Isaiah Through the Lens of the Cross
Sermon Summary
This message looks at Christ as He is revealed in the prophecies of Isaiah. There are many references in the writings of Isaiah which point to the coming Messiah or the Servant of the Lord. In Isaiah, this Servant of the Lord is also known as the Suffering Servant. This aspect of the Servant of the Lord was a stumbling block to the Jews. It seemed a contradiction in terms to think of their coming Messiah or Savior as a Suffering Servant. Before the time of Christ, many Jewish scholars believed The Servant of the Lord to be the coming Messiah. It is interesting they almost universally abandoned this idea after Christ. However, most Christians, including the writers of the New Testament clearly saw Jesus as the Suffering Servant spoken of in Isaiah. His suffering on the Cross is clearly seen as fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies. Application to our modern world is found in the fact many people today still have a problem with the concept of a “Suffering Servant!” As the Jewish people of Isaiah’s day, many try to fashion God in a way that fits their perception of God or what they would like Him to be rather than accepting Him as He is revealed in Holy Scripture. Scripture clearly shows a God who loves His creation and sent The Servant of the Lord to suffer many things in order to make a way for the restoration of humankind.

Community Group Discussion Guide
1. Can you remember some of the things that make the Bible such a unique book? Discuss.

2. Because God had made a covenant with Judah, and they were following the external letter of the law in regards to ritual sacrifice, and because they believed God would never allow Jerusalem to be destroyed, the people assumed they could live how they wanted with impunity. Isaiah tried to get them to see the error of their ways and to repent. They refused. How do we sometimes make similar assumptions in our lives? Discuss. (Hint: Just because a person attends church doesn’t mean their heart is in the right place!)

Isa 29:13  The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Isa 29:14  Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish." Isa 29:15  Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, "Who sees us? Who will know?"

3. The people of Isaiah’s day resorted to making idols of wood, stone, and precious metals. They totally missed the irony of taking a block of wood and using some of it to burn for fuel and the other half to fashion a god. They also missed the irony of having to carry their idols on their shoulders in order to place them in their shrines. While we may not craft idols in the same way as the ancient craftsmen, what are some ways people in our world engage in idol worship? Hab 2:18  "Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.

Hab 2:19  Woe to him who says to wood, 'Come to life!' Or to lifeless stone, 'Wake up!' Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it. Hab 2:20  But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him."

4. Isaiah has several passages which paint a very clear picture of the crucifixion of Christ even though they were written some 700 years before the event and written before Crucifixion was even established as a form of execution. How does seeing the great price Christ paid for our salvation effect your faith and the way you live your life on a daily basis?

1 Cor 1:21  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 1 Cor 1:22  Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 1 Cor 1:23  but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 1 Cor 1:24  but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Cor 1:25  For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

Sermon Notes
Isaiah Through the Lens of the Cross!

I want to remind you that ...
The Bible is a collection of 66 books written by at least 40 human authors over some 1,500 years. The writers had such different backgrounds. Kings, shepherds, a tax collector, a doctor, fishermen, a tentmaker, and others. Some, like Moses and Paul had great education, others, not so much. The Bible was written on three continents, Africa, Asia, Europe, in three distinct languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The one thing they had in common, however, was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God!
And as we have seen in the past weeks, when we look back at the Bible through the Lens of the Cross, we gain an understanding of God's message of love that simply astounds, amazes, inspires and  transforms those who see!
The Book of Isaiah is sometimes considered "The heart of the Old Testament" and it's not because of its physical placement amongst the other books of the Bible. It is because of its message and the way that message seems to be a bridge linking the message of the Old and New Testaments. Some have said the words of Chapters 40-55
are "the distilled essence of language"…"the noblest literary monument bequeathed to us from Semitic antiquity"!
But for those of us whose lives have been forever changed by the good news of a Savior sent from heaven to rescue our very souls, these words are yet another testimony to the fact that God decided long ago to make a way for us to be cleansed, forgiven, redeemed, restored, and renewed! Isaiah has been called the evangelist of the Old Testament.
There are basically two goals for today's message. I hope you will see the good news in a way you've never seen it ...
I hope you begin to grasp the monumental price that was paid by God in order to make a way for you to be made right with Him!  

