Today’s Reading: Isa 63:1–64:12, Luke 23:26–24:12, Job 14:1–10
Today’s Theme: The Resurrection
Today’s focus is on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We begin in the future when the resurrected Lord will establish His kingdom and destroy all of His enemies. As we read through today’s readings there are elements of the power and significance of the resurrection everywhere.
Thank God for the resurrection today, without it, we would be lost.
The Victorious Warrior King
“I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. Isaiah 63:3 (ESV)
This does not fit the western, sentimentalised view of Jesus, but this is the Lord speaking. At His second coming He will return as a great warrior king and many of His enemies will be killed.
This is not allegorical, at the second coming there will be a great war and Jesus alone will slay His enemies (unrepentant men who are at the battle wage war against Israel and God) with the sword of His mouth.
When we think of this side of Jesus it brings a new perspective to our evangelism (telling men to flee the wrath to come) and to our daily walk (we will walk in the fear of the Lord and not be flippant and disrespectful to Jesus).
Jesus the risen king will return, live in readiness.
The Day of Vengeance
For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come. Isaiah 63:4 (ESV)
This is the fulfilment of the second half of the prophecy mentioned yesterday, the part where Jesus stopped reading the first time He came.
By the way, this is why in yesterday’s reading Jesus said to the council you will not believe me if I told you, because His understanding and their understanding of the Messiah were so different. As we now know, the Messiah would suffer but then rise from the dead and return one day to complete the fulfilment of the prophecy.
I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. Isaiah 63:7 (ESV)
Why does God give such grace to those He has chosen (Israel and the Church)? The answer is because of His compassion and love.
Thank God today for the compassion He has on you and for loving you so much that Jesus was crucified for you and rose from the dead to give us eternal life.
Jesus, The Angel of God’s Face
In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. Isaiah 63:9 (ESV)
In the Hebrew this can read as “The Angel, His Face”. The expression carries the same sense as other places in the Old Testament that talk about God’s visible representation.
The angel is the visibly present Lord, the second person of the Trinity and by Him God has saved and redeemed His people. We read in Colossians 1:15 that “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
God is touched and so connected to His people that He feels their affliction and redeems them in His love and pity for us.
This is evidence of God spoken of as a Trinity even in the Old Testament.
Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit
But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them. Isaiah 63:10 (ESV)
More Old Testament reference to the members of the Holy Trinity. Evidence that the Trinity is not a new idea only found in the New Testament
If we sin the Holy Spirit is grieved, this is not a new thing in the New Testament.
Like livestock that go down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD gave them rest. So you led your people, to make for yourself a glorious name. Isaiah 63:14 (ESV)
Again God’s greatest motivation is for His glory. When God is glorified it is the best possible result for His people because He is worthy of praise and adoration and is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.
God was glorified in the Resurrection of Jesus.
The God who tears the heavens
Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence— Isaiah 64:1 (ESV)
Yes Lord, may secular Israel have the heart of the children of Israel in this passage who pray to be acquainted with You again.
Also we can lift this great prayer before God for our nation. That God would tear through the spiritual climate and visit our nation.
Of course in a very real sense God already tore through the heavens and came down through the incarnation, passing through the heavens to come from His dwelling place to humble Himself as a man.
Jesus life, death, resurrection and ascension cut through the spiritual realm, defeating the demonic structures of the enemy and making lasting deliverance available for God’s elect people.
The Risen Lord is the victor who has cut through the heavens, making a way for us.
God who acts
From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. Isaiah 64:4 (ESV)
This is a distinguishing fact about our God. He is real and all the others are demons so they can do no good and have no real power in comparison to God.
Our God is one who acts and one who engages in relationship with those who put their faith in Him.
God, our Father and Potter
But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8 (ESV)
God is our great Father and is the potter, while we are clay in His hands. Both of these pictures are picked up and used in the New Testament.
We must be pliable in His hands so He can mould us into vessels fit for His purpose.
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Luke 23:33 (ESV)
These are three short words but what they represented was the horrific act of nailing Jesus to the wood of the cross. This is the severe demonstration of God’s zeal for holiness and righteousness as well as His love for the world.
Crucifixion is one of the cruellest executions invented by man, the following medical view is adapted from Norman Geisler (2004).
