Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Jesus Christ P27 (12-09-20)
If you enjoy history, and you had the opportunity of seeing people in Israel, seeing the Roman coliseums, seeing the Jews dressed in the style of clothing that you see pictures of in the history books, it makes an impression on you. Now consider that the Jews living back then saw Jesus just like any other man. Jesus came in appearance as a man, and if it were not for the overwhelming evidence, it would be difficult to believe someone claiming Himself to be God. How much harder would it have been for them?
Yet, the same is true today as it was then. If any man desires to know God, God will reveal Himself to him and make Himself known to him. But if a man wants to rely on his religion, then his heart will not be open to truth, and that is so sad.
Today, we have the scriptures recorded down for us by those who were eyewitnesses of Christ Jesus, who saw all that happened concerning Jesus of Nazareth, and who also had the scriptures of the prophets. Today, we can compare what was spoken through the Old Testament prophets with what the disciples, eyewitnesses of Jesus, wrote down.
Now, what we have today are translations. The original is the manuscripts, in Greek for the New Testament and in Hebrew for the Old Testament. There are those who knew Greek or Hebrew who translated it into a language we can read and understand, but what we have, translations, can obscure the meaning. But irregardless, there are so many scriptures that we can let scripture interpret scripture. Furthermore, regardless of the translation, ultimately the Holy Spirit must reveal truth to men. Just as the disciples of Christ Jesus, they had to have the meaning of God’s words revealed to them. They really did not have full understanding until the Holy Spirit came to live inside of them, which occurred after Jesus rose from the dead and gave Him to them, of what we know today as being born again.
So as you delve into what was recorded through the prophet Isaiah, with the fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ as recorded by the disciples, let the Holy Spirit reveal to you the real meaning of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is so easy, especially with so many distractions, as certain holidays approach, whether Christmas or Easter, where your mind dwells more on the activities and the distractions of things that have nothing to do with Jesus or the scriptures, that it seems to make what you read all sound like a fairy tale. No, this is not a fairy tale or some ancient history that you just memorize dates and interesting events, and that is all you recall. No, the words of Jesus are life for your soul. When you allow the Holy Spirit to teach you, then He reveals to you what the deepest need and longing of your heart is, that emptiness and lack of purpose and meaning that can only be fulfilled in Christ, who has come to offer Himself to live in you, if you let Him, so you can live and act according to His good purpose for you.
As we read more about the prophecies fulfilled in Jesus Christ, we will look at some of the details prophesied through the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah describes in detail His rejection, being despised by men, the depiction of His bearing our sins, a total description of being pierced and scourged by his enemies yet remaining silent before His accusers, being buried with the rich, crucified with thieves and then making intercession of His persecutors. So it will be a vitally important study for us.
The book of Isaiah deals more with the person of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, than any other Old Testament prophetic book. Only the Psalms incorporate more individual references to mankind’s coming Savior. Every aspect significant to the Son of God’s earthly life and ministry is predicted: His deity and incarnation (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6); His lowliness and youth in Nazareth (Isaiah 7:15); His mild manner (Isaiah 42:2); the tenderness of His ministry (Isaiah 42:3); His obedience (Isaiah 50:5); His message (Isaiah 61:1-3); and His miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6).
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.[Immanuel means God with us]
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right
2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
5 The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away.
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,[the blind] 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
However, the most remarkable part of all of Isaiah’s prophecies is the detailed description of Jesus’ suffering and death by crucifixion in our place as recorded in chapter 53. The actual event so vividly portrayed here did not occur until more than 700 years later.
When the description of this crucifixion took place, as far as we know historically, there was no such thing as death by crucifixion. That was something brought in by Roman rule. In Israel, the way that people would carry out a death penalty for someone was stoning him. So it is a remarkable piece of scripture, that again, just bears out the fact that the bible that you hold in your hand is an inerrant bible.
Now it is not inerrant in the translation. That means that those manuscripts written in Greek are totally inerrant. Translations into English, Chinese or Japanese or whatever it might be, that is up to a translator, and anyone who got involved in the translation of scriptures were ones who either themselves or had hired people who were absolutely students of the Greek language and studied the Greek language and probably knew the Greek language as well as their own. It is through that that translations took place. The fact of the matter, it does not make any difference what language you are talking about, sometimes the meaning is somewhat obscured whenever you have a translation.
So you will have people who think our English bible is the original or the King James is the original or the New American Standard is the original. None of those are originals. The original scriptures were written in Greek for the New Testament and in Hebrew for the Old Testament. From those manuscripts, all translations that we know today have taken place. That is what a translation is, translating off of the copies of the original manuscripts.
But the fact of the matter is, it does not make any difference one way or another, the meaning of what it says has to be revealed by the Spirit and not necessarily by the accuracy of the translation. In the final analysis, scripture will interpret scripture if you allow the Holy Spirit of God to do that for you.
1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
Jesus was rejected by His own. We see that in John 12:37-38.
37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
“Lord, who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”[Isaiah 53:1]
Of course, we see that also in John 1:11.
