.  Nothing but His love for you.   Jesus lost everything on the cross, yet He looks at you and me and says “It was worth it.”   
     
    J.I. Packer: “Are you melted by the spiritual understanding of how much He loves you?”   

  45. Do you realize how different you would be if you realized the magnitude of His love?
     
    Fourth Stanza – Isaiah 53: 7  – Lesson:   You Must Commit to Justice.
     
    Verse 7 says He was oppressed.   It was trumped up charges.  He was treated as if He was a criminal.  Only the Biblical God was a victim of human injustice.   
     
    Three types of garden-variety injustice that are happening all over the world to millions of people. 
     
    (1) A place in Asia where the mayor of a town wanted a man’s land so he found an excuse to jail him.   There have been five court orders to release him.   However, all the prison officers depend on the mayor for their jobs, so the man is still there.  
     
    (2) An Indian living in a remote part of Honduras.   The Government did nothing for them.  He protested.  He was fired upon in the leg and head – can’t work – has lost everything. 
     
    (3) Man led a Bible Study in a housing project in America for a summer.   He went off to college, but came back at Christmas break and talked with them.  Learned one girl was working as a prostitute.  He located her and asked why she hadn’t turned to the police for help.  She told him the police were the ones forcing her into prostitution.  
     
    If God was willing to pay this terrible cost, then we should do the same thing.   If we take on causes of injustice, we will probably pay a cost too, but we are going to do it if we understand the cross. 
     
    Fifth Stanza – Lesson: Live Off of the Principle – Substitutionary Sacrifice. 
     
    Ten times in this passage we are told that Jesus took upon himself something that wasn’t His, but was ours.   Sorrows (vs 4), punishment (vs.5)   In Vs. 11 Jesus quotes in the Upper Room in Luke 22.   The very last night of His life, He is looking at Isaiah 53 and saying “This will happen to me.”   
     
    Being numbered with transgressors means to be treated as one.   If you believe in Him, you will be treated as if you have done all the things He has done.  In God’s eyes, you are as perfect as Jesus.    The principle of the whole Bible is summed up in John Stott’s words.   “Sin is you and me substituting ourselves for God, putting ourselves where only God should be – in charge of our live.   Salvation is God substituting Himself for us. “   
     
    Once you know the principle, live out of it, live off of it.   If a parent tries to maintain their own freedom like it was before they had children, they will screw up their kids horribly.   Either you can lose your freedom and they will grow up strong and have their emotional freedom.  Or you can keep your freedom – do anything you want – and they will grow up enslaved to fear and insecurities.  It’s them or you!   Look at the poor.   If you hold onto all your wealth, they won’t be lifted up.   It’s them or you!   That’s the principle of substitutionary sacrifice.   Go to God and give your life to Him and you will get your life back.
     
    Nothing that you have not given away will ever by yours! 
     
    In the Beauty and the Beast, the man is appalling to look at.   We desperately try to create a beauty in the eyes of others, because we believe if others saw what is really on the inside they would be appalled.  The girl kisses the beast in order to change and save him.   Jesus Christ does one better – he has to become a beast in order to turn you and me into beauties.   Now in the eyes of God you look like a beauty!      
     

    1. Thankyou Deanna for your notes. You are amazing in your gift of documenting the teaching. I really appreciated being able to read your notes and have a concise compilation In spite of the smoke detector.  

  46. 9. Meditate on verse 11. What do you think the first part of the verse means?
     
    I think it means that God can “see” into the future; he sees many being saved because of One.

  47. 6. What thoughts and comments do you have on Pierced for our Iniquities? 
     
    God bless Dee!!  I used her notes this morning to think on these thoughts.  
    Thinking about an ordinary Jesus.   I think we are in many ways just like the Jews in wanting a Messiah for our lives Who will come in power and glory and set everything straight in our lives.  One who gets rid of the Romans and makes life better for me. The comment “You expect his power to come in with guns a-blazing instead He gives you irritations, irritating prople, irritating colleagues at work, and irritating siblings.” really hit home.  Last Tuesday evening at a monthly women’s gathering at my church I was a discussion leader.  I had several older women and a couple of younger  ones in the group.  One of the younger is especially irritating to me.  She is a non-stop talker and completely dominates with an attitude of authority. She takes the discussion where she wants and is not easily dissuaded.  She is immature and obviously needy.  I have plenty of experience with handling discussion groups but she truly is irritating to me.  The good side is that the women is my group because they were mature and loving treated her well and were respectful inspite of her clueless inability to listen when they spoke. (Hear my irritation!) These are women who have gone through and are going through hard things.  And have deep things to share anout the Lord.  Another good thing about her being in our group it kept her from being in the other group of mostlly younger women to whom she would have been a significant disruption to any meaningful interaction.  So God was still in control the other night and my chastisement from these thoughts this morning have have served agood purpose.
    The J.I.Packer quote “Are you melted by the spiritual understanding of how much He loves you?” reminded me  that the key word is ‘spiritual’.  It isn’t just a feel good knowledge  A few years ago the Lord opened my eyes spiritually to the reality of his love for me and I haven’t been the same since.  But I am still learning how to let that love flow out to others.  Like irritating people! 
     
     

    1. This is an awesome post Bev! Thank you for being so candid and sharing.

  48. 5. Read Isaiah 53:4-7
    A. For what purpose did Christ endure the beatings, the humiliation, the horrific pain, and the abandonment of God the Father?
     
    Christ took the penalty for our sin, in order to heal us of our separation from God and make us righteous before the Father.
     
    B. What thoughts do you have on Diane and Mary’s comments?
     
    Both are such beautiful examples of clinging to God’s truth amidst the storm. Diane reminds us of Jesus’ compassion, His ability to identify with every pain we endure. Mary reminds us that we are never alone, Christ promises to be with us always, and has given us eternity with Him. 
     
    D. How is the coming Messiah described in Isaiah 53:7? How was the fulfilled by Jesus?
     
    Jesus did not defend Himself against His accusers (Matt. 26:62-63;Matt. 27:12-14). He had every right to, and He had an honest defense. And yet, He gave it all up for us. This is one of the most powerful parts of the crucifixion to me. If Jesus had defended Himself, and proven Himself innocent, He could not have died in our place taking the shameful death we deserve, healing us of our separation from the Father.