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Isaiah 53:1-12 A Man of Sorrows

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 17, 2016


  • Isaiah 53:1-12 A Man of Sorrows

    Isaiah 53:1-12 NLTse Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm? (2) My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. (3) 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. (4) Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! (5) But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. (6) All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all. (7) He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. (8) Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. (9) He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. (10) But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands. (11) When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. (12) I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

    Isaiah 53 may be the best known prophecy about Jesus and is one of the most quoted prophecies by New Testament writers. Without a doubt, an entire book can be written on Isaiah 53 and all the New Testament scripture it points to. Here is an exercise for you to do on your own. I already did it and I was amazed at what I found. I used E-Sword, a free computer Bible program to look up all the New Testament texts it is linked to. Using the TSK (Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge) all I had to do was hover the cursor over the links and read a pop up window displaying texts that tell a story all its own. To keep this study to a minimum, we will look at one chapter to see what story it tells. This example will show you how to take your time to study scripture in a defined pattern. This allows God’s Spirit to bring many more details to your mind. Always take your time whenever studying the Bible. It is the most opportune time to listen to God’s voice.

    Because Isaiah 53 was a popular chapter New Testament authors referred to, I am only going to look at one of those chapters. You can use the same study methods to look deeper into the passion of this prophecy about Jesus’ sacrifice.

    John 12:35-43 NLTse Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. (36) Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.” After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them. (37) But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. (38) This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted: “LORD, who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?” (39) But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said, (40) “The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts– so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them.” (41) Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. (42) Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. (43) For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.

    John tells us, Jesus quoted Isaiah 53. Whenever Jesus quoted scripture he was sending listeners, in this case His disciples back to the chapter – Isaiah 53. What did Jesus want them to see? Key words in Isaiah 53 consist of a few groups. Believed and revealed are the first group found in the first sentence of this prophecy. Can you understand why Jesus quoted only this small section of that prophecy? Do you see how this simple question was pointed at His disciples? Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm? Did those disciples believe Jesus’ message? Did they understand it? Do His disciples today believe this message? Can they feel the emotion? The next set of key words describes the impact this message should have, beautiful and majestic. If you understood the message you would understand the contrast Isaiah put into the prophecy. There was nothing physically beautiful or majestic about Jesus, but His action, life and sacrifice are beyond description.

    The next few sets of keys words is what Jesus wanted His disciples to see.

    Despised, rejected, punishment, oppressed, condemned

    sorrows, grief, weaknesses, troubles, anguish

    pierced, crushed, beaten, whipped, cut, struck

    There are of course other sets of key words, but these overwhelm the prophecy as well as being closely related to one another. Jesus tried to explain this prophecy to prepare His disciples for what was to come. The same pattern is repeated today. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I see the Christian world wrapped up in trying to know the future and claiming to know the future. Many preachers stake their reputations on knowing the future. Today prophecy is an obsession for many Christians. Why did Jesus’ disciples refuse to listen to the one and only Prophet who knew the future and is able to reveal every detail? This tells us a major detail about the time we live in.

    There is more to the prophecy than the fact Jesus wanted His disciples to see its true meaning. Jesus knew exactly what it meant otherwise He never would have brought it up. Put yourself in Jesus’ position. What emotions did He feel when He tried to describe what was about to happen? His human side needed a friend to comfort Him. Jesus needed someone to listen. Not to understand but to listen. To let Him know someone actually cared. Isn’t that what we all look for when we are facing a major life changing trial? We often forget Jesus’ human side. It was much more difficult for Jesus to live His human life than it is for us. Jesus was the only person in this world to know how and when He was going to die. Can you imagine that? And when the time came, no one, not even His closest friends would listen. Jesus took His three closest friends into a garden to pray. After Jesus tried explaining details about what was about to happen, they fell asleep three times. For some reason Peter and the number three crossed paths many times. Look back at that list of key words and tell me how many of those action words did His disciples inflict upon the Son of God. How many do you inflict? How many do religious leaders today inflict upon God’s Son who is conducting the judgment of this world at this very moment? Lack of cooperation does not stop or delay God’s timing.

