March 25, 2014 in Bible Study
Chapters 31-40 of our survey in their prophetic words reveal important details about the Christ. The words and imagery of seven of the ten chapters in this section are used in the New Testament to proclaim the identity of Jesus. This portion of our study (as well as Part 5) make clear why Jesus claimed that the message of the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms were focused on Him: “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44).
Psalm 23 – The Lord is My Shepherd
This passage is not only one of the most beloved texts in the Bible, but it is also one of the most applicable to the work of Jesus. David’s words may not be directly prophetic of Jesus (They are never quoted in the New Testament), but the imagery of God’s intimate care of “the man after His own heart” is central to understanding Jesus’ care for His church. In John 10, Jesus calls Himself the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:14). He is our Shepherd. Further, that same level of care is what He expects the human overseers of His flock to give. They are also called the “shepherds” who serve under their “Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:1-4).
Psalm 51 – A Plea for Forgiveness
David was a man of great spiritual victories with God. He was also a man of great failures before Him. Almost every commentator agrees that Psalm 51 was penned by David as his repentance over his greatest failure: His sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah. So monumental was that event in David’s life that God states it was his only failure: “. . . David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite” (1 Kings 15:5). Psalm 51 then epitomizes the power of forgiveness available to the people of God. Its words are uplifting to the soul striving to walk blameless before God: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (v. 17).
Psalm 110 – The Christ Exalted
Psalm 110 may be brief, but it is influential in the story of the Bible. The image of Christ’s being seated in His glory at the right hand of God and of His victory over all of the enemies of God and His people is referenced at least ten times in the New Testament (Matthew 22:42-46; Mark 12:35-37; 16:19; Acts 2:34; Ephesians 1:20-22; Hebrews 1:3, 13; 10:12-13; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22). Its proclamation that Jesus would be a priest after the order of Melchizedek is central to the argument of the epistle of Hebrews (5:6; 6:13-18; 7:28). Lastly, its imagery that the Christ would destroy the kings of the earth in His wrath is carried forward in the prophecies of Revelation (6:15-17; 11:18; 14:20).
Psalm 119 – Praise for God’s Law
All but five of the 176 verses of this psalm make an allusion of the word of God. In its 22 stanzas, God’s word is exalted for all of the ways that it helps man:
- It guards a man’s heart (v. 9)
- It protects from sin (v. 11)
- It is man’s delight (v. 14)
- It takes away scorn (v. 22)
- It provides counsel (v. 24)
- It comfort from sorrow (v. 28)
- And many other praise-worthy effects from His word
The longest passage of the Bible powerfully proclaims the necessity of man’s devotion to His word.
Proverbs 31 – A Virtuous Woman
Modern culture often portrays the biblical view of women as repressive. Yet, Proverbs 31 gives an unrestrained praise of a godly woman’s worth and abilities. She is more precious than any jewel (v. 10), talented in the investment of wealth (vs. 11, 16), capable of an unwavering love of her family (vs. 11, 15), profitable in business (v. 18), strong in spirit (v. 17, 25), tireless in her service (v. 18), tender to those in need (v. 20), and to be praised by her family at all times (v. 28). The godly woman living in the ways of her Maker is no second-class creation. God treasures her spirit and exalts her life.
Isaiah 2 – The Mountain of the Lord’s House
Isaiah is known as the “Messianic Prophet.” From beginning to end, his book prophesies of the coming of Jesus. Chapter 2 looks forward to the time of the kingdom’s arrival. It states that the house of God would be:
- Exalted in the “Last Days” (v. 2)
- Established in Jerusalem (v. 3)
- The place from which the Law of God would be proclaimed (v. 3)
The New Testament fulfills those prophecies in Acts 2. Peter refers to the Pentecost record in that chapter as the “last days” (Acts 2:17). The events of that day occurred in Jerusalem (Acts 2:5). The preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ commenced with the sermon the apostle Peter (Acts 2:36-38). The exalted house of God, His kingdom, was established on that day.
Isaiah 7 – The Virgin Birth
Central to the deity of Jesus is the doctrine of the Virgin Birth. It was a necessary sign of His coming. Further, it was a proclamation of His deity. In Isaiah’s day, God’s promise was given to the “house of David” that it would not fail until a Son was born to a virgin (Isaiah 7:13-14). That Son was to be named “Immanuel.” That name means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). The Son born in by a virgin would be God made flesh among men (John 1:14). Without the virgin birth, Christianity cannot be true.
Isaiah 35 – The Miracles of Jesus
Isaiah’s prophecies also speak of the divine power that Jesus would bring to man. He would give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the mute, and cause the lame one to “leap like a deer” (v. 6). The gospel accounts record the fulfillment of this prophecy repeatedly. The man born blind described in John 9 understood the message proclaimed in the power of Jesus:
The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” (John 9:30-33)
Isaiah 53 – The Lamb of God
Perhaps the most vivid description of the sacrifice of Jesus found in all the Bible rests in this great chapter. Isaiah describes the willing offering of the rejected Lamb of God. That sacrifice has the power to heal us of our afflictions and bring peace to our souls. In his encounter with the Ethiopian nobleman, Phillip used the words of this text to “preach Jesus” to one seeking an answer in God (Acts 8:30-35). The Ethiopian responded to the good news by being baptized and went on his way with joy on his heart and lips (Acts 8:38-39). The same power is available to us based on the truth as revealed in Isaiah’s words.
Isaiah 61 – Preaching the God News
Jesus knew who He was. Some today suggest that Jesus never claimed divinity. They believe His disciples assigned that claim to Him after His death. Yet, Jesus began His ministry by reading Isaiah 61 aloud in the synagogue in Nazareth and making this statement, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Isaiah 61 prophesies of the one who would bring in the “year of the Lord’s favor” and “set at liberty those who are oppressed” (vs. 1-2). Jesus connects Himself to this passage and so to all of the prophecies in Isaiah about the Messiah who was to come. By stating that He was the Servant of God about whom Isaiah foretold Jesus accepted the titles Immanuel, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace (7:14; 9:6). He accepted and proclaimed His divine nature and power by His use of Isaiah 61.
These ten great chapters exalt Jesus as our King, Sacrifice, and God. The truth revealed in them should be the foundation on which our lives are built. Every man needs to hear them taught and be willing to accept the power found in them.