Let's Pray!!

I need to give you just a little bit, and I do mean a little bit of background for Isaiah. His Hebrew name was ...

y sha'yah - "The Lord is salvation"

He was born in Jerusalem around 770 B.C. He was 20-30 years old when he started his ministry. For half a century the people of Judah had experienced peace and prosperity. However, they had fell into deep moral and spiritual decay. The people  believed they were being blessed because they had a covenant with God, they were following the ritual sacrifices, and they thought God would never allow Jerusalem to be captured or destroyed.
Commentator Page Kelly put it this way...

"Isaiah took issue with these assumptions. He launched a vigorous attack against the social and moral evils which he encountered, speaking out against the leaders' oppression of the poor, their miscarriage of justice, their insatiable desire for wealth and power, and their total indifference to the moral and ethical demands of God.
Isaiah knew that a society such as Judah had spawned already carried within it the seeds of its own destruction!"
That destruction first came by way of the Assyrians. Durning this time of great oppression, Isaiah tried desperately to get the people to turn from their evil and put their trust in God! He believed God would save them and rescue them. They refused to listen and Isaiah eventually withdrew from public ministry. However, he continued to instruct his disciples and God inspired Isaiah concerning the coming Babylonian crisis where the people of Jerusalem would be exiled. Now you must know, that Isaiah died some 50 years before the Babylonian crisis, but God had inspired him to write things down and to commit them to a small group of disciples who believed his message and were committed to ensuring that message would be protected and proclaimed. Isaiah even mentioned what God had told him to do in Isaiah 8:16.

16Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples.
Isaiah 8:16 (NIV)

Isaiah was obedient and as a result the Hebrew people continued to hear from God through Isaiah long after his death. And not only the Hebrews, but these many years later, we too are the recipients of these powerful and beautiful insights concerning God's love for His people!
Now I want you to remember this...
The message Isaiah proclaimed had a message for the people of his day and for the years just after his death. We could do a study just on how his prophecies and teachings impacted the Hebrews during their difficult times and that would be inspirational, but we are going to focus on the prophesies Isaiah gave that directly impact our lives today.

Ok, ready, set, go…
Isaiah through the lens of the Cross. Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6-7

14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)

Now Isaiah 9:6-7

6For 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.
7Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV)

What a prophecy! Thought that was in the New Testament? It's there also…
Matthew 1:18-23

18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
23“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” —which means, “God with us.”
Matthew 1:18-23 (NIV)

Ok, so God gave Isaiah insight into the birth of the Messiah, what about the beginning of the Messiah's ministry?

1“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.
Isaiah 42:1 (NIV)

Look a Mark 1:9-11

9At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
10As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
11And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Mark 1:9-11 (NIV)

Prophesied some 700 years earlier by Isaiah!
Why do I trust Jesus with my life? He was the One God was pleased to send to be my Savior. Remember Colossians 1:19-20

19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Colossians 1:19-20 (NIV)

By the way, did you know this was stumbling block to the Jews? Listen to Isaiah 8:13-15

13The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread,
14and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare.
15Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured.”
Isaiah 8:13-15 (NIV)

Now listen to 1 Cor 1:21-24

21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:21-24 (NIV)

Now we get to a part of Isaiah that is so interesting and has been surrounded by debate down through the centuries.
Isaiah chapters 40-55 speak of The Servant of The Lord! Who this servant was back in the day has been hotly debated for thousands of years. It is widely agreed that some of the verses speak of the nation of Israel as the servant of God. However, other verses indicate the servant is an individual. The identity of this person in pre-Christian history
is not known. We could spend hours talking about various scholars, both Christians and Jewish, and their guesses.
We won't do that, but I do want to point out something to you. Isaiah doesn't just call this individual a servant, but a suffering servant. This is where the problem and the stumbling block for the Jews came in.
A servant of the Lord back in Bible times was not just a servant, but a trusted friend. It was a position of honor. Early Christians as well as Christians today believe the suffering servant to be the Messiah and that Messiah to be non other than Jesus Christ. Before Jesus lived, Jewish scholars also believed the servant of the Lord in Isaiah to be prophecy concerning the Messiah. However, they left out the references to the suffering.
They simply couldn't reconcile their hopes in a  kingly, powerful, and triumphant Messiah with suffering.
It made no sense to them.
A suffering Messiah was a contradiction!!
And after Jesus came they totally abandoned their belief in the servant of the Lord being the Messiah.