    No one knows what age Jesus was when He saw this prophecy related to Him. Imagine the feelings He had knowing how He was going to die. There was a sense of gratitude to His Father for revealing it mixed with a sense of anguish. There is no way we can reach the depth of Jesus’ thoughts and emotions. He is God mixed with humanity. Then again, we are created in God’s image. Along with physical attributes, we were also given the emotions God feels including His ability to love. Sin, Satan’s constant suggestions inferring there is a better way, combined with distractions from this world have dulled our senses. To think we have to relearn those basic concepts of feelings, emotions, and love all over again. To reach the level God originally created us we have to learn to recognize things we’ve learned from this world and differentiate them from wisdom God offers from Heaven. It doesn’t seem like an easy thing to do. At times it seems like a battle. But it can be done.

    What did Jesus feel as He walked around with this prophecy on His mind? We can see what drove Jesus to heal, reach out to people, train His disciples with ultimate care, attention, and patients. The world may tell us Jesus worked hard to keep His mind off the fate He had to face. The voice from Heaven tells us Jesus looked forward to His victory, return and ministry in Heaven. To Jesus all those details pointed to victory. This did not stop Satan’s attempts to discourage Jesus. He had to face every test, trial, and temptation Satan could throw at Him. Trials made Jesus seek the company, sympathy, and understanding of humans. Jesus also came to teach this world about God’s real senses, emotions, and love. Part of those emotions is an enormous dislike of suffering. Because it was personal, Jesus had to be careful not to cross the line of fear. Perfect love casts out all fear. But as time drew near, God’s presence was withdrawn from His Son leaving Him to rely on His own senses and what He learned here on earth. Jesus had to rely on His human senses during His greatest trial to prove to the universe, it can be done. God gave everyone on this world everything they needed to overcome temptation.

    That was one of Satan’s accusations against God. Satan accused God of withholding something from the Heavenly host. Satan still uses this deception in this world today. There is a difference between overcoming sin and knowing about sin. God’s Spirit never forces anyone to stop sinning. That has to be a personal choice. On the other hand God’s Spirit does tell people about sin. We’ve become so separated from God, we don’t know the difference between good and bad. Without God’s Spirit influence from this world becomes greater and greater. It can soon take over. Compromising with the world becomes easy. That’s when the difference between right and wrong becomes blurred. After all, those priests who arrested Jesus thought they were doing the right thing even though they ignored a number of God’s law and instructions on trials, witnesses, and of course the prophecies about the Messiah including Isaiah 53.

    How were Jesus’ disciples deceived? Satan used Judas as one of those deceptions. Most people look at only one of Judas’ actions. How did Judas get to that point? We learn another Bible Study lesson called an acted parable when we look at Judas. An acted parable is one event pointing to another. When we see acted parables in the gospels, they are lessons Jesus hoped His disciples would learn from. For us they are lessons waiting to be unlocked.

    When Jesus began His ministry, He first called Peter, John and their brothers. The first place He took them was to a synagogue. Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit began shouting, “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One sent from God!” (Mark 1:23-24 NLTse). Little do people know how this acted parable pointed to another man possessed by the devil. Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him. (John 6:70-71 NLTse). John tells us Jesus knew Judas had a devil in him from the beginning. The devil controlled Judas to an extent. Judas had the choice to ask Jesus to cast out that demon. Like the demon in the synagogue, no one saw the devil walking among them. Jesus’ disciples had no idea Judas was possessed until after he betrayed Jesus and hung himself. There were a lot of details those disciples missed. Having a devil walking among them was one of the reasons the disciples could not understand what Jesus taught.

