Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Isaiah

Jesus is So Obviously God

The Holy TrinityFor those who have eyes to see, it couldn’t be clearer: Jesus is God. It’s everywhere in Scripture.

Of course there are a few key proof texts that can be used in isolation, but really it is the whole storyline of the Bible that, when brought together, can leave us with no other impression than this: Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God because ‘in him the whole fullness of deity dwells’ (Col 2.9).

I see this all the time in studying, but thought I’d just share this one because it struck me as particularly glorious today.

I’m studying to preach the last half of Mark 10 (verses 32-52). In this section Jesus prophesies his coming death and resurrection, in which he will bear the wrath of God (handed over to the Gentiles, drinking the cup, enduring the baptism — all biblical images for the wrath of God) in order to ‘ransom’ (could also be translated ‘redeem’) ‘many.’

Now, right away that should stick out to us for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is Psalm 49.7, which says, ‘Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life.’ So how can Jesus, then, if he is just a man, ransom ‘many’ with his life? Something bigger is clearly happening here. That gets drawn out more as we turn to Isaiah 44.

The burden of this section of Isaiah (40-48) is twofold: (1) God will redeem his people from exile — a second ‘Exodus’; and (2) the fact that he announces beforehand what he will do is what clearly sets him alone apart as God. That God has the power to act to redeem his people and the ability to declare the future before it happens are the two things that make it clear to Israel that he is God and there is no other.

So I find it pretty awesome that in Mark 10, just before Jesus enters Jerusalem to be rejected by Israel he is (1) declaring that he will redeem his people, and, (2) declaring it in advance, before it comes to pass. For anyone with eyes to see, it’s there to be seen.

What I love though, is that if you read Isaiah 44 in light of Mark 10 and Jesus’s impending conflicts in Jerusalem, it becomes even more glorious:

  • I am the Lord … who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish (Isa 44.24-25)
  • [I am the Lord … who says] of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’ (Isa 44.28)

Isn’t that exactly what Jesus is about to do, beginning in the very next chapter? Confrontation after confrontation with the ‘wise’ of Israel, until no one dares to ask him any more questions, because he turns them back in their ‘wisdom,’ making their foolishness evident to all (Mark 12.34). And isn’t the very charge brought against him by the Sanhedrin that the temple will be destroyed (Mark 13) but that he will ‘lay the foundation’ and rebuild it (Mark 14.58)?

As the narrative of Jesus’s life unfolds, the gospel writers make it clear for any with ears to hear: this Jesus does what God himself said only he could do. From the forgiving of sins and the cleansing of sinners to the ransoming of a people and the rebuilding of the true temple, all has been declared ahead of time that when Jesus comes we will know that in him we see our God.

The Christ of Isaiah

In my own devotions I’ve just finished reading through the book of Isaiah. I must say that I think one of the reasons why our churches today are so weak and shallow, and have such a small view of God is that we don’t read our whole Bible. I know so many Christians who just simply don’t want to read the Old Testament for one reason or another. What a tragedy!

This time through Isaiah has been my favourite so far. Isaiah’s God is so wonderfully transcendent, yet so amazingly concerned for the poor; so profoundly righteous, so awesomely just; forever concerned with making the whole world to know that he–YHWH–is God, and there is no other.

One of the other things that really struck me this time is how much the apostle Paul quotes Isaiah. It’s amazing! I don’t know how I never noticed it before. And not just Paul, either–the New Testament authors seem to love the book of Isaiah. The cool thing is that so many times when an NT author quotes Isaiah it is to say some pretty remarkable things about our Lord Jesus. Here are just a few examples that stuck out to me the past couple of days.

  1. Isaiah 60.1-2, quoted in Ephesians 5.14. This passage in Ephesians 5 is cool because Paul takes a saying of Isaiah about YHWH and then directly applies it to the New Covenant believers in Ephesus, saying that all the truth of the person and holiness of God is found in the man Christ Jesus, who is none other than God himself.
  2. Isaiah 60.19-20, quoted in Rev 21.23 and 22.5. Make sure you read both of those references. In Isaiah the promise is given that in the New Jerusalem there will be no need of sun or moon YHWH (his specific, personal name) will be the light in that place for his people. In Revelation, John says that the glory of God–which is paralleled with the lamb of God (i.e., Jesus) will be the light. In other words, Jesus and YHWH are One. Now this is an obvious theme throughout Revelation, but it’s that much cooler when you read it in the context of Isaiah and all that you’ve heard over the past 60 chapters about the glory of God.

Too often we either don’t want to read our Old Testament or else we read it as quickly and superficially as possible because we think it has nothing to say to us. In reality, all its truth speaks of Jesus, who has everything to do with us if we claim to be Christians.

So get in the Word! Remember that every word is God-breathed and useful to us, so that we can be equipped to do the work of God that he has called us to.

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