NEW PROVIDENCE BAPTIST CHURCH

WHERE GOD IS CALLING YOU OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sunday School Lesson

April 27

 Lesson 9

 From Suffering to Glory

Devotional Reading: John 1:10-18

Background Scripture: Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Luke 24:25-27, 44-50

Isaiah 53:3-8

3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

Luke 24:25-27, 44-47

25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

 

44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Key Verse

Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. —Luke 24:27

Lesson Aims

After participating in this lesson, each student will be able to:

1. List the elements of Isaiah's prediction of Jesus' humiliation.

2. Suggest reasons why Jesus' disciples were "slow of heart to believe" the prophecies about Jesus.

3. Identify a personal "slow of heart" shortcoming and write a prayer for change.

Lesson Outline

Introduction

A. The Scapegoat

B. Lesson Background

I. Suffering for Others (Isaiah 53:3-8)

A. Man of Sorrows (vv. 3-5)

The Nature of Christ

B. Innocent Lamb (vv. 6-8)

II. Prophesied to Suffer (Luke 24:25-27)

A. From Suffering to Glory (vv. 25, 26)

B. From Prophecy to History (v. 27)

III. Promises to Preach (Luke 24:44-47)

A. Understanding the Scripture (vv. 44, 45)

B. Evangelizing the Nations (vv. 46, 47)

The Centrality of the Cross

Conclusion

A. The Wonder of Prophecy

B. Prayer

C. Thought to Remember

Introduction
A. The Scapegoat

In the business world, there is a phenomenon called scapegoating. This happens when an employee leaves a company; problems are then blamed on the departed one for a few months. (This can happen with churches too.)

The scapegoat concept comes from the Bible: on the annual Day of Atonement, the high priest was to lay his hands on the head of a goat, confess the sins of the people, then release the goat into the wilderness to be the scapegoat ("escape goat") that took away the sins of the people. This ritual therefore was understood to be a transfer of the people's sins to the goat (Leviticus 16:7-10, 20-22).

This idea of transfer of guilt for sins is at the heart of the sacrificial system used by the Israelites. There were many kinds of sacrifices, but the most potent were those that involved killing an animal by shedding its blood. For example, a goat was to be killed on the Day of Atonement (before the other goat, the scapegoat, was released into the wilderness), and its blood used in an atonement ritual (Leviticus 16:15-19). The concepts of transfer of guilt and sacrificial shedding of blood are keys to understanding the atoning effect of Jesus' death. Today's lesson demonstrates that the idea of the sacrificial death for God's chosen one was prophesied over 700 years before it happened.

B. Lesson Background

While the early chapters of Isaiah celebrate Immanuel, the special child to be given as a sign of God's presence (Isaiah 7:14; 8:8; 9:6), the latter half of the book presents the Messiah as the servant, the one designated for a special ministry for the Lord (see Isaiah 42:1-4; 50:10; etc.). The most detailed prophecies about the role of the servant of the Lord are found in Isaiah 53, parts of which are in today's text. Here we learn something of how the Messiah is to bear the sins of the people, as the scapegoat did at the tabernacle.

Our lesson today also addresses two sections from the Gospel of Luke. The two passages have a similar theme (Jesus' resurrection), but from different settings.

I. Suffering for Others

                                                                                 (Isaiah 53:3-8)

The first passage of our lesson is part of a section beginning in Isaiah 52:13 that discusses the "servant" of the Lord. Isaiah 42-53 is characterized by its Servant Songs, and the one beginning in 52:13 is quoted multiple times in the New Testament as a description of Jesus' ministry, death, and burial (see Matthew 8:17; Luke 22:37; Acts 8:26-35; 1 Peter 2:22).

The last half of Isaiah 53:2 emphasizes the "comeliness" this servant is to lack. At first glance, this seems to be a very odd picture of the Messiah: people will not be attracted to Him! Isaiah 53:3 begins to tell us why.

A. Man of Sorrows (vv. 3-5)

3. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

In some of the most poignant words in all of Scripture, the Messiah is described as one whose situation is so dire that people cannot bear to look at Him. Isaiah paints a horrific picture in this regard: the Messiah is despised, meaning He has lost all respect; He is rejected, meaning He has been expelled from the community; He is not esteemed, meaning opinions of Him are very low.

Isaiah also describes the inner turmoil of the Messiah. He is a man of sorrows, meaning He is not immune to great pain and humiliation. He internalizes these things at a deep level. He is acquainted with grief, meaning emotional pain floods His soul.

How to Say It

Apollinarius Uh-pawl-uh-nair-ee-us.

Arius Air-ee-us.

Emmaus Em-may-us.

Eutyches You-tuh-kess.

Immanuel Ih-man-you-el.

Ketuvim (Hebrew) Ket-you-vim.

