JESUS QUOTES THE PROPHET ISAIAH

 

The prophet Isaiah, who lived in the eighth century B.C., is a prominent source of Old Testament prophecies that address the Jesus to come. Among these prophecies is the passage in Isaiah 7:14 where the prophet describes Jesus as being born of a virgin, and the passage in Isaiah 9:1 and 2, where Isaiah claims that Jesus will come from Galilee. Because so many of his prophecies depict such accurate facts about Jesus, some would-be Bible scholars attempted to claim that the Book of Isaiah was written after Jesus’ first advent. This claim was shown to be false by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, the documents of which were dated to before Christ and which contained the complete Book of Isaiah.

Jesus also quoted passages of Isaiah, confirming their truth. Isaiah 61:1-2a reads as follows:

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the

Lord . . .”

Jesus, in Luke 4:16-21, is quoted as saying essentially the same words as Isaiah. And well He should, as He was reading from a scroll.

“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet, Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

“And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say to them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

But what adds authority to Jesus’ words is that in quoting Isaiah, He didn’t finish the entire verse, the rest of which reads:

“. . .and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”

Isaiah goes on to describe the blessings with which God will endow the nation of Israel.

Why did Jesus break off Isaiah’s prophecy in mid-sentence? Because in the synagogue He was describing just what He would accomplish regarding Isaiah’s prophecy in His first advent. The remainder of Isaiah’s prophecy was related to Jesus’ Second Coming, as foretold in the Book of Revelation.

Another passage of Isaiah that was quoted by Jesus is in Isaiah 6:9 and 10:

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear you indeed, but understand not; and see you indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and are converted, and be healed.”

Jesus often spoke of the necessity of having eyes to see and ears to hear what He is teaching. In Mark 4:12, He quotes Isaiah 6:9 and 10 almost verbatim:

“That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”

These passages seem to say that God gives a saving knowledge of Him to some people but denies it to others. Is this what He’s really saying? There is another passage, in Matthew 11:25-27 that seems so say just that.

“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes.

“All things are delivered to me by my Father, and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, but the Son, and Him to whomever the Son will reveal Him.”

Why would God deny knowledge of Him to some, as this passage clearly states? In Matthew 13:11-16, Jesus repeats this denial, and gives us an answer as to why, with a commentary similar to that in His Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25).

“[Jesus] answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

“For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whoever has not, from him shall be taken away even what he has.

“Therefore I speak to them in parables, because they seeing, see not, and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says, By hearing, you shall hear and shall not understand, and seeing, you shall see and not perceive; for this people’s heart is become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

“But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.”

What Jesus was saying is that some people are so full of selfishness and pride and so caught up in the secular, material world that they don’t think of God as even relevant to their lives. They cannot understand, primarily because they don’t want to. Paul picked up on this failing of secular-minded people in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25:

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has God not made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them who believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Gentiles seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness; but to them who are called, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

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