International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday November 30, 2014
Purpose: To proclaim that biblical hope, grounded in God’s love and peace, is a thing of substance, not wishful thinking
Bible Lesson: Background: Psalm 33; Isaiah 52:1-2, 7-12
Isaiah 52:1-2 (CEB)
(1) Awake, awake, put on your strength, Zion! Put on your splendid clothing, Jerusalem, you holy city; for the uncircumcised and unclean will no longer come into you. (2) Shake the dust off yourself; rise up; sit enthroned, Jerusalem. Loose the bonds from your neck, captive Daughter Zion! ……
Isaiah 52:7-12 (CEB)
(7) How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of a messenger who proclaims peace, who brings good news, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God rules!" (8) Listen! Your lookouts lift their voice; they sing out together! Right before their eyes they see the Lord returning to Zion. (9) Break into song together, you ruins of Jerusalem! The Lord has comforted his people and has redeemed Jerusalem. (10) The Lord has bared his holy arm in view of all the nations; all the ends of the earth have seen our God’s victory. (11) Depart! Depart! Go out from there! Unclean! Don’t touch! Get out of that place; purify yourselves, carriers of the Lord’s equipment! (12) You won’t go out in a rush, nor will you run away, because the one going before you is the Lord; your rear guard is the God of Israel.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
Beginning with today’s lesson we start the season of Advent. It is the beginning of the New Year in the Christian calendar. At a time when winter starts setting in and the days become shorter and shorter in the Northern Hemisphere, we start looking forward with hope for what is ahead. Soon the winter solstice will come and the days will steadily grow longer and we look forward to springtime.
In addition, as Christians, we look forward to the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child, the promised one, the Messiah. Advent is that time of hope, and the arrival of The Hope of the World; Jesus the Christ is now with us. It is the hope that all Christians live for.
There are many theories about the authorship of Isaiah. Along with the writers of the Gospels and Paul, I consider the Book of Isaiah as being a book of prophecy written by the prophet Isaiah. He was the author of the entire book even if that means it was written 150 years before Cyrus was the king of Persia. That is why it is called prophecy.
Looking at it as a book prophecy does not take away from the redemptive work that is performed by the Messiah. Isaiah contains more about the work of the Messiah than any other book in the Old Testament.
While today’s text can be applied to those coming out of captivity, it can also be applied to the coming of the Messiah. Which is why the text in verses 7-10 will be a part of the Revised Common Lectionary, used on Christmas Day.
One can just as easily see Jesus teaching on the mountain, bringing the good news of the gospel and proclaiming peace and salvation to all. Or maybe it is that march to Zion during those final weeks of Jesus life. Or is it the call to go into all the world proclaiming the good news. I can even see Pentecost, and the giving of the Holy Spirit to the birth of the church.
When we as Christians submit to God taking control of our minds, body and souls, we become sanctified as worthy bearers of the Lord’s equipment, which is His word, and testimony. God’s love is more than just wishful thinking, it is a reality that can be achieved by submitting our life into His hands, and by our faith and God’s grace it can be obtained.
Psalm 33: (20) We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield.
(21Our heart rejoices in God because we trust his holy name.
(22)Lord, let your faithful love surround us because we wait for you.
“Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus” Do you see it? Do you hear it?