Nevi'im (Hebrew) Neh-vih-im.

Nestorius Neh-stawr-ee-us.

Niebuhr Nee-bore.

Pilate Pie-lut.

shalom (Hebrew) shah-lome.

Torah (Hebrew) Tor-uh.

4. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

The description of the Messiah's great personal pain continues. Also included is an explanation for the reason: the griefs and sorrows of the Messiah are not of His own making—they are neither self-caused nor deserved. He bears the griefs and sorrows for us, as our surrogate, our scapegoat.

People do not easily accept this relationship. Horror at His condition is self-excused because people believe that since God is punishing Him, then He is rightly stricken, smitten, and afflicted. People know that God never acts unjustly, so they naturally reason that this man must have done something to deserve the punishment. However, Isaiah's use of the word our (twice) does not allow us to escape our culpability.

What Do You Think?

What griefs and sorrows do you need to turn over to Christ today? Why?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

A sorrow of the spirit

A sorrow of the body

A sorrow of your family

A sorrow of your church

5. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

The prophet moves from the emotional pain of the Messiah to His physical torture. He has done nothing to deserve being wounded and bruised; rather, He suffers because of our transgressions and our iniquities. He gains nothing personally from His chastisement; rather, it happens for our peace. This peace is the Hebrew word shalom, indicating a complete, restful relationship. The Messiah is our peace, the one who allows our relationship with God to be restored by removing the barrier of sin (see Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:14).

Visual for Lessons 9 & 11. Point to this visual as you introduce the discussion question that is associated with verse 47.

One of the most powerful concepts in the Bible is found in the phrase with his stripes we are healed. This happened in the brutal, bloody flogging and subsequent crucifixion that Jesus endured at the hands of His Roman torturers (see John 19:1). On the surface, this seems like nonsense. How can all this suffering result in our healing?

Peter, an eyewitness, helps us understand when he quotes this verse and comments that Jesus "bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness" (1 Peter 2:24). This is the concept of atonement, which is at the heart of everything Christian. We cannot save ourselves from the consequences of our sins; we cannot make things right with God on our own. So God provides the perfect, once-for-all sacrifice in the person of His Son (Hebrews 9:26; 10:12; see 1 John 2:2). Jesus voluntarily takes the punishment we deserve. May we never lose this core, irreplaceable truth!

The Nature of Christ

Students of the Bible have been debating the nature of Christ for almost 2,000 years. This was particularly true in the early centuries of the church. Some, such as Arius and Nestorius, saw Jesus as fully human but less than fully divine. Others, such as Apollinarius and Eutyches, saw Jesus as fully divine but not fully human.

Critics opposed all four of these teachers, labeling them heretics. Some of the most strident opposition came against the latter two. If Jesus were not fully human, then how could He have been "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15)? If He did not have a full human nature to be nailed to the cross, then how can He be the perfect sacrifice for my sin? As some of the early church fathers phrased it, "What the Son of God did not assume, He could not redeem."

Isaiah is just as emphatic when he tells us that the coming one would bear our grief, take our sorrows, and be wounded and bruised on our behalf. Only the fully God and fully human Jesus could do that.—J. B. N.

B. Innocent Lamb (vv. 6-8)

6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah continues this prophecy of the Messiah by shifting to an analogy well known to his people: the realm of sheep and shepherds. First, he characterizes us as being like sheep that ignore their shepherd and wander off. This is a way of describing our sinfulness, a willful rejection of God's rules and guidance. God chooses to lay the guilt for our iniquity upon the Messiah. The one who is not guilty becomes the target of punishment for those who are guilty.

What Do You Think?

In what ways did people willfully fail to follow the shepherd, Jesus, in the first century? How do these compare and contrast with similar failures that we see today?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

John 6:60-66

2 Timothy 4:10a

2 John 9

3 John 9-11

Other

7. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

The sheep analogy continues, but shifts from us (the guilty, straying sheep) to the Messiah as a lamb to be slaughtered (see Revelation 5:6) and a shaggy sheep ready to be sheared of its wool. In both cases, the emphasis is on the docile, cooperative nature of sheep. Jesus, aware of the horror He would suffer on the cross, went to His death with a docile dignity (see Luke 18:31-33). A remarkable fulfillment of this prophecy comes at the trials of Jesus, where He offers no defense. This causes Pilate to marvel (see Matthew 27:12-14). Isaiah foresees both the trials and execution of the Messiah (see Acts 8:30-35, which quotes our text).

8a. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation?

This verse is harder to understand, but the impression is that of "justice perverted" regarding Jesus' trials. The reference to his generation seems to be a prophetic indictment against Jesus' fellow Jews, who not only failed to protest His condemnation to death but demanded it (Luke 23:21).