    Many people agree Judas didn’t intentionally betray Jesus but had his own idea about God’s plan of salvation. Much like the other disciples, Judas still clung onto the interpretations the priests and Pharisees taught. The priests and Pharisees disagreed on the interpretation of many prophecies and doctrines. Jesus’ presence and teaching held disagreements and arguments at bay at least for the most part. Jesus opened their minds to the truth, but old habits were hard to put away. It was harder for some than others. For Judas, his lust for wealth and power proved to be his demise. It wasn’t a temptation that suddenly over whelmed Judas but a weaknesses Satan exploited during Jesus’ entire ministry. The demon in the synagogue worked in a slow methodical way. He introduced doubts in some people, greed in others, misled some on one belief or prophecy, taught them to compromise on one law after another, and always established divisions. The devil in Judas worked the same way. Judas followed Jesus because he saw something in Him. Judas wouldn’t have given up everything to follow Jesus if he hadn’t seen something that attracted him. Every Christian sees something, but like Judas find it difficult to put away parts of the world. Judas saw good in Jesus, he also saw the power and authority he coveted. Judas was stuck on the interpretation of prophecies making the Messiah a conquering hero who would vanquish all of Israel’s enemies in a flash, establish an everlasting kingdom and place His faithful followers in high positions. Judas wanted one of those positions. Judas wanted the highest position. Jesus made Judas treasurer. He was in charge of the small group’s funds. This made Judas feel he won Jesus’ trust. This also made Judas believe he was in the best position to influence Jesus. Judas believed Jesus needed his advice and guidance.

    Jesus’ disciples often talked among themselves when Jesus was off alone praying. His disciples discussed the events and lessons of the day. For the most part they respected one another’s opinion. Each disciple would talk about scripture that came to mind. This was the Spirit’s way of teaching. When this happened, Judas introduced doubts or changed the subject – which interfered with messages the Spirit was trying to secure in their minds. When Judas didn’t agree, he often brought up something the priests of Pharisees asked Jesus and often defended their reason for challenging Jesus. Judas was not about to let go of secret desires and ambitions and felt a need to keep the other disciples in line with his goals. This led the other disciples to concentrate on the old way of thinking, comparing it to what Jesus taught. One devil in the midst of them led to covering up God’s plan of salvation. No matter how Jesus explained God’s simple plan of love, the disciples were misled by one man in their midst. One demon was able to make Jesus’ disciples second guess everything He told them. One person with man made goals and ambitions was able to introduce the an atmosphere of competition up to and including the day Jesus was arrested. To a large degree churches today follow the same course. Christian websites dive for nickles and pennies thrown their way by Internet search engines like children diving for coins. They throw away their dignity and morals for a few pieces of shiny coins like they possess some kind of hypnotic effect. What are they thinking? Are they betraying Jesus or serving Him? The world is full of people like Judas – still believing any form of service will grant them a higher position in His Kingdom.

    John was not the only author to record Judas’ problem. Luke recorded an important and better known detail late in Jesus’ ministry. The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction. Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. (Luke 22:2-4 NLTse). This is what most people think about when the subject of Judas comes up. They tend to look at it as a sudden change of heart by someone who followed Jesus for more than three years. According to John that was not the case. If we look into John’s comment it wouldn’t be difficult to see Judas had that devil hanging around long before he met Jesus. After all, one of the first steps to becoming a Christian is to get baptized which is a symbolic cleansing of sin. It’s not really a cleansing of sin but the beginning of a journey from the slavery of sin to the promised land. It may seem strange to consider there is no record of the disciples being baptized – not until Pentecost when they were bathed in flames. This is a way of pointing out a disciple is going to face a major trial in their life before clearly seeing exactly what Jesus is trying to teach them.

    Luke recorded a second portion of an acted parable. Remember the first demon cast out in a synagogue? It seems he wasn’t the only demon wandering the halls and worship centers in and around Jerusalem. Those priests didn’t act alone. They had an army of demons pushing them to oppose Jesus at every turn. What was the difference between Judas betraying Jesus and those priests? They all shared ambition and a false image of the Messiah. Notice how the two eventually attracted one another and how they joined forces? Of course Judas and those priests had a different outcome in mind. Both saw Jesus heal thousands of people, raise some from death, Judas saw Jesus feed thousands, and both heard Jesus teach the true image of God. Only Judas believed Jesus, but not in the proper light. Judas believed Jesus had the power to vanquish His enemies any moment He wanted to. All Judas was doing was using the priests to put Jesus in a position He had no choice but to exhibit the power at His disposal. On the other hand the priests dedicated themselves to prove Jesus was just another false Messiah.

