Christ in Isaiah

One last note about Isaiah before commenting on Jeremiah. One of he most spellbinding elements of the book of Isaiah are the references to the Messiah, and the verses used by Jesus Christ from the book. The link between Jesus and Isaiah’s prophesies are amazing. In fact I’d say out of all the Old Testament books Isaiah is the one that most completely explains the Gospel proclaimed by the Lord Jesus. It has all the elements, the warnings the encouragement, the grace of redemption. The fullness of the Gospel is quite evident in this book. Here are a few select verses revealing God’s wrath and grace, His destruction and re-creation, His love and compassion:

Isa 3:13 The LORD arises to contend, And stands to judge the people.
Isa 3:14 The LORD enters into judgment with the elders and princes of His people, “It is you who have devoured the vineyard; The plunder of the poor is in your houses.

Isa 4:4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning,
Isa 4:5 then the LORD will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy.
Isa 4:6 There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain.

Isa 29:13 Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,
Isa 29:14 Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; And the wisdom of their wise men will perish, And the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed.”

Isa 30:18 Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.

Isa 35:4 Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.”
Isa 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
Isa 35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Isa 41:10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Isa 42:9 “Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things; Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.”

These new things came in the form of a Saviour whom Israel was hardly expecting. Though by the statements scattered throughout Isaiah they certainly could have deciphered the clues. They knew a Messiah was coming, clearly foretold in these verses:

Isa 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Isa 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
Isa 42:1 “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.

But in what form would surprise and shock them; instead of a regal political king, vanquishing their many foes and securing in Jerusalem a royal kingdom surpassing the likes of David’s and Solomon’s, someone very humble would appear quietly and His ministry would confuse them all since it would end in violence and apparent failure:

Isa 42:2 “He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street.
Isa 42:3 “A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.
Isa 42:4 “He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth;
Isa 50:6 I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.
Isa 50:7 For the Lord GOD helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.

Such verses may have been cryptic even to those familiar with the Scriptures. But other statements in Isaiah were so bluntly clear concerning precisely what would happen to this Messiah, one who would not look at all as expected, but someone who, once seen, might be someone to be avoided:

Isa 53:2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
Isa 53:3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Isa 53:4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.
Isa 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Isa 53:6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
Isa 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
Isa 53:8 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 For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
Isa 53:9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
Isa 53:10 But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
Isa 53:11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.

In one particularly powerfully moving verse is a majestic description of God’s love in which can be seen in a reference to being nailed to a cross:

Isa 49:15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
Isa 49:16 “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;

No wonder that even six hundred years after Isaiah Jesus contemporaries would have difficulty comprehending this type of a Redeemer, even when it was described to them multiple times.

Jesus even begins His ministry using the book of Isaiah. On a Sabbath in a Synagogue He is invited to speak. Standing up and taking the long scroll of Isaiah, written by hand and containing run-on words with no spaces between and no verse markings He locates a particularly fitting verse and reads:

Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;
Isa 61:2 To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD

and declares to a stunned crowd that its fulfillment is occurring that very moment.

Isaiah is such a beautiful book, full of hope and promise, declaring Good News for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, speaking to those who long for a better life than the meager wasteland of the present, who can depend on God’s strength and power for help, and who want to live in harmony with our Lord:

Isa 55:1 “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Isa 59:21 “As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth,
Isa 61:10 I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
Isa 65:17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.

There’s the Gospel. There’s the promise of redemption. A gift without cost, the promise of the Spirit for help, treated to the glory God shares with us, unburdened by guilt or regret, enjoying a restored creation as He had intended it. The invitation stands. Just take it.

Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]

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