International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday April 27, 2014
Purpose: To affirm that the church’s proclamation of God’s salvation story is rooted in Hebrew Scriptures
Bible Lesson: Isaiah 53:5-8
Background Scripture: Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12; Luke 24:25-27, 44-50
Isaiah 53:5-8 (CEB)
(5) He was pierced because of our rebellions and crushed because of our crimes. He bore the punishment that made us whole; by his wounds we are healed. (6) Like sheep we had all wandered away, each going its own way, but the Lord let fall on him all our crimes. (7) He was oppressed and tormented, but didn’t open his mouth. Like a lamb being brought to slaughter, like a ewe silent before her shearers, he didn’t open his mouth. (8) Due to an unjust ruling he was taken away, and his fate—who will think about it? He was eliminated from the land of the living, struck dead because of my people’s rebellion.
Luke 24:25-27 (CEB)
(25) Then Jesus said to them, "You foolish people! Your dull minds keep you from believing all that the prophets talked about. (26) Wasn’t it necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and then enter into his glory?" (27) Then he interpreted for them the things written about himself in all the scriptures, starting with Moses and going through all the Prophets.
Luke 24: 44-47 (CEB)
(44) Jesus said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled." (45) Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. (46) He said to them, "This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, (47) and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
Our lesson text from Isaiah is one of the most quoted Old Testament text in the New Testament. It is quoted in all of the gospels as well as Acts, Romans twice, and 1 Peter. It is obviously a very important passage for us to understand.
Jesus evidently considered it crucial to understanding the events that had taken place in the past week of his life. After the resurrection on Sunday morning, and as he joins some disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, this is the passage quoted by Jesus to enlighten them.
Jesus makes the case that all of the Old Testament writings, from Genesis to the prophets is about a coming Messiah. The Hebrew or Jewish Bible contains the same 39 books as our Christian Old Testament; there is a slightly different order. Thus in the climactic section of Luke 24, Jesus asserts that his life, death, and now resurrection has fulfilled the totality of Israel’s Scriptures.
After leaving the companions he met on the road to Emmaus, Jesus proceeded to join the 11 and those with them in Jerusalem. Again Jesus has to open the minds of those gathered, in order for them to understand the Old Testament writings and how they apply to himself, the promised one.
Jesus once again reminds them of what he had said after the encounter with them about “whom do you say that I am.” Peter had proclaimed correctly, “Thou art the Christ.”
As we read the encounter with both those on the road to Emmaus and those gathered with the 11, there is one common thread. Jesus had to open all of their minds to understand the scriptures. If we read that and what happened at Pentecost correctly then we can assume without the Holy Spirit and God’s leading, or someone else to enlighten them, it is almost impossible on our own to understand.
In the story of the Ethiopian eunuch found in Act 8:26-40 we can see the churches mission in action. There the Ethiopian is reading our text from Isaiah and it does not make sense, until Philip the evangelist explained the passage and how it related to Jesus who was the Messiah and how he had be beaten and killed and on the third day he arose and continued to teach his disciples.
Jesus ends his discourse with those gathered with the charge to all who would hear. We, the church, are to “proclaim a change of heart and life for forgiveness of sins.” Like those gathered, the Lord’s help is required to fulfill that mission. “With Christ all things are possible.”