    Twice the Bible points us to evidence of demons in synagogues or churches. The first time emphasized the point only the demon knew who Jesus was. We also see that in the second example or lesson. The second added a few other details like the priests who wanted to destroy Jesus. We are also shown pride and the love of wealth and power were behind the door that let the demons in. What does this make you think about some churches today? Doesn’t it seem as if most churches are always suffering financial difficulties? Of course most Christians suffer money problems. Some self induced, others caused by problems inflicted by the world. Financial problems never seem to end. We all want enough money to be comfortable. When we get to that point there never seems to be enough money, or we’re obsessed with thoughts of how to hang onto it. We have to consider the fact Jesus knew Judas stole money from the meager funds they received. But Jesus never said a word about it. Another lesson to learn from the Son of God who didn’t have a penny in His possession was shown when someone asked what He thought about taxes. Did you notice, when Jesus needed a coin one was supplied? That’s God’s way of saying, don’t worry about money. No wonder Isaiah began this prophecy with: “Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?” And Jesus followed up with “But the people couldn’t believe,” for as Isaiah also said, “The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts– so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them.” Which brings us to another important phase of Bible Study. When Old Testament scripture is quoted, look it up.

    Isaiah 6:8-10 NLTse Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” (9) And he said, “Yes, go, and say to this people, ‘Listen carefully, but do not understand. Watch closely, but learn nothing.’ (10) Harden the hearts of these people. Plug their ears and shut their eyes. That way, they will not see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor understand with their hearts and turn to me for healing.”

    It sounds like Isaiah is describing Jesus’ disciples. He wasn’t only describing them but the priests and Pharisees who listened to Jesus, questioned Him, saw how His answers were so true and to the point they couldn’t argue with Him, but still couldn’t believe. Then there is another detail in the introduction of Isaiah 6 that fits right into Judas and the priest’s conception of the Messiah. It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke. Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” (Isaiah 6:1-5 NLTse). To a degree they were right. Jesus could have vanquished their enemies any time He wanted to. But that wasn’t God’s plan or timing. This shows how little they listened to God. Sure they knew about God but had no idea who He really was or any details about the relationship He wanted with them and God wanted them to have with other people. They missed the point. Now it’s time for us to look at the introduction of John 12 and compare it to Isaiah 53 so we get as many of the points God’s Spirit is ready to teach now.

    John 12:1-8 NLTse Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus–the man he had raised from the dead. (2) A dinner was prepared in Jesus‘ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. (3) Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesusfeet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. (4) But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, (5) “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” (6) Not that he cared for the poor–he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself. (7) Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. (8) You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

    It may seem strange when you first look back at the introduction to see the story about Mary anointing Jesus for His burial, but remember, the introduction establishes the context for the chapter. Later Jesus pointed His disciples to Isaiah 53, the prophecy about what He was about to suffer. That is the common thread between those two stories. They both deal with Jesus’ trial, suffering, crucifixion and death. Mary pointed the minds of the disciples to what was about to happen. That story also filled in a few details about Judas. He didn’t really care about poor people. He stole from them and Jesus. See the connection? When we steal from people we are stealing from Jesus and betraying Him as much as Judas did. We show how we are influenced by demons. We don’t like to say possessed by demons but maybe we can say we accidentally fell for their temptation. What’s the difference? A sin is a sin. Big or small it is disobeying God. Mary was a sinner. The Bible tells us Jesus cast demons out of her. After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons. (Mark 16:9 NLTse). Why was Jesus able to cast seven demons out of Mary but not Judas? This is a personal question we each need to examine alone with God. We all have our own demons. Most of us feel we can control them to one extent or another. That’s what gets us in trouble. Judas knew he was playing with the devil when he went to the priests. He knew he gave into temptation when he took the money. Judas thought Jesus would make everything alright – somehow. Judas’ problem was the same problem he always had. He wanted to accept the interpretations to prophecies that benefited himself. He also acted outside of God’s plan in a way that he thought would benefit himself. It all centered around self. This was evident by the fact he didn’t care for poor people. There is one thing to consider when we compare Mary to Judas. Mary loved Jesus and provided one of the few examples of unconditional love from a human being in the gospels. Another point to think about is, did Mary learn to love Jesus before or after He cast out those demons? This is another personal question to talk to God about especially when we consider one of the lines in Isaiah’s introduction. My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.