8b. for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

Isaiah ends this section with a summation of this incredible vision: the servant of the Lord will be killed for the transgression of God's own people. The great tragedy is that the majority of Jewish people do not accept this role for their Messiah and therefore reject Jesus. In so doing, they reject God's provision for their salvation.

II. Prophesied to Suffer

                                                                                 (Luke 24:25-27)

Only Luke gives us the wonderful story of the two disciples walking to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). They are joined in their walk by a stranger, and the two tell this man about the recent events in Jerusalem involving Jesus' death. This is a very sad thing for the two disciples (v. 17), for they had hoped that Jesus would be the one to redeem their nation (v. 21). The stranger is none other than the risen Jesus, but the two are prevented from recognizing Him (v. 16).

A. From Suffering to Glory (vv. 25, 26)

25, 26. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

The still-incognito Jesus seizes the opportunity to explain to the two that they have misunderstood the Christ's God-ordained role. Jesus' summary of God's plan is very simple: the prophets foresaw that the Christ would suffer and enter His glory.

Some readers think that Jesus is being quite harsh as He calls the two fools, and slow of heart to believe. But the fact that these two will invite this (for now) stranger to stay with them (v. 29) indicates that they are more intrigued than offended. There is a certain "shock value" to Jesus' technique, and we see its success when the two later say to each other, "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way?" (v. 32).

What Do You Think?

What can happen if we fail to discern the presence of Christ in our lives? How do we correct or avoid this problem?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

At work or school

At home

When traveling

Other

B. From Prophecy to History (v. 27)

27. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Although the disciples still do not know who the stranger is, He gives them a lesson about himself based on Scripture. He begins with Moses (meaning the five books of Moses, which are Genesis through Deuteronomy) and walks through the prophets, the writings of God's Old Testament spokesmen like Isaiah. Oh, how we wish we had a transcript of this conversation! It is not hard to imagine, though, that our earlier text from Isaiah 53 is a key part of Jesus' lesson.

Reflecting on this encounter later, the two disciples admit that this was an emotional time for them (Luke 24:32). Even before they were allowed to recognize their Master, they had sensed something supernatural and wonderful.

III. Promises to Preach

                                                                                  (Luke 24:44-47)

In the intervening text, Jesus agrees to stay with the two disciples (Luke 24:28, 29), and He reveals His identity while breaking bread. After Jesus disappears, the two disciples return hastily to Jerusalem to tell others about their meeting with the risen Jesus. As they relate their story, it receives an unexpected confirmation: Jesus appears to all who are gathered (Luke 24:36).

A. Understanding the Scripture (vv. 44, 45)

44. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

After dealing with His followers' doubts, Jesus helps them understand the purpose of His ministry, His death, and His resurrection. From this we learn a key principle in the Christian understanding of the Old Testament. As Jesus once said to His critics, these earlier Scriptures "testify of me" (John 5:39). Jesus is the prophesied Messiah, and His disciples already believe this (see Matthew 16:16; Mark 8:29). The problem is their misconception about what God's Messiah is intended to be and do. They and, it seems, all of the Jewish people of their day have missed passages like Isaiah 53 that speak of a Messiah's being sent to save souls rather than liberate a nation.

The fact that Jesus refers to what is written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms indicates that He is drawing on the entirety of the Old Testament, since that's how the people of His day categorized the sections of Scripture. Modern Jews refer to these three sections of the Hebrew Bible as Torah (law), Nevi'im (prophets), and Kethuvim (writings), respectively. These three together have all the same books that we have in our Old Testament, although our English Bibles arrange the 39 books differently.

The entirety of the Old Testament bears witness to the Messiah. Without this Old Testament background, our understanding of Jesus and His purpose would be limited and inadequate. There is important continuity between the Old and the New Testaments, and the connecting link is the Messiah. He is the one promised by the Old Testament and revealed to us in the four Gospels.

45. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.

We do not have Jesus physically sitting with us and answering our questions about Scriptures today. Yet there is a sense that He is still opening our understanding so that we may appreciate the message of the Bible as He did on that day in Jerusalem. This is one of the purposes of the book of Luke (and its companion volume, Acts), written to show us how Jesus understood himself and how His story was preached by the first-century church. We believe today that the Holy Spirit works through Scriptures to help us understand meanings and applications (see Ephesians 1:17, 18).

What Do You Think?

What are some ways to correct misunderstandings people hold about Jesus today?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

Misunderstandings held by fellow Christians

Misunderstandings held by unbelieving seekers

Misunderstandings held by nonseekers

B. Evangelizing the Nations (vv. 46, 47)

46. And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.

This verse gives us a clear way to understand how Jesus sees His role in the prophecies and in history. First, the intentions of God were written, and then they are fulfilled in the person of Jesus. It has been necessary for Him to suffer (die on the cross) and to rise from the dead the third day. (For the prophecies about the third day, see last week's lesson.) While His death was cruel and unjust, it was not random. As Isaiah foresaw, His suffering is our salvation, for "with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).

