Wednesday, August 24

Isaiah 53:4-10
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him
punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds
we are healed.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.

This passage from Isaiah is about whom we call
the Suffering Servant – Jesus the Christ.  Isaiah is referring to the Savior.  Look at all of the underlined words and phrases.  What are your thoughts as
you read these words?  Do you see the words about judgement and punishment?  Do you remember
how God is a perfect God and his forgiveness and love still requires judgement and punishment for sin?  Do you also see whose sins and iniquities the judgement and punishment is for?  In reality, it is
OUR sins and iniquities that the Suffering Servant
will take upon Himself.

With this passage, we now start to see how God can
be forgiving and gracious and loving to us and still exact judgement and punishment for our sins. 
The Suffering Servant is taking upon Himself the judgement and punishment.  The Suffering Servant
is Jesus the Christ who is God the Son.  So God is taking our punishment on Himself. 

Tuesday, August 23

Luke 4:16-21
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:  “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.  He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

The prophet Isaiah had prophesied several hundred years before the time of Jesus that a time would
come when God would restore all things.  Isaiah
said that the following would happen: 
1) good news would be proclaimed to the poor;    
2) freedom for prisoners;    
3) the blind would see;   
4) the oppressed would be freed;  
5) the year of the

Lord’s favor would be proclaimed.

Jesus doing what a Jewish male would have done
at the time, went to the synagogue, took His turn reading from Scripture (the prophesy from Isaiah)
and then He sat down.  At that point, Jesus told
those present that all that Isaiah had prophesied
was now happening by Him!

Shortly after this, Luke tells us that the folks in
Jesus’ hometown became furious with Him and
drove Him out of town.

This prophesy sounds radical.  The Jews would
have thought that this would have been at least a military endeavor, or at minimum a physical struggle for these things to be fulfilled.  What do you think about as you hear this passage – what do you think Jesus is about to do and how will He do it?

Monday, August 22

John 1:1,14,29, Philippians 2:6-8
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  

[Jesus] who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

In the gospel of John in the New Testament, the author refers to Jesus as the “Word” – the Word of God.  Remember that God spoke (word) creation into existence.  John also tells us that the Word was with God and the Word was God.  Jesus was in the beginning with God and was God.  Then the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us.  In other words, Immanuel, God with us.  With these passages, God is starting the rescue mission that we have referred to that He planned from the beginning.  His rescue mission is to restore the relationship between God and human beings, the relationship He planned from the beginning.

In the passage from Philippians, we hear that Jesus was truly God but chose not to exercise His godly nature so that He could serve us as a human.  Jesus was obedient to God’s rescue plan, even to death on the cross.

What thoughts do you have about your Creator God coming and livin on earth among His own people?

August 21-27

Living the Truth...about Jesus

John 1, Philippians 2:1-11,
Luke 4:16-21, Isaiah 53:4-10, Romans 3:24-26, John 3:16-17, Galatians 2:20-21

We have talked in the past couple of weeks about living the truth…about God and living the truth…about us.  If we look at the truth about God, we should want to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  When we look at the truth about us, we should want to love our neighbor as our self.  However, also as we look at the truth about us, we realize that living that truth, loving God and loving our neighbor as our self is not easy to do.

Exercising our freedom to choose the way we would go, we find ourselves choosing our way, which is sometimes (frequently) different than God’s way, which means NOT loving God and NOT loving neighbor.  So how can we love God and love neighbor even as we are fallen human beings?

This week we are going to learn about living the truth…about Jesus.  Specifically, we are going to talk about how this was God’s rescue plan from the beginning, and we will also talk about how we can live out that truth about Jesus in our everyday, 24x7 lives.

Saturday, August 20

Colossians 3:12-14
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love God and also to love our neighbor as ourselves.  This passage gives us an idea of how we can love our neighbor as “God’s chosen people.”

Who have you encountered during this week that you loved as your “neighbor” as yourself in the way(s) specified in this passage?  Are there people that you encountered this week where you fell short in loving them as yourself?