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
So we see there that in the prophecy of Isaiah, is who has believed our message? The answer is that there are not too many. The same is true today. We have an opinion that just because there is a cross on top of a building, that is called a church, that everybody in that building, including the pastor believes in the deity of Christ. But that is not so. There are many people whose names of their denomination is something about Jesus, but they do not believe he is God. You have people by the thousands running around, going door to door, who call themselves Christian, but do not believe Jesus is God. Even in prophecy, that a virgin is going to be with child and you are to call him Immanuel, God with us. I do not know how you can deny Deity when the prophecy and prediction of His coming, called Him Immanuel, which means God with us. Despite all of that, we have to understand that all people who call themselves Christians are not born again.
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[Isaiah 7:14] (which means “God with us”).
In my own life, I grew up going to church. My mom and dad took me to church, where as a child, and you had to be baptized to be in that church. People probably equated that to salvation but I do not think anybody knew what salvation was. My motivation for getting baptized in that church was not to be saved. I never heard the word “saved”, and I know mom and dad didn’t, but in order to take communion you had to be baptized. That grape juice under my nose, I could only take that for so long. How am I going to participate in that grape juice, because I like grape juice. So mine was to lead me to the waters. So I got dunked three times, in the name of the Father, in the name of the Son and in the name of the Holy Spirit. I went under the water three times on that deal and got to get my grape juice.
But church was boring. There was another church in town that had a basketball court in the basement. The ceiling was only about eight feet high. That is okay. It was high enough for that at that time. Children seemed to go there and have fun. The pastor really loved children. He would take us to the park and we would play football and baseball. It was a fun place to be. So we sang in the choir. It was the biggest youth choir, probably the largest in Indiana at one time. Children love to go there. But honestly, I do not ever remember hearing the gospel as I know it today.
That continued on in my life. In college, not much interest in those things. Why should there be? Into our early life, there was not much interest in that. Never adamant toward God. I just did not realize you could know Him. I prayed. Yes, of course. I believed in Jesus. Of course, I believed Jesus so much I beat up my fraternity brother over that and was arguing over it.
I was not a Christian. I did not know the Lord from an apple tree. I had some appearances of religion, but I was not a Christian. People are sitting in churches today by the thousands and thousands. But until you have come into a personal and vital relationship with Jesus Christ, not religion. Come to grips with yourself. No one is going to be saved by going to church. Salvation does not come by singing in a choir. Salvation does not come by being dunked in water. Salvation comes when you recognize your need, your spiritual death, need of forgiveness, and you run independently, by yourself, to the living Christ, who reaches out to you and me. God is reaching out to you and me, saying “I love you. I forgave you. I gave Myself for you and now I give Myself to you”. Now accept Him into your life as your personal Lord and Savior. That is what salvation is.
47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.
To this day, He is coming to His own, to those who want to be saved. He did not come to judge the world but to save it. But His own did not receive Him. They would rather be a denominational name than a child of God. To as many as received Him you become a child of God. To those who do not, you remain lost.
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
2 He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
We have such a tendency to take note of someone very handsome. Just an awesome figure that walked in. That is not the case of Jesus. He was obviously a very normal looking man in his humanity. He did not want people to be drawn to him for that. He wanted people to be drawn to Him internally, not externally. That is the very opposite of what the world does. If anyone is going to be a successful minister, you have to have hair right, exercise and keep your body in shape. There is an image here that everyone wants to grab a hold of. We have the tendency to worship man instead of the one who created man. Jesus did not do that.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
The fulfillment of that is in Christ Jesus and recorded in Matthew 27.
22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”
Now, what took place there is obvious. That the religious world took great exception to this person called Jesus of Nazareth. They were continually trying to do away with him. On one occasion, Jesus asked them, “Why do you want to crucify me? What sin have I done?” We do not judge you that, but that, you, a mere man, claim yourself to be God.” So his claims of deity were stirring up all kinds of wrath in people. The referred to him as a winebibber, a glutton and even as someone demon possessed.
32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
Man in our flesh, have the tendency to say, “if there is smoke, it cannot be far”. How much fire was there in those accusations? Do you think Jesus was demon possessed? Do you think he was a wine bibber? Do you think he was a glutton? No, it is man’s evil heart to perpetuate rumor in order to destroy. If you do not have anything concrete then come up with whatever you can in order to destroy someone. This comes from an evil heart. There is no possibility of a renewed heart to continually want to perpetuate evil upon another human being. That is an impossibility.We have people today who say they are born again but they want to perpetuate evil on someone. It makes no difference whether crying “crucify him” meaning to nail him to a cross, or to beat him to death psychologically or beat him to death with a fellow man. How much do we see that take place in the Christian world. I have seen people, and we certainly have seen a rage and wrath of this type of thing, but you have seen people in ministry who have fallen in one way or another. I think of one who I think we all would know his name, of seeing him hand-cuffed to prison and crying like a baby. How can man, whether you agree with his theology or not, whether agree with what he did or did not do, but if that man is indeed a child of God, how could you look upon that scene without having compassion on your heart. I do not care how much you disagree with such a person. It is only a person who has been full of ego and pride who would rejoice in such a thing.
10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.
22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
That is true of any man. All of us have fallen short of the glory of God. There is not one righteous; not one. There is not a single person on earth without sin. That is why Jesus said, “he who is without sin, cast the stone. If you are not, don’t”. There is not a person on earth who would be able to escape the scrutiny of another person from the time of birth to the time of death, if they so choose.
4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.
37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”[Zechariah 12:10]
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge – to the great amazement of the governor.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. 11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.
38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.
For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
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