3475.) Isaiah 5

August 12, 2022
"The Vineyard" by Donn Ziebel

“The Vineyard” by Donn Ziebell

Isaiah 5   (ESV)

The Vineyard of the Lord Destroyed

Let me sing for my beloved
my love song concerning his vineyard:

Isaiah sings a song for his Lord.

My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.

And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem
and men of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
What more was there to do for my vineyard,
that I have not done in it?
When I looked for it to yield grapes,

(like obedience, thanksgiving, love, worship, service)

why did it yield wild grapes?

(like disobedience, rebellion, idolatry)

And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and briers and thorns shall grow up;
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.

For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah
are his pleasant planting;
and he looked for justice,
but behold, bloodshed;
for righteousness,
but behold, an outcry!

I5 grapes

Matthew 21:33-44  (NIV)

“Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

“The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.

“But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

“Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”

“He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

Woe to the Wicked

First woe:  Covetous landowners who try to corner the real estate market till there is an acute shortage of houses and land, yet the owners dwell in solitary splendor.

Woe to those who join house to house,
who add field to field,
until there is no more room,
and you are made to dwell alone
in the midst of the land.
The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing:
“Surely many houses shall be desolate,
large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant.
10 For ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath,
and a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah.”

Second woe:  Confirmed alcoholics who imbibe from morning till night. They feast and carouse in total disregard of God and His works. It is for this kind of unthinking behavior that the exile is drawing near. God will be vindicated by His righteous judgment when foreign bedouin shepherds feed their flocks in the ruins of Israel.

11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning,
that they may run after strong drink,
who tarry late into the evening
as wine inflames them!
12 They have lyre and harp,
tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts,
but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord,
or see the work of his hands.

13 Therefore my people go into exile
for lack of knowledge;
their honored men go hungry,
and their multitude is parched with thirst.
14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite
and opened its mouth beyond measure,
and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude will go down,
her revelers and he who exults in her.
15 Man is humbled, and each one is brought low,
and the eyes of the haughty are brought low.
16 But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice,
and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.
17 Then shall the lambs graze as in their pasture,
and nomads shall eat among the ruins of the rich.

Third woe:  Brazen liars and God-defiers who are hitched to sin and drag guilt and punishment after them.  They challenge God to hasten with the punishment He has threatened on them.

18 Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
who draw sin as with cart ropes,
19 who say: “Let him be quick,
let him speed his work
that we may see it;
let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near,
and let it come, that we may know it!

Fourth woe:  Those who obliterate moral distinctions, denying the difference between good and evil.

20 Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!

Fifth woe:  Conceited men who cannot be told anything.

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!

Sixth woe:  Judges who are heroes at drinking and who pervert justice through accepting bribes.

22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
and deprive the innocent of his right!

24 Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
so their root will be as rottenness,
and their blossom go up like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,
and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them,
and the mountains quaked;
and their corpses were as refuse
in the midst of the streets.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.

These wicked men who have no respect for the Word of God will be devoured like grass in a prairie fire.

26 He will raise a signal for nations far away,
and whistle for them from the ends of the earth;
and behold, quickly, speedily they come!
27 None is weary, none stumbles,
none slumbers or sleeps,
not a waistband is loose,
not a sandal strap broken;
28 their arrows are sharp,
all their bows bent,
their horses’ hoofs seem like flint,
and their wheels like the whirlwind.
29 Their roaring is like a lion,
like young lions they roar;
they growl and seize their prey;
they carry it off, and none can rescue.
30 They will growl over it on that day,
like the growling of the sea.
And if one looks to the land,
behold, darkness and distress;
and the light is darkened by its clouds.

God whistles and the Babylonian army comes! See their troops approaching — in top physical condition, perfectly uniformed, well armed. The horses and chariots approach fast and furiously. It is a dark day for Judah.

–all comments in blue by William MacDonald

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Music:

As I read of the failings of the people of Judah, I hear this sad song in my mind:  “Days of Wine and Roses” sung by Andy Williams.  Click  HERE  to listen.

