Today we read the second half of Isaiah, and the first three chapters of Jeremiah. I will spend tomorrow talking about Jeremiah, as we will be reading only in Jeremiah for Day 19.
Isaiah Part 2
For major themes and for help in understanding the trends and literature throughout Isaiah, refer to Day 17. Because the second part of Isaiah deals with a wide array of history and prophecy, I'm going to focus on just one portion of the text: the prophecies of Jesus.
As many know, a manuscript of Isaiah was discovered with the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran just northwest of the Dead Sea in 1947. The entire scroll of Isaiah was preserved within the Dead Sea Scrolls, which is incredible and the significance cannot be stressed enough. The radiocarbon dating (Carbon-14) determines the date of the manuscript back to as early as 200 B.C. This is significant, because many arguments against the validity of the Messiah are due to supposedly forged prophecies. However, there is now reliable history showing that there indeed were prophecies written by the prophet Isaiah about Jesus Christ before Christ was born, even hundreds of years before! While the scrolls found at Qumran may date to the 4th-2nd century B.C., these are only verified copies, as we know the original Isaiah was penned even earlier. There were prophecies about Jesus in the Bible hundreds and even over 1000 years before he came to earth. Incredible. Today, I'm only going to focus on a few of the prophecies in the second half of Isaiah. There are many worth noting in the first half of Isaiah as well, but I won't be referring to those today.
3 A voice cries:[a] “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
This is a prophecy about John the Baptist declaring that he is preparing the way for Jesus in John 1:19-28. Skeptics will say it is easy to quote a scripture and claim to be someone; however, when we read Luke 1, we see that John the Baptist was set aside from before he was born to proclaim Jesus.
6 I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.
Jesus was beaten, spat on, flogged, and humiliated before he was crucified (Matthew 26:67).
13 See, My Servant will act wisely; He will be raised and lifted up and greatly exalted.
The Jews understood "Servant" as referring to the Messiah. In fact, the Targum actually says "the Messiah." Jesus was lifted up, just as the snake in the desert that Moses held for the Israelites (John 3:14) and he was greatly exhalted as a perfect sacrifice for sins (Philippians 2:9-10).
Isaiah 52:14 and 53:2
14 Just as many were appalled at You[a]— His appearance was so disfigured that He did not look like a man, and His form did not resemble a human being—
2 He grew up before Him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He didn’t have an impressive form or majesty that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him.
We know that Jesus was given a crown of thorns, was brutally beaten and flogged (sometimes a form of torture that killed people even without crucifixion). Mark 15:15-19 and Matthew 27:26-31 show us this prophecy being fulfilled.
The second scripture says that Jesus did not have an impressive form, that he looked just like any other man. Have you ever wondered why Judas told the chief priests and elders that he would kiss Jesus in order to identify him before the armed guards? The people could not easily identify him from the rest of his disciples. Jesus looked like an average man.
5 But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.
This is a powerful scripture. Jesus was literally pierced on the cross. He was nailed at his hands (or wrists) and feet. He was crushed in his body and crushed in his spirit. He was torn. He asked for God to take away his cup but he was nonetheless surrendered to the Father's will. And it is by his wounds we are healed (1 Peter 2:24). The Jews would have immediately thought of the Levitical system of sacrifices. The only way for healing (spiritual forgiveness) is by blood sacrifice. This prophecy shows that Jesus would offer himself as a sacrifice. For an overview of the Jewish Sacrificial System, read Day 3 here.
6 We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth. 8 He was taken away because of oppression and judgment; and who considered His fate? For He was cut off from the land of the living; He was struck because of my people’s rebellion.
Because of the lives we choose to live, and because of our separation from God's holiness in a life of sin, Jesus was the Perfect Lamb. He could have called thousands of angels to save himself, but he chose to save us instead. He was silent before the slaughter. He didn't argue or complain. He didn't try to run away. He fixed his eyes on the cross before him for us. Incredible.
12 Therefore I will give Him[a] the many as a portion, and He will receive the mighty as spoil, because He submitted Himself to death, and was counted among the rebels; yet He bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels.
He bore our sins in his body (1 Peter 2:24) and was counted among the rebels. Matthew 27:17 is when Pilate trades Barabbas for Jesus. Jesus took Barabbas' place in prison (and ours), becoming a rebel before the eyes of the people. Such illustrious prophecies in Isaiah.
These are only a few prophecies, but there are dozens more throughout Isaiah. I recommend doing a more in-depth study on Isaiah and prophecies. You won't be disappointed.