Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty One – December 21st

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty One – December 21st

Thank you for reading our twenty first installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy that the messiah would be pierced in his hands and feet. We read this is the book of Isaiah chapter fifty three which is an awesome piece of prophetic scripture and speaks that the messiah will be a sacrifice for sin…

Pierced for our transgressions

Isaiah 53:1 (ESV) Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 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, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

You cannot do a series on messianic prophecy and not include Isaiah 53. For a rock fan like me it would be like Queen touring and not singing “We will Rock You” or the Rolling Stones touring and not singing “Start me up” (Or for that matter The Who and “Pinball Wizard”) I was only going to quote from verse five onwards, however the whole chapter speaks of Jesus and is a wonderful look forward to the coming messiah and how that is shown to be the person known as Jesus of Nazareth who is known as the Christ.

The whole chapter tells of how the messiah will suffer for sin, we spoke a few days about the root of Jesse that he will spring from (verse 2) we spoke of how he came from Nazareth and was despised and rejected (verse 3 & 4) and now we look at how he would suffer.

10 points that Isaiah makes about the messiah

1) Messiah would be rejected
2) He would be a root from the dry ground
3) Messiah would be despised
4) Messiah would carry our sorrows
5) Messiah would be pierced for our transgressions
6) Messiah would have no deceit or violence
7) Location of his grave
8) By his knowledge his followers would be counted righteous
9) Messiah would pour his soul out to death
10) Messiah makes intercession for the transgressors

We could really end the article there but I write this article as a resource for both the skeptic and the believer, for the skeptic I write in order that you may have an answer to why I believe in the messiah and to the believer I write that it may be edifying to your faith.

The reason I post the ten reasons is that I could write 100 articles on this part of scripture and not cover it adequately. I wished to get the bullet points in case there is something that is not covered in this “broad strokes” look at this passage of scripture. The reason for this disclaimer is that in this article we are going to focus on the individual prophecy that he will be a sacrifice for sin.

Isaiah uses very graphic words that leave us in no doubt that the messiah would suffer the way Jesus suffered, reading from verse five we read words such as “pierced”, “crushed”, “chastisement”, “oppressed”, “judgment” and many more like it. Isaiah 53 clearly speaks on the first coming of the messiah where he would be the suffering servant.

This reminds me of a great old hymn which had the lyrics:

“Man of sorrows what a name, for the Son of God, who came, ruined sinners to reclaim: Hallelujah, what a Savior!”

Yesterday we spoke of the Passover lamb and how the lamb and the blood were used as a sign that the children of Israel were with God, later in the Levitical law we see the practice of laying a hand on the sacrifice to signify the sin atonement the sacrifice was making, We read in verse 4 that “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows”. He takes it all, our griefs our sorrows, all laid to rest at Calvary.

Verse six gives the point of the crucifixion when it states “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus died and placed himself “like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (v7) He paid the price that he knew we could not. After the messiah there was no need for a temporary sacrifice. Jesus blood is enough!

Isaiah also predicts the manner of Christ’s death and how he would be buried when he states “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death” As we read in the Gospels, he was crucified with sinners and buried in the borrowed tomb of a rich man. (Joseph of Arimathea – Matthew 27:57-60)

The reason we are Christians (those who believe) in the first place is in the next part of the verses “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” It shows what we have been saying in the last few articles that God was in control, he had ordained this sacrifice. It was not the will of the Jewish leaders, the Romans or whoever, it was God’s will and plan to redeem the world. We see that in verses 11 and 12 that Jesus was the intercession for the transgressors. Anyone who has sinned, Jesus died for!

Christ died – at the right time!

Paul writes in his Epistle to the Roman church…

Romans 5:6 (ESV) For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Jesus died for us, the ungodly! (v6) Regardless of how holy or righteous you think you are, without Jesus you were going to hell! Can you think of a group of people that are as undeserving? (v7) Reading through the bible it is the character of God to reach out to those and account unto them righteousness when it is barely deserved.

Jesus died for you whether you choose to accept it or not, (v8) if you don’t then that is really your choice, no one will force you into a relationship with Jesus. There are two eternal destinations at the end of your life and you can remain an “enemy of God” (v10) or be saved from the “Wrath of God”. (v9) Obviously I would love to see you become a brother or a sister and be reconciled to God (v10) and receive eternal life with the creator. That is why Jesus became a sacrifice for sin.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Eighteen – December 18th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Eighteen – December 18th

Thank you for reading our eighteenth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy that the messiah would be pierced in his hands and feet. We read this is the book of Psalm chapter 22 which was written by King David …

Psalm 22:16 (ESV) For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

Prophecy is Gods truth foretold

I find prophecy fascinating, several hundreds of years before the Roman Empire was even thinking of expanding beyond the borders of modern day Italy and before the idea of nailing criminals to a cross as a means of punishment and law and order was ever thought of David speaks in a prophetic fashion about the messiah being pierced with his hands and his feet.

