How Did Isaiah Know That
Luk 24:1-9 GW Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb. They were carrying the spices that they had prepared. (2) They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. (3) When they went in, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. (4) While they were puzzled about this, two men in clothes that were as bright as lightning suddenly stood beside them. (5) The women were terrified and bowed to the ground. The men asked the women, "Why are you looking among the dead for the living one? (6) He's not here. He has been brought back to life! Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee. (7) He said, 'The Son of Man must be handed over to sinful people, be crucified, and come back to life on the third day.'" (8) Then the women remembered what Jesus had told them. (9) The women left the tomb and went back to the city. They told everything to the eleven apostles and all the others.
Resurrection Sunday! What a great and glorious day! It didnít start out like that for these women though. They were likely in a very solemn mood as they hurried to get to the tomb where Jesus was buried in order to give Him a propr burial. Imagine their shock when they arrive and see that stone covering the tomb had been rolled away.
Imagine going to the cemetery a couple of days after your loved one was buried and find the grave tampered with and worse yet empty! What would your thoughts be? Fear? Anger? Confusion? Iím sure they were feeling some of these very emotions.
We read here that the women were puzzled, well thatís a little mild. The essence of the word here is they were thoroughly nonplused. In other words they were at a total loss for thoughts, words, and deeds. They didnít know what to think, say, or do.
While in this state, ďpoofĒ two men in clothes as bright as lightning stood right beside them. I donít know what they were wearing, but it was unbelievably brilliant. They made Liberace and Elton John look like Mother Theresa and Johnny Cash!
The reason for the brightness is their association with heaven. They were sent here to these women directly from God. And consistent with all other encounters with holiness in Scripture, the women become undone, they fall to the ground in terror.
Seeking to relieve their fears and at the same time rebuke them for not listening to their Master while He was with them. The angels say, ďWhy are you looking among the dead for the Living One. Heís been brought back to life! Remember what He told you?
He told you that He would be handed over to be crucified and come back to life on the third day! Have you checked your calendars? Itís the third day and He is gone just as He said He would be! With this heavenly prompting the girls remembered and hustled back to tell the others.
What a day for these women! They went from sorrow, to being dumfounded, to absolute terror, to unspeakable joy. He is risen! He is risen indeed!
But itís not only what Jesus had said about His Passion. The prophet Isaiah had spoken of it about 700 years before it happened.
Isa 53:8-12 GW He was arrested, taken away, and judged. Who would have thought that he would be removed from the world? (Someone so kind, so loving, so powerful, so full of miracles, who woulda thought it? How did Isaiah know this700 years before it happened?)
He was killed because of my people's rebellion.(Why was Jesus killed? Because of my peopleís rebellion. He was killed by the rebellion of the people that God has created. He was killed by your sin, my sin, the sin of every human being whoever has lived or shall live. We put Him on that cross! Not one of us is better or worse than the next, we are all guilty!
Because you and I choose to break away from the authority of God, we are rebels and we all deserve the firing squad. But Jesus, in His great love for us. Jesus who was not in any way shape or form a rebel, said, ďI will face the firing squad on their behalf.Ē Oh that it wouldíve been as merciful as a firing squad! But it was the agony of the cross that He endured for our rebellion.
(9) He was placed in a tomb with the wicked. (He died between two thieves (How did Isaiah know that?) He was put there with the rich when he died, (though penniless, He was buried in the tomb of the wealthy Joseph of Arimethia. How did Isaiah know that?) although he had done nothing violent and had never spoken a lie. (Again, He was sinless and in no way a rebel, How did Isaiah know that?)
(10) Yet, it was the LORD'S will to crush him with suffering. ( Crushed with suffering! How did Isaiah know that? How did he know of the Suffering Servant? Crushed with suffering. Do we need to replay all the horrors of Good Friday for you again today? God hates sin. He hates rebellion, and He will crush it!
And if you are not in Christ Jesus, it is only because of His great love for you and His forbearance, that He has not yet crushed your rebellion.
He hates sin more than the Iraqi Muslim terrorists hate Americans, and look how they treat their captives! Look how some of us have treated our captives! So God crushes His Son with suffering as a warning to all, and an invitation to all.
The invitation is to throw down your arms rebel and surrender to Jesus. He has paid the penalty of your rebellion. You can be home free!