Are you beginning to see why Jesus was a stumbling block to many of the Jewish leaders? Did you know, even the disciples were confused when Jesus spoke of the fact that He would suffer?

31He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.
32He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
Mark 8:31-32 (NIV)

Did you know that the suffering servant concept is still problematic for people today?
Who wants a suffering servant for a king? We want majestic and powerful! And you know what is ironic?
People want God to be what they want Him to be. They want to create their own god fashioned as they like. Today we do this philosophically. We create our own gods made after our own image, or should I say imagination. Not so much different from folks in Isaiah's day. And we like to think when it comes to religion we like to think we can save ourselves and don't need God. This attitude starts early in life.
What parent hasn't heard these words! "No, I do it myself!" or a few years later, 
"Chill out, I've got this!"

When we have this spirit or attitude spiritually, it can have disastrous results. Back in Isaiah's day it led people to abandon their belief in the living God and to embrace idol worship. Weird I know, but somehow, people like being in control of things, and I guess if they make it somehow they feel they have some control over it?
Like I said, not unlike the days of Isaiah… Isaiah 44:12ff

12The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm. He gets hungry and loses his strength; he drinks no water and grows faint.
13The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in the form of man, of man in all his glory, that it may dwell in a shrine.
14He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
15It is man’s fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it.
16Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire. ”
17From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, “Save me; you are my god.”
18They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.

19No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”
20He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie? ”
Isaiah 44:12-20 (NIV)

And check out Isaiah 46:6-7

6Some pour out gold from their bags and weigh out silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god, and they bow down and worship it.
7They lift it to their shoulders and carry it; they set it up in its place, and there it stands. From that spot it cannot move. Though one cries out to it, it does not answer; it cannot save him from his troubles.
Isaiah 46:6-7 (NIV)

Here's a great question for you today...

Do you carry your god or does your god carry you?

An idol cannot help you in your time of trouble or in your time of need, but our living God was going to do something unthinkable. It wouldn't happen for some 700 years, but Isaiah prophesied it!
Our Mighty God, our Awesome King, our Prince of Peace, Our Lord of Lords, would become the Suffering Servant!
I'm going to read the story to you not from one of the Gospels, or anywhere in the New Testament, but from the Old Testament book of Isaiah.
Listen closely…
Isaiah 50:6
6 I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.
Isaiah 50:6 (NIV)

Isaiah 52:13-15
13See, my servant will act wisely ; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14Just as there were many who were appalled at him —his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness —
15so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.
Isaiah 52:13-15 (NIV)

Isaiah 53:1-12
1Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2He 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.
3He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7He 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 her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
8By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9He 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.
10Yet it was the LORD’S will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11After the suffering of his soul, 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.
12Therefore 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. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah 53:1-12 (NIV)

Lyrics to “How Could You Say No to This Man”
Thorns on His head
Spear in His side
yet it was a heartache that made Him die

He gave His life so you would
Is there anyway you could say
no to this Man?

If Christ Himself was standing here, face full of glory and eyes full of tears
and He held out His arms and His nail printed hands
Is there anyway you could say no to this man?

 How could you look in His tear stained eyes, knowing it's you He's thinking of.

Could you tell Him your ready to give Him your life? Could you say you don't think you need His love?

well Jesus is hear with His arms open wide, you could see Him with your heart if you'd stop looking with your eyes.

But He's left it up to you, He's done all He can
Is there anyway you could say no to this Man.

How could you look in His tear stained eyes
knowing it's you He's thinking of

could you tell Him your not ready to give Him your life, could you say you don't think you need His love?

thorns on His head your life in His hands, is there anyway you could say no to this Man?

Awe is there anyway, you could say no
to this man?