    Jesus doesn’t try to attract us with shiny trinkets and shallow compliments. Jesus doesn’t play the, “they will love me if I give them this or that game.” Jesus doesn’t act like the mother in the grocery checkout line with the spoiled kids making a scene when they pass the candy rack. That mother thinks she can buy love but what is she really getting for her money? What is she really doing with her money? Most of the time all she is doing is spoiling her children and setting the wrong example. No wonder Jesus quoted this prophecy when He was teaching about seeing and knowing the light He brought into this world, then seeing the difference between His light and darkness. A lot of people have trouble understanding the difference between right and wrong. Like Judas we think we are doing the right thing but in the end wind up regretting our actions. This is the main reason we have to learn to have a personal relationship with God, a subject Jesus explains in the summation to John 12.

    John 12:44-50 NLTse Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. (45) For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. (46) I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. (47) I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. (48) But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. (49) I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. (50) And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”

    Is Jesus showing His relationship with His Father, showing the relationship we have open to God, or both? Whenever we study the Bible we have to remember there is always more than one side to the lesson. When we let God’s Spirit lead us, we see more of those details. “For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me.” Pause for a moment and think about how you view Jesus. Then think about how you view God. Think of how you view Heaven. Think of how you pray to God. Do you wait for answers? Listening skills have to be honed. Think of all the ways God communicates and how you can improve each one. Keep in mind God’s answer may not always be something you expect or agree with. “He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief.” Jesus didn’t get the answer He wanted to hear when He prayed in the garden. But Jesus accepted God’s plan. A lesson for us to learn. “He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands.” But God’s plan is always best for us and others. “I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.” Based on Jesus’ comment it shouldn’t be difficult to see God’s message and plan. The darker it is the easier it is to see the light. After we see that light it is still up to us to accept, reject, or like Judas, try to modify God’s plan. In the long run everything Judas did worked out in God’s plan but at what cost? Could Judas have been saved? That’s a question we’ll have to ask in Heaven. Maybe God will show us how it would have turned out if Judas listened to Jesus and followed His instructions.

    The major point I see in this study is Isaiah’s opening line compared to Jesus’ response in the fulfillment. “Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm? Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.” Based on the prophecy, and while observing His disciples, Jesus knew they had trouble listening and understanding. As Jesus’ disciples today we still have that problem. Today we have the examples in the introduction of John 12 as well as other examples and contrasts in the gospels to learn from. We have the opportunity to look back at those lessons recorded. What a contrast between that unconditional love Mary showed and the greed displayed by Judas. Look at the results. Judas hung himself. Mary was the first person to see Jesus after He rose from that tomb. What a difference listening to God’s Spirit can make. Mary listened. She didn’t understand but she followed orders. Judas had the chance to hear God’s Spirit as much as Mary did. One listened and obeyed. The other decided to do things they’re way. We all face that choice just about every day.

    We didn’t get into the details of this prophecy about how Jesus was tried, beaten, condemned, and executed. That would add pages to this study because each of those relate to so many other texts in the New Testament. Instead we used one of the chapters the opening line of this prophecy was quoted in. We also compared introductions and summations. As a result we saw how the lessons and contrasts showed more details than we could have imagined. The main concept to remember when studying other portions of this prophecy is to remember how to check context. When you do, you will see details most people miss. Of course there are other chapters in the New Testament this prophecy points to. I’ve included a few you can study on your own. May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. (2 Peter 1:2-4 NLTse).

    Romans 10:11-21 NLTse As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” (12) Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. (13) For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” (14) But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? (15) And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” (16) But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “LORD, who has believed our message?” (17) So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. (18) But I ask, have the people of Israel actually heard the message? Yes, they have: “The message has gone throughout the earth, and the words to all the world.” (19) But I ask, did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, for even in the time of Moses, God said, “I will rouse your jealousy through people who are not even a nation. I will provoke your anger through the foolish Gentiles.” (20) And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying, “I was found by people who were not looking for me. I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.” (21) But regarding Israel, God said, “All day long I opened my arms to them, but they were disobedient and rebellious.”

    Acts 8:31-35 NLTse The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him. (32) The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. (33) He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” (34) The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” (35) So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.

    1 Peter 2:21-25 NLTse For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. (22) He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. (23) He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. (24) He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. (25) Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.

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