What is crucifixion?

Crucifixion was by far the most barbaric and public way of displaying wrongdoers and keeping law and order. Often times these criminals would be put in a place outside of the city walls that could be seen from all parts of the city. Jesus was marched up to Calvary which was a hill that was visible to inhabitants of Jerusalem.

This was no picnic, the criminal was hung and nailed to hard wood, in Jesus case he had been scourged, whipped, beaten where breathing was problematic, his body had been through so much trauma he could not carry the cross the whole way. He was hungry, thirsty and by this time in his ordeal his body was in shock. On his head was a crown of thorns that had been forced and imprinted on and through his head.

His hands had been bound to a heavy beam and he was under a guard as much to allow him to not escape (the escape ratio was low) as to also stop the baying crowd from killing him before he got there. When he got to the top of the hill his hands and feet were nailed to the wooden structure that he would die on. Eventually he suffocated, alone covered in his own blood and in great pain. The lamb had been slain for the sins of the world.

This was further prophesied in the book of Zechariah…

Zechariah 12:10 (ESV) “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

We see in the prior verse the words “In that day…” this sparks interest in my soul, mainly due to have sitting under the teaching of Ryan Ruckman who pastors a church in Porterville who has a great love for messianic prophecy. The words “in that day” are classic prophetic words that refer specifically to the messiah, now it may refer to his first or second coming but it still talks about the messiah.

God will pour out to the repentant ones a “spirit of grace and pleas for mercy” they will have saving grace and repentant prayer and god will move among them. When we become a Christian this is the first step. We have to acknowledge we have a sin problem. We will not recognize our need for a messiah if we don’t believe that we need to be saved; also we will not think we need a messiah if we have no idea what we need to be saved from. Have you had your problem solved? Do you recognize your need for a messiah? Do you need to turn back to God with a repentant heart?

Then they will mourn for the pierced one. When we understand why the sacrifice was necessary and why he went to the cross in the first place, understand why such high a price had to be paid for us who, let’s face it are not worth it!

They will realize what they have done and that they bear responsibility for the crucifixion of their messiah. The inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Jewish people will mourn due to the rejection of the one who came to save. They will mourn like one who was the most loved.

Lastly in this verse we read that “they will look upon me” which is yet again another confirmation that the “me” is Jesus, a member of the triune God. This is the Father sending the Spirit so that the people would turn to the Son and be saved. This to me is a beautiful picture of Salvation in Christ Jesus.

Still have doubts?

John 20:24 (ESV) Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Thomas is remembered for this in scripture, I am sad for Thomas as in his mind Jerusalem was a melting pot of religious fervor. Rumors would be flying around asking what happened to this Jesus that was crucified, the religious people would be trying to shut people up, and followers of Jesus would be claiming he was alive.

I feel for Thomas’ confusion. He seen his LORD, the guy who he had hung on every word arrested, beat to a pulp, marched up a hill and killed in the cruelest way possible. Any rational man would be a little skeptical, I am sure that the disciples would have been praying between the crucifixion and the resurrection. This to me is a lesson in prayer; if we pray for something we had better prepare our hearts in case God grants that prayer and not be super freaked out if he does.

What a lot of people miss about this passage of scripture is that the people who are telling Thomas that they have seen Jesus have already seen his hands and feet, he has shown them in verse 20. They seem so much more confident than Thomas but Jesus has already shown his wounds and he has breathed on them, of course they are confident he is alive!

He is known universally as “doubting Thomas” but I have empathy for him and would put him no higher than a healthy questioning skeptic. For reasons listed above he had good reasons to have questions until he had some tangible evidence. This guy has seen a guy that he was close to, lived with and learned so much being brutally murdered so he is going to have a few doubts. Also if they were going to profess this Jesus was alive, it could almost certainly lead to their death so I understand why he wanted to be sure. Who wants to die for a lie?

Thomas had to wait eight days to get the validation that his hopes were true, Jesus granted him the opportunity to place his finger, touch the wounds and gave him what he required to believe and bear testimony that Jesus did in fact return from the grave and conquered death.

Thomas believed! It would have been tragic if Thomas had made all these requests and still refused to believe. We read in Acts that when Judas was replaced only one man was chosen to make up the twelve do we know that Thomas became a disciple again and believed. (he called him “My Lord and my God”)

Jesus closed by stating “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” And that is us, the last recorded historical face to face meeting between a human and Jesus in the bible is in Acts 9 when Saul is converted on the road to Damascus. We are the ones he is referring to, I believe because I have faith and having examined the evidence I have found it to be reliable, inerrant, infallible and true. My prayer is that these articles will help you do likewise.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE