2016-09-07 / Religion

Do you know who Jesus really is?

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Isaiah 61

At the time of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the son of God, many of his hearers had great difficulty in recognizing his true identity. Yes, they saw him as a great teacher. They recognized the miracles that He performed. However, to accept this one as deity was too much for most of the people to accept.

Shortly after his ministry had begun, our Lord returned to the city of “Nazareth, where he had been brought up.” As Luke recorded the scene, he said of the master, “and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” Luke 4:6. At that time in history, copies of the Old Testament were very scarce, thus, not every family had its own copy.

That particular day, the ruler of the synagogue gave the now visiting teacher “the book of the prophet, Esaias. Luke wrote, “And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it is written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering the sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.” Luke 4:17-20. The beloved physician summarized the comments that day “And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Luke 4:21.

As the prophet, Isaiah, wrote the words that were used centuries later, he did not know the extend of the message that he declared that day in antiquity. The Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21) was painting a word picture of actions in centuries to come. That day in the synagogue, our Lord stopped in what we have as the middle of Isaiah 61:2.

Many present-day writers attempt to place all of these scriptures in the future, regarding them only as promises for the coming Kingdom Age. Yes, there will be a “day of vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 61:2b) at the time known as the Great Tribulation (Matthew24:21). At the end of this terrible time, the nation of Israel will accept Jesus Christ as their national and personal messiah. The Zechariah reported, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon him whom they pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. Zechariah 12:10. That prophet of old continued, “they shall call upon my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.” Zechariah 13:9b.

Our Lord did not read the portion regarding the “day of vengeance” as he spoke that sabbath in Nazareth. Neither the cross, nor the Great Tribulation had occurred. However, if one will view the death of Christ on the cross as the place where the vengeance of God is poured upon the sin of the human race through the death of his son the picture reveals the life that is available to all who will accept the divine plan. Earlier, Isaiah wrote of the messiah, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” Isaiah 53:4a.

Our Lord identified himself with but was not a partaker of fallen, sinful mankind. Contrary to some present day teaching, Jesus did not go to the cross as a sinner, but as the perfect sacrifice for all sinners. As the “Lamb of God,” John 1:29, he represented all of the fallen race before the throne of grace Hebrews 4:16. Each person must personally accept this divine provision.

Our Lord came to “comfort all that mourn.” Isaiah 61:2c. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Matthews 5:4. This declaration pictures one who is mourning for sins of the past. When these sins are forgiven, there is a comfort that only redeemed ones can know.

The prophet wrote of some divine exchanges that are made available to all who will accept them. Because of his death on the cross, our Lord will “appoint reward; preserve unto them that mourn in Zion” Isaiah 61:3a, as the place of worship and divine service not self appointed acts of self righteousness. These exchanges reach to our day “to give unto them beauty for ashes.” Isaiah 61:3b. To smear ashes on the face was an outward sign of mourning. Yes, one can mourn over sins of the past until they are forgiven, when they have been left at the cross by our confession.

“The oil of joy for mourning” shows the normal means one had of showing that the time of mourning has been completed. Isaiah 61:3c. Beggars, lepers and others with a disgraced physical condition were required to wear certain types of garments to indicate their state if affairs. This has been exchanged. Since our Lord took the sign of disgrace for all mankind, he offers one “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” Isaiah 61:3d.

These exchanges not only indicate the divine intervention in the lost condition, but changes the outlook and purpose of life. The redeemed one are now “called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.” Isaiah 16:3e. The psalmist used this same word picture, as he described the “blessed man” “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season.” Psalm 1:3a. Where has God Jehovah planted you? If we are not careful we can become critical of the position that our Lord has chosen for us.

The prophet gave the purpose for our divine placement “that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3f. After all, the one who has made the great exchanges in our loves has an eternal reason. We have been “bought with a price,” thus making us property of our master. 1 Peter 1:18,19.

As in many instances in the past, the servants became to be considered a part of the household, and friends of the family. John 15:15.

In the future, Israel will have responsibility for rebuilding the waste places, and repairing the cities. Isaiah 61:4. Today, our loves can be made new by accepting the divine plan. 2 Corinthians 5:17. Have you, personally, accepted this provision? John 3:16.

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. A native of Early County, Rev. Temples taught in public schools 32 years and 10 years at Southeastern College of Assemblies of God, in Lakeland, Fla. He also served as pastor and evangelist during those years. He can be contacted at P.O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478, 299, 2068. Email: jctjet@aol.com.

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