I am so excited about this week’s Sunday School lesson. Over the past couple of weeks, we have covered:
This week, we are going to study some of Isaiah’s prophecies about the first coming of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, there are over 300 prophecies about the first coming of Jesus Christ. These prophecies are given over a 4,000 year period. The prophet Isaiah lived and wrote about 700 years before the birth of Jesus. He reveals some great truths about Jesus, in his inspired writings. Let’s see what we can learn about Christ and ourselves from the prophecies that Isaiah wrote almost 3,000 years ago.
I. Who Jesus is
Our first truth about Jesus comes from two passages in Isaiah. The first one is Isaiah 9:6-7.
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. 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.
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. 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.
He will be a leader. We all need leadership because we are like sheep and cannot make it on our own. We need a good shepherd, a good leader and Isaiah reveals to us that Jesus is that Good Shepherd. Most of Isaiah’s people did not recognize their Good Shepherd, just as most of the people today do not recognize Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Jesus leads His people by giving good advice. He does this through His Holy Word. God has left all of His advice, all that we need for life and godliness, in a form that we can understand, the written Word. Jesus is God. When Jesus came on the scene about 700 years after Isaiah, He announced that He is God. His people should have recognized this as a sign that He is the One whom Isaiah wrote about. For the most part, His people rejected Him as God. The same is true today. Many people will say that Jesus was a great man, a great teacher, a great humanitarian, but, when it comes to Him being God, very few are ready to accept Jesus as God. Finally, we discover from Isaiah that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Jesus came to His people to offer peace in the midst of the storms of life. They were occupied by foreigners. They were looking for peace from powerful people. The Prince of peace was there to give it to them. They rejected His peace. The same is true today. People want and need peace. They look for it in powerful places from powerful people. Christ is still ready and willing to offer His peace to all who come to Him and ask.
Our second passage is Isaiah 11:1-3.
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear
Isaiah tells us that Jesus holds wisdom and understanding. He is able to give wisdom and understanding to people. He came to His people to offer wisdom and understanding and, for the most part, they rejected His wisdom and understanding. Jesus is the same today. He is ready and willing to give wisdom and understanding to all who will come to Him and ask for them. For the most part, the majority of people do not come to Jesus and ask Him for wisdom and understanding. We search for wisdom and understanding everywhere except for in the Word of God.
II. How He is explained
Isaiah told us 700 years before Christ how to recognize Him when He comes on to the scene. The passage that I would like to examine is Isaiah 40:
3 A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.
Before Christ begins His ministry, there is going to be a person who will clear the way and announce the coming of the Messiah. That person is known as John the Baptist. He was 6 months older than Jesus. He ministered in the wilderness before Jesus began His public ministry. John preached repentance and told the people to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. Then, when Jesus did begin His public ministry, John announced that Jesus is the Son of God, the Lamb of God, the sacrifice that is to take away the sins of the world.
What about today, we no longer have John the Baptist on the scene, so who will announce the Messiah to the modern world? Isaiah also told us that almost 3,000 years ago. We have the Word of God that announces to the nations that Jesus is the Messiah, that He has come once and He will come again.
III. The need for Christ and benefits for us
Our final passage for consideration is in Isaiah 53.
4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.
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.
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.
As we saw earlier, there is a huge need for a leader because we are all like sheep, and sheep need a leader. Not only that, as sheep, we have gone astray. Our sinful disobedience has brought nothing but grief and sorrow. We need forgiveness. We need a course correction and we need someone to keep us on the right path. Jesus is the One who came to offer this to us. He bore our sins upon the cross when we hung there to pay for our sins. He rose from the dead to break us free from sin’s grip, and He lives to lead us in the right direction. Through His actions, He is able to offer forgiveness to us. He is able to give us advice. He is able to give us His peace. There are many benefits to following Christ. Are you living under those benefits?
Do you know who Jesus is, what He has done, and what He has to offer to you? Are you walking in the light of that advice? Have you experienced Christ’s peace? Have you returned to the correct path? Are you being led by the Good Shepherd? May the Lord help us live in the light of who Christ is!