Or continue in your rebellion and when Judgement Day rolls around you will face Godís wrath against sin. A fate worse then crushing by suffering awaits all who reject Godís offer of salvation.
ďWhen the LORD has made his life a sacrifice for our wrongdoings, he will see his descendants for many days. The will of the LORD will succeed through him. ( The death and resurrection of Jesus would open the door to many being born into the kingdom of God. Jesus would see the fruit of His sacrifice as people respond to the saving Gospel of grace! How did Isaiah know that?)
Godís will, that is, the salvation of souls, restoration of fellowship with Him and it will succeed through Jesus! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Him!
(11) He will see (God the Father will see) and be satisfied because of his suffering. (God will put His stamp of approval on the suffering of Jesus when He raises Him from the dead. How did Isaiah know that? )
My righteous servant will acquit many people because of what he has learned through suffering. He will carry their sins as a burden. (12) So I will give him a share among the mighty, and he will divide the prize with the strong, because he poured out his life in death and he was counted with sinners. He carried the sins of many. He intercedes for those who are rebellious.
Because Jesus took the burden of the sins of the world, He now rules in heaven, all things have been placed in His hands, and He continues to intercede on behalf of rebels like you and me. Now let me explain how that works lest you get the wrong impression that every rebel is going to heaven.
We donít want people leaving here this morning with the impression that since Jesus is interceding for all the rebels they have nothing to fear on Judgement Day. This intercession belongs only to those who come by faith to Jesus and surrender their will to Him. Then He intercedes.
John wrote about it in his first letter:
1Jo 2:1-2 GW My dear children, (children here are defined as those who are in the family of faith. They have not just believed in the mere existence of God, but they have believed and continue to believe and act on His Word. They believe His promises and seek to obey His commands. In short they have acknowledged Him as their personal Lord)
I'm writing this to you so that you will not sin. (John is encouraging us to refrain from further rebellious acts) Yet, if anyone does sin, (if we slip up and disobey our Lord, as we will do on occasion) we have Jesus Christ, who has God's full approval.
When we come to faith, we put on Christ and He has Godís full approval. God doesnít see our sin, He sees Jesus! And what does Jesus do for us from that point on? He intercedes for us.
ďHe speaks on our behalf when we come into the presence of the Father. (He knows our hearts, and if our hearts are yielded to His lordship, He says ĎFather, heís with MeĒ and thatís all He has to say, that is good enough for the Father.
(2) He is the payment for our sins, and not only for our sins, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Donít forget this vital truth concerning the payment for sins. Jesus did not just pay for the sins of believers, He paid for the sins of the world on Good Friday. All of them from Adamís fall to Hitlerís atrocities, to the modern day atrocity of abortion, to the tiniest white lie, all were paid for on Calvary.
But you must receive the gift. Jesus has a ďpaid in fullĒ receipt with your name on it. But you can only receive it as you humbly admit your need, admit your sins, and then surrender to Him as Lord and Savior of your life.
Why is this important? Why should I care if you surrender your life to Christ? I care because His resurrection is a historical fact. He appeared in bodily form to over 500 people after His death. One of the reasons He rose from the dead was to make us realize that all people will one day be roused from their graves and that includes you! Thatís why this is of the utmost importance to me.
And on that Day. The Day that Christ returns, there will be a judgement. Those who have surrendered their lives to Christ will go on living in eternal bliss and those who stubbornly refused to surrender will suffer the wrath of God for eternity.
Paul spoke of these things in our epistle lesson this morning.
1Co 15:12-22 GW If we have told you that Christ has been brought back to life, how can some of you say that coming back from the dead is impossible? (This was a false teaching that was circulating in Corinth at the time, and it was critical that these people change their thinking about the resurrection from the dead.)
(13) If the dead can't be brought back to life, then Christ hasn't come back to life. (14) If Christ hasn't come back to life, our message has no meaning and your faith also has no meaning. ( If our hope ends in the grave then the message of the gospel is useless drivel, and your faith is useless drivel, a joke and a tremendous waste of your precious minutes on earth.)
(15) In addition, we are obviously witnesses who lied about God because we testified that he brought Christ back to life. ( Not only is your life and faith useless but the whole Bible is a lie, and the apostles deliberately misled us, and why should we follow the teachings of liars.)
But if it's true that the dead don't come back to life, then God didn't bring Christ back to life. (What would be the point?)
(16) Certainly, if the dead don't come back to life, then Christ hasn't come back to life either. (And look at the ramifications of a Christ who remains in the grave.)
(17) If Christ hasn't come back to life, your faith is worthless and sin still has you in its power. (Not only is your faith useless, but sin still has you in itís power, and the wages of sin is death. Thatís all you would have to look forward to!)
All your loved ones who went before you professing a belief in Christ would have no more value then the dust on a windowsill because they would be one and the same if Christ did not rise from the dead..
(18) Then those who have died as believers in Christ no longer exist.
(19) If Christ is our hope in this life only, we deserve more pity than any other people. ( All that money I gave to the church, all the time I put in at the church, all those Sundays I got up early, all the wasted nights in Bible Study groups, all the help I gave the poor. I stayed in this marriage for what? I turned the other cheek for what? I forgave him or her for what? What a waste!)
But all those things made me feel good! Wonderful! You sacrificed and it made you feel good. Great! Just imagine you can lead a good moral life and when itís all said and done you can cease to exist. You can spend eternity on a windowsill. How is that for incentive for following this dead Savior?
You see, if Christ did not rise from the dead, we are the biggest fools of all! But it did not happen that way. He is risen! Witnessed by many and Paul states confidently with his own firsthand eyewitness knowledge of the resurrection,
(20) But now Christ has come back from the dead. He is the very first person of those who have died to come back to life. (21) Since a man brought death, a man also brought life back from death. (22) As everyone dies because of Adam, so also everyone will be made alive because of Christ.
Did you catch that? He didnít say ďbelieversĒ will be made alive. He says, ďeveryoneĒ will be made alive. Everyone! Believer or atheist, lukewarm or hot will be raised from the dead for the purpose of facing their Creator on the final Judgement Day.
Just think a bit about time and eternity. Take a roll of paper out of one of our paper mills in the area and extend it as far as the eye can see in either direction. Thatís a picture of eternity. Now take a pencil and make a little dash on that roll of paper and you have a picture of time. Put a little dot on that dash and you have a picture of your life.
It seems to me that you have two possibilities here. You can believe that your little dot is all that you have. If thatís the case, you might as well make the most of it. Because one day all that will be left will be a dot of dust that you might find on a windowsill.
Or you can believe that there is more! A lot more! An eternity of more. You can believe that faith matters. You can believe that Christís suffering and death matters. You can believe that because He lives you too will one day rise from the dead and live in eternity.
Hereís the rub. If youíre right and Iím wrong, then I will be the fool for my 70 or 80 years. But if Iím right and youíre wrong. Youíll play the role of a tortured fool for eternity. You think you have troubles now? Donít you think those stakes require a little more than a quick, ďI donít believe that?Ē
Donít you think that you owe it to yourself to examine the historical facts? Doesnít it seem strange to you that a man named Isaiah wrote about this event 700 years before it happened, and it happened just as he wrote it?
These writings werenít just added to the latest edition of the Bible at the Christian Book store to prop up the case of Christ. They were handed down and preserved through the ages in the Book we call the Bible.
Several years ago in a cave near the Dead Sea some scrolls were uncovered. These had been copied from other scrolls and the book of Isaiah was virtually word for word what we use today.
In fact the Isaiah chapter 53 scroll, from which we used as our text this morning, that was found in the cave was found to have been copied about 100 B.C. Thatís undeniable evidence of the existence of this prophecy, and history records the undeniable evidence of the crucifixon and resurrection of Christ.
But donít let the evidence sway you, as Jesus related in Luke 16:31
ďIf they wonít listen to the Holy Scriptures, they wonít be persuaded even if someone comes back to life.Ē
Let the evidence intrigue you . Open up your Bible. Listen to the Word of God! Let the Holy Spirit sway you. You know that you are a sinner. Every time this Book is read and this Word is proclaimed, you know that you fall short of what God demands.
He demands perfection, and the only way you can achieve it is by admitting you canít. The only way you can achieve it is by humbly admitting your helplessness, pounding your breast and asking God to have mercy on you a sinner, and then receiving Christ as your Savior and putting yourself under the authority of His Word.
He is risen! He is risen indeed, Isaiah knew it 700 years before it happened. You can know it 2000 years after it happened, this resurrection Sunday, ask Jesus for the pardon he won for you at Calvary, a pardon that received Godís stamp of approval, when Jesus rose from the dead!