Monday 10 September 2018
As a background to our sermon series Created to Grow, over the next four weeks we will be looking at some highlights from the book of Isaiah.
Why should we read Isaiah?
Isaiah is one of the longest books of the Bible. Large chunks of it (particularly chapters 13-34) are all about God’s judgement on ancient people groups in the Middle East. So why should we invest time in reading this book?
Isaiah is like the Bible in miniature
Originally every book of the Bible was written without chapter and verse numbers. However, at some point Christians decided that it would be easier to find references in the Bible if verses and chapters of the Bible were numbered. Whoever it was who put the numbers into Isaiah did something ingenious:
The Bible has 66 books – 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.
Isaiah has 66 chapters – 39 in the first part and 27 in the second part.
Chapters 1-39 of Isaiah have more bad news than good news, with a focus on Israel and its near neighbours.
Chapters 40-66 of Isaiah have more good news than bad news, with the focus shifting to include all the nations of the world.
As you read through Isaiah, see if you can spot any more parallels…
The New Testament quotes from Isaiah
The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John): 25 quotes from Isaiah
Acts: 5 quotes from Isaiah
Paul’s letters 28 quotes from Isaiah
Peter’s letters 6 quotes from Isaiah
In Hebrews 1 quote from Isaiah
In Revelation 1 quote from Isaiah
And these are just the direct quotes – there are also several indirect references.
Isaiah helps us to get to know Jesus better
In the first part of Isaiah, there are repeated prophecies of a coming king. In the second part of Isaiah there are repeated prophecies about a suffering servant. It is possible that Isaiah did not even realise that both sets of prophecies would be fulfilled in one person. But we can see that both are fulfilled in Jesus. In his first coming Jesus was the suffering servant. And in his second coming Jesus will be the undisputed king.
Are you ready to make a start with reading the book of Isaiah?
Thomas Halley (Sawyers Church Leadership Team)