Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Isaiah 14:26-27 1
26 This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. 27 For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?

img199Background 2

The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve. The order of the subsequent books differs somewhat in Christian Old Testament. The first 39 chapters prophesy doom for a sinful Judah and for all the nations of the world that oppose God, while the last 27 prophesy the restoration of the nation of Israel and a new creation in God’s glorious future kingdom; this section includes the Songs of the Suffering Servant, four separate passages referring to the nation of Israel, interpreted the coming of Jesus Christ. Tradition ascribes authorship of the book to Isaiah son of Amoz, but many scholars see it as a compilation of writings from three different periods.

Biblical Truths

Our Bible Truths come from Matthew Henry 3 (1662-1714): “Let those that make themselves a yoke and a burden to God’s people, see what they are to expect. Let those that are the called according to God’s purpose, comfort themselves, that whatever God has purposed, it shall stand. The Lord of hosts has purposed to break the Assyrian’s yoke; his hand is stretched out to execute this purpose; who has power to turn it back? By such dispensations of providence, the Almighty shows in the most convincing manner, that sin is hateful in his sight.”

Items for Discussion

  • Sin might be called man’s rebellion against God’s plan. Why is there no future in sin?
  • We claim to be “God Fearing,” “God Believing” people. If sin is futile, why do we sin?
  • Is God’s plan for this world flawed because of mankind’s imperfections?
  • Can you describe God’s plan for mankind?

 

John 12:17-19
17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”

Background

At this point in John’s Gospel, he notes a different group of people, those from Jerusalem who had been in Bethany mourning the death of Lazarus and had seen Jesus perform the miracle speak up, testifying to what they had seen. The testimony of this group of eyewitnesses appears to provoke further people to go out to meet Jesus as he enters the city. This latter group are probably not the pilgrims mentioned in verse 12, but residents of Jerusalem itself.

The response of the religious authorities, in this case the Pharisees, is one of pessimism. Their statement, while an exaggeration, is brought forward because of the diverse groups of people who have joined in the multitudes welcoming Jesus at the triumphal entry.

John leaves out details found in the other Gospels such as the sending of the disciples to find the donkey. John does not mention the crowd casting their garments before him, or the casting of the palm-fronds. Apparently they just hold them in hand. Remembering that John wrote his Gospel many, many years after Christ’s death, he focuses our attention on that part of the story which is most important to us, setting the stage that God is going to win in the end.

Bible Truth

Those opposed to Jesus were losing and the will of God was winning. While this statement is clearly a hyperbole (deliberate and obvious exaggeration used for effect), it gives us some insight into two groups, both claiming that they do the will and the work of God: “The whole world has gone after him!” Little did they know that their plan to stop Jesus by crucifying him would end up handing Jesus the ultimate victory. When Jesus is crucified, when he is lifted up on the Cross and fulfills God’s will, he then conquers those opposed to God’s will and calls all people seeking God to himself through the message and the triumph of God’s grace.

In times of confusion, misrepresentation and outright deceit from people who claim to be Godly and knowledgeable, it is always important to remember that “God will always win!”

Items for Discussion

  • What is the basis for our belief or trust in others?
  • Why were the witnesses so effective with the other citizens in Jerusalem?
  • How do today’s witnesses, that is those people who have seen what a belief in Christ does to one’s life, affect others who have not yet had the benefit of such a witness?
  • Why do you think that so many people can be confused by those such as the Pharisees, that is people who claim knowledge but are wrong?
  • How do we sort out and make sure we follow the correct set of claims and truths that are brought forward by the “experts?”

Discussion Challenge

  • How do we increase the “common sense” of our population so that discernment can help sort out the truth? 

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Isaiah
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Henry
Share