“As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain—the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward, he places his full weight on the nail through his feet… tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.
At this point, another phenomenon occurs. As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain…. Air can be drawn into the lungs but it cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise himself in order to get even one short breath.
Now begin hours of this limitless pain, cycles of cramping and twisting, partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from his lacerated back as he moves up and down against the rough timber. …. A deep, crushing pain in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart”
Father forgive them
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. Luke 23:34 (ESV)
It is extraordinary that Jesus is able, in the excruciating pain of the cross, to think of others and pray to God to forgive His enemies.
He has left an example for each of us.
The madness of rejecting Jesus
And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” Luke 23:35 (ESV)
Listen to the madness of their statement, they acknowledge that He saved others and now mock that He should save Himself.
Their behaviour is really demonic.
The Hour of Darkness
The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” Luke 23:36–37 (ESV)
The mockery of the soldiers, who had nothing in common with the rulers, shows that as Jesus said this was the hour of darkness. There was likely a strong demonic atmosphere at the crucifixion inspiring the cruelty and mockery as Satan celebrated his apparent victory.
Know in dark times that in the end we win.
The darkness of God
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, Luke 23:44 (ESV)
Some say that this 3 hours of darkness was the period in which all the sins of those who put their faith in Jesus was laid on Him.
Also note that in the Old Testament darkness would not speak of demonic presence but the presence of God (often in judgement), these three hours of darkness are marked by God’s express presence in laying the sins of the world on His son.
God judged His son for the sins of the world so that God’s elect who put their faith in Christ could be freed from the price of sin. He was judged so that we would not be judged for our sin.
The veil torn
while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Luke 23:45 (ESV)
The tearing of the temple veil can symbolise many things including:
- Pointing to the judgement coming on the temple;
- The consummation of the old covenant;
- God rending His garments like a mourning father;
- God’s presence leaving the temple;
- The temple and sacrifice type is now fulfilled in Jesus’ death;
- This was the great, ultimate and final Yom Kippur;
- Jesus opens the door to Heaven;
- Temple worship is over;
- The Temple as the centre of God’s activity on the earth is no more.
Sovereign on the Cross
Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Luke 23:46 (ESV)
Jesus remained in full control, He laid his life down, He decided when He would breathe his last breath.
The 1st day of the week
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. Luke 24:1 (ESV)
Jesus rose on a Sunday, the first day of the week which is why from the book of Acts until today Christians meet and fellowship on a Sunday in honour of the resurrection of Jesus which opened the way to eternal life and new beginning in God.
Jesus rose from the dead!
And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, Luke 24:5–6 (ESV)
We need to read this slowly and appreciate it. This is absolutely amazing, Jesus rose from the dead, this is just awesome, God showing His great power and wisdom.
We need to remember that when the New Testament was written this was a revolutionary concept which is why Paul was met with such mockery…. 2,000 years later we take it for granted that Jesus rose from the dead but this was the greatest event in the history of the world and the great victory of God over the devil.
Paul said that without the resurrection our faith would be in vain in 1 Corinthians 15:17 where it says “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”
Women, preach the gospel
Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, Luke 24:10 (ESV)
God has called women to proclaim the Gospel. The first proclaimers of the Gospel were women… this doesn’t mean women should be bishops or rule over churches but they should boldly declare the gospel.
This is again revolutionary, if this was a made up story there is no way the authors would let women be the first ones to see the resurrected Lord or to proclaim the good news because 2,000 years ago women were seen as second class to men.
God is both infinite and imminent
look away from him and leave him alone, that he may enjoy, like a hired hand, his day. Job 14:6 (ESV)
Although Job’s understanding that God has determined how long each person lives and where they live etc. is correct, his understanding of God’s relationship to His creation is faulty.
The Bible reveals to us that God predetermines man’s days and limits because He is a God who cares about His creation and actively engages with His creation.
God has not (like Hinduism or deism teach) set a number of laws in motion and now sits back and lets man get on with it. No, He is our transcendent creator, actively calling men to salvation and pouring out both discipline, blessing and judgment. God is personally involved in some way in everyone’s lives and in a general way in all situations and most intensely in the lives of His elect.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.