Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Jesus Explains Isaiah
Pastor Steve Schell
Isaiah 61; Luke 4
During the 3 1/2 years of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee and Judea He allowed people to actually experience what it will be like to live in the coming 1000-year reign of the Messiah. Not only did He teach people to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” but He showed them what the fulfillment of that prayer will look like. He brought foretastes of that future age into this dying age and when He did poor people were offered eternal life, brokenhearted people had their hearts encouraged, enslaved people were set free, sad people were comforted and those who were dead inside came alive. People were given beauty instead of destruction, joy replaced grief and praise poured out of those who had once been weary of living. Those who believed in Him were changed not just for a few days or months or years, but for the rest of their lives. Blind people saw, lame people walked, lepers were cleansed, deaf people heard and even dead people came back to life (Mt 11:5). And the reason was simple. Those things happened because He was there. Just as the morning sun warms whatever it touches, Jesus brings life to whomever He touches. Though there was nothing unusual about His appearance to alert us that He was the Messiah, His words, His actions and the power that flowed from Him gave it away. Yet, He still didn’t fit the picture of what people were expecting, and nowhere was this more evident than in His own hometown of Nazareth. Using a familiar passage from Isaiah He revealed His true identity. The result was an uproar that continues to this day.

What does Isaiah 61 describe?
This chapter is written as if the Messiah Himself were speaking to us telling us about the wonderful changes that will occur when He brings the rule of God to earth. However, nothing in this chapter appears to hint that these miracles will arrive before that new age dawns. The message is someday when the Messiah comes all will be well.

What does Jesus say in Luke 4? (Lk 4:14-21)
Jesus said these glorious miracles that will take place in the Messianic Age were active and present, because the Messiah of whom Isaiah prophesies was present.

How did Nazareth respond? (Lk 4:22-30)
Jesus told them, “There are Gentiles who have more faith than you. Your unbelief is why I do few miracles in this town” (Mt 13:53-58 “…He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief”). Nazareth then responded by trying to push Him over a cliff (and then stone Him?).

What did Jesus do next? (Lk 4:31-44)
He moved from Nazareth to the region around the Sea of Galilee and taught and cast our demons and healed the sick in great numbers. He specifically described what He was doing as preaching the kingdom of God, meaning He was modeling and proclaiming that coming kingdom prophesied by Isaiah. He said, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose” (v 43).

What mystery did Jesus reveal?
The townsfolk in Nazareth believed that these wonders would come someday in the future, but Jesus said the kingdom for which they were waiting had already arrived… because He is the Messiah, so wherever He goes His kingdom goes with Him. He personally is the Source of the miracles they read about in Isaiah. And He never changes so He doesn’t need to wait for a future age to do these things. The One standing in their synagogue is the source of healing and the Lord of the spiritual realm.

What other mystery did Jesus reveal? (Lk 22:14-20)
During those years Jesus also tried to reveal another mystery but virtually no one believed Him until after He was resurrected. He tried to tell them that the suffering Messiah and the ruling Messiah described in Isaiah are the same person, and that His suffering must precede His world-wide rule.

On the final night before He was arrested He served the Passover Meal and told His disciples that His cross would release the power of that kingdom into the lives of His people now. They would not have to wait for the end of this age to arrive.

Listen: Luke 22:14-20
I won’t be taking the Passover again until I return as the ruling Messiah to set up God’s kingdom on earth. When that happens you’ll be there too and we’ll celebrate this meal again (Lk 22:28-30). But first I have to die, and as Isaiah has told you (Isa 53:4, 5, 10) My body will be broken and My blood violently spilled (Lk 22:37). My death will make the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah 31:31-34 available to you now in this present age. In fact, because I will come and dwell in you by the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:15-20) the glories of the Messianic Age will be at work through you after I ascend to heaven (Jn 14:12-14).

Listen to what He said to His disciples: Acts 1:4, 5. (I feel certain the image He uses is drawn from Isaiah 11:9). Listen to what Peter said on the day of Pentecost: Acts 2:14-21; 32, 33. He said Jesus has poured forth “the promise of the Holy Spirit” (2:33).

Because Christ is the Source of these glories and because He dwells in us, the glories of His future kingdom are present through His people now. Though the kingdom of God hasn’t fully come to earth yet, by the Spirit the Messiah has already begun to rule through His people. This is the reality we see at work in the Book of Acts and the New Testament letters. This was Jesus’ plan to expand His kingdom (Ac 1:4 “wait”; Ac 1:8 “then”).

Whether visiting Abraham or Elijah in the Old Testament; or walking though Capernaum, Chorazin or Bethsaida in the New; or ministering through you today wherever you go; or coming in the future to set up God’s kingdom on earth; or bringing the perfection of a new heaven and earth… the glorious works of God come through Jesus, and He never changes. Wherever He’s present His kingdom comes.

Listen once more:
• 1 John 4:4 “…greater is He that is in you than he who is in the world”
• Colossians 1:27 “…Christ in you, the hope of glory”
• John 14:18-20 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”
• Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and unto the ages”

1) If someone were to ask you, “How do you know Jesus lives inside you?” What would you say?
2) Reread Isaiah 61:1-3. Pick one of those beautiful statements and tell us how you have experienced it in your own life.

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