The Centrality of the Cross

H. Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962) was one of the most significant American theologians of the first half of the twentieth century. Reacting against classical theological liberalism, he and brother Reinhold were leading figures in the development of neoorthodoxy (a viewpoint that many evangelicals today would still consider too liberal).

The Niebuhrs wanted to resist the pious optimism of liberalism, the viewpoint that "every day in every way mankind is getting better and better." Richard and his brother criticized the liberal "social gospel" as portraying an idealistic picture of human perfection and inaccurate presumptions about human progress. In his 1937 book The Kingdom of God in America, Richard Niebuhr pilloried the social gospel as teaching that "A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross."

Christianity is centered on the cross. Jesus himself stated He had to suffer and be killed. He fulfilled the prophets because He knew the nature of humanity. Let no one tell you otherwise: we are not without sin, and we cannot be saved without the cross.—J. B. N.

47. And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Jesus takes things one step further as He gives His gathered disciples their marching orders. The colossal events of the previous week are the basis for the continuing mission of His church: to preach a message of repentance and remission of sins everywhere (compare Acts 1:8).

This message is possible because the death of Christ serves as a sacrifice for our sins. The resurrection of Christ verifies God's acceptance of His sacrifice in that regard.

What Do You Think?

How will you fill a role in proclaiming the message of Christ "among all nations"?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

Direct roles (personal witness, etc.)

Indirect roles (financial support of missionaries, etc.)

Conclusion
A. The Wonder of Prophecy

The "Scopes Trial" of 1925 received widespread attention, becoming a referendum on the merits of the theory of evolution. Some saw it as a contest between Christian belief and atheism. The attorney for the evolution side was Clarence Darrow (1857-1938), perhaps the most celebrated lawyer of his day. Less remembered are two later debates that involved Darrow in the 1930s. His opponent in these was P. H. Welshimer (1873-1957), minister of the First Christian Church in Canton, Ohio.

Darrow had debated many people on the merits of the Christian faith, and his great intellect served him well. His opponents were usually not prepared to meet his challenges. Welshimer, however, employed a tactic Darrow had not encountered before: Welshimer focused on the unity of the Bible as a book of prophecy as he laid out some of the wondrous prophecies of the Old Testament that found fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Darrow had no answer for this approach and admitted as much to Welshimer in private. (Unfortunately, Darrow died a few weeks after the second debate and never had a chance to read the books on prophecy suggested by Welshimer.)

Prophecy and fulfillment are inconceivable unless there is a God who is orchestrating them. The intentions of God must be communicated, and then the intended events must take place. We have only a vague idea of how God accomplishes this, but we can marvel nonetheless. God lost us when we sinned, but He was unwilling to allow us to remain lost. We are restored to Him through His grace and mercy in the atoning death of His Son—all planned and revealed ahead of time through God's messengers, the prophets.

B. Prayer

Holy God, we are amazed at Your plan for our salvation through Jesus, a plan prophesied hundreds of years in advance. We humble ourselves in the presence of Jesus, the prophesied one, amen.

C. Thought to Remember

Our salvation in Jesus was prophesied.


 

May 4

Lesson 10

 Jesus Resists Temptation

Devotional Reading: Psalm 91:1-12

Background Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:13-16; 8:3;
Psalm 91:11, 12; Matthew 4:1-11

Deuteronomy 6:13-16

13 Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;

15 (For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

16 Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

Matthew 4:1-11

1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Key Verse

[Jesus] answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. —Matthew 4:4

Lesson Aims

After participating in this lesson, each student will be able to:

1. Recount the key events of Jesus' temptation.

2. Explain the significance of Jesus' successful resistance of the devil's tempting.

3. Identify a temptation that he or she is susceptible to and locate at least one Scripture passage to commit to memory to combat the temptation.

Lesson Outline

Introduction

A. Sunday School on Trial

B. Lesson Background

I. Israel's Task (Deuteronomy 6:13-16)

A. Fear God Alone (vv. 13, 14)

Relating to God

B. Remember God's Jealousy (v. 15)

C. Don't Test God (v. 16)

II. Jesus' Temptation (Matthew 4:1-11)

A. Setting (vv. 1, 2)

B. First (vv. 3, 4)

C. Second (vv. 5-7)

Testing God

D. Third (vv. 8-11)

Conclusion

A. Sword of the Spirit

B. Prayer

C. Thought to Remember


Standard Lesson Commentary 2013-2014 (KJV).

"Suggestions for families are taken from Standardlesson.com,

Standard Publishing Group, LLC. Used with permission. More resources for families are available at Standardpub.com.


God Bless