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Isaiah 53:1-12 1
1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. 11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Morning237Background

In chapter 53, Isaiah is about to wake up both the believers and unbelievers. It is here where we will find hope in our Savior. Isaiah documents and prophesies the rejection of the Jews (1-3), the sufferings and exaltation of the Messiah (4-9), and provides for both a consolation to the believer, and warning to the unbeliever (10, 11).

Biblical Truth 2

In this verse, and in many verses in the Old Testament, the Arm of the LORD is a name for the Servant, or Jesus or God’s servant, and not an abstract object. We are told why the people did not accept Christ.

  • He had an ordinary origin, even as a plant in the ground does.
  • Jesus had grown up in front of them as well as God. Jesus is part of the trinity, developing fully in full view of God.
  • Jesus did not look very special but looked ordinary, not like a king.

Our Servant was very sad, not for himself but for how the other people were. The Servant lifted our sad thoughts from us and He carried them away from us. He was suffering instead of us. This Servant died because of our sins, not His but His death was necessary because of God’s law. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and we deserve to die for our sins, but the Servant took our legal punishment. We all were responsible for His death. It was God who started this process for our salvation. God laid upon this Servant, our sins. The servant is like a young sheep that God provided as a sacrifice. When He died, Jesus carried away our sins. ‘Cut off’ means that the people in this world killed Him even though they did not understand this until Jesus died. In verse 10, we are again told that our Savior will be a servant. Isaiah tells the people ‘He will see the light’ probably emphasizing ‘He will live again.’

Items for Discussion

  • Where do you personally find the most hope, in the fact that Christ has taken upon Himself our sins or shown us that there is life beyond this earth?
  • Why is it important to remember that Christ is God?
  • Why is it equally important to remember that Christ was human?
  • If mankind is cut off from God, then how is it that we can explain Christ’s purpose for suffering? Couldn’t God have saved us without the bloodshed?
  • In what way do the gifts of free will and God’s grace work together for mankind?

 

Mark 16:1-8
1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” 8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

Background 3

In Mark’s Gospel, chapter 16 is loaded with important facts:

  • Christ’s resurrection is made known to women first and not His disciples. (1-8)
  • Christ appears to Mary Magdalene and other disciples. (9-13)
  • Christ gives His Great Commission to the apostles. (14-18)
  • And Christ’s ascension. (19, 20)

Most theologians agree that Mark was the first disciple to write a Gospel. Both Matthew and Luke seem to use what Mark wrote to help them in writing their own Gospels. It is believed that Mark completed his writing in the year 65 A.D., soon after the Apostle Peter’s death.

Bible Truth

The women close to Jesus and the disciples went out to buy special substances normally used for a burial as soon as the Sabbath ended at sunset on Saturday. The first opportunity to see what they were doing would be at dawn on Sunday morning. They remembered that there was a heavy stone at the entrance to the rock grave. It would be too heavy for them to push back. But as they arrived at the grave, they discovered that there was no problem. Someone had already rolled the stone aside. The women were astonished to find a young man in white clothes who was sitting on the right side of the cave. He was an angel and told them that they were looking in the wrong place for Jesus because He had risen.

They could see for themselves the empty place where His body had been. They knew must tell His disciples ‘and Peter’ and that they would see Jesus in Galilee. This was a special message for Peter to show that Jesus still included him in His love. Remember, Peter had denied that he knew Jesus three times. This would have given Peter the first sign of hope after his denials.

Verse 8 is a rather sudden end to Mark’s Gospel so later writers added other ends for the book. There is a short one, and a longer one. Mark may not have had time to complete his Gospel by himself. Perhaps he became ill. Perhaps he died, or the Romans killed him. It is possible, however, that Mark intended to end at verse 8. All through his Gospel, he had described how Jesus astonished people by his words and actions. Jesus’ disciples, too, had a feeling of fear. And they greatly respected Jesus for his power (4:41). The resurrection was the most astonishing event of all. Mark perhaps thought that it was not important to write about Jesus’ appearances to his disciples. He had given the most important fact, ‘He has risen.’ The fear of the women was a suitable reaction to such an astonishing act of God. The reaction of all Christians should be similar. Verse 8 therefore can be a suitable end to Mark’s Gospel.

Items for Discussion

  • How do you celebrate Easter?
  • What is the danger in letting a secular world redefine the meaning of Easter?
  • Why do you think that Jesus let the women among His followers discover His resurrection first?
  • Can Christianity survive without celebrating events like Easter and Christmas?

Discussion Challenge

  • How should the Christian community embrace Easter? Ideas: as a special day; a special week; a special season; etc.

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/isaiah41-55-gc-lbw.htm
  3. http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/mark-lbw.htm
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