Days of Wine and Roses (1962) is a film directed by Blake Edwards, with music by Henry Mancini, and features Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick. The film depicts the downward spiral of two average Americans who succumb to alcoholism and attempt to deal with their problem.

An Academy Award went to the film’s theme music, composed by Mancini with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The film received four other Oscar nominations, including ones for Best Actor and Best Actress.

Today, Days of Wine and Roses is required viewing in many alcoholic and drug rehabilitation clinics across America.

–Wikipedia

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Ziebell.   http://www.yurart.com/images/isaiah5sun400.jpg
grapes.    http://www.iment.com/maida/familytree/henry/bios/images/grapes-purple.jpg
money for more houses.   https://medellinliving.com/successfully-close-real-estate-colombia-4-step-guide/
chained to the drink.   https://awakeningskc.com/substance-abuse-and-bipolar-disorder/
sin can tie up your life.   http://www.christianitycove.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/sin-bible-object-lesson.jpg
good or evil.   http://msbisonline.edublogs.org/files/2012/10/good-vs-evil-16rul82.jpg?w=240
Proverbs 26:12.  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/6f/f7/f2/6ff7f2127b84b1d81d4486151a929f4e.jpg
corrupt judges.   https://guardian.ng/opinion/the-cost-of-delinquency/

3474.) Isaiah 4

August 11, 2022

I4 branch

Isaiah 4   (ESV)

And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.”

As a result of the judgments of the LORD detailed in Isaiah 3:16-26, the daughters of Zion will have few men to choose from as husbands.

So many men shall fall by the sword (Isaiah 3:25), that seven women would chase after one man. They would be so desperate for marriage that will not expect their husbands to provide for them at all (We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel).

–David Guzik

The Branch of the Lord Glorified

Isa 4 branch v 2

In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious,

This image is repeated in Isaiah 11:1 :  There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

It is repeated in Jeremiah 23:5 : “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.”

It is repeated in Jeremiah 33:15 : In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.

It is repeated in Zechariah 3:8 : For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the Branch.

The ideas behind the title Branch of the LORD are those of fruitfulness and life. Jesus used the same image when He said that He was the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5).

–David Guzik

and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning.

“Sin is the excrement of the soul, the superfluity or garbage of naughtiness, the devil’s vomit. From this abominable filth Christ hath ‘loved and washed his with his own blood, that he may make them kings and priests unto God and his Father.’”

–John Trapp (1601-1669)

Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

Isa 4 cloud and fire

Surely these word pictures would bring to their minds stories of old, when their ancestors lived in the wilderness and worshiped in the Tabernacle, with God’s cloud of smoke and pillar of fire guiding them. The visible presence of God protected them then, and the Messiah —  God with us — will come to bring peace again.

_________________________

Music:

Yes, we want such a Lord and such a King!  HERE  is “Give Me Jesus,” sung by Jeremy Camp.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Jeremiah 23:5.    http://thetruenorth.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/14jer-23-5.jpg
verse 2, The branch of the Lord.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/511721576395369899/

3473.) Isaiah 3

August 10, 2022

I3 eat

Isaiah 3   (ESV)

Judgment on Judah and Jerusalem

For behold, the Lord God of hosts
is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah
support and supply,

The Lord will take away from Judah and Jerusalem their supporting pillars, leading the country to further ruin. The things they trusted in would fail them, for they are not trusting in the Lord.

all support of bread,
and all support of water;

bread and water = all economic resources

the mighty man and the soldier,

mighty man and soldier = defense of the country

the judge and the prophet,
the diviner and the elder,

judge, prophet, diviner, and elder = civil and spiritual leadership

the captain of fifty
and the man of rank,
the counselor and the skillful magician (NASB reads “artisan”)
and the expert in charms.

captains and men of rank, counselors and men with skill and expertise in craft = further leadership

And I will make boys their princes,
and infants shall rule over them.
And the people will oppress one another,
every one his fellow
and every one his neighbor;
the youth will be insolent to the elder,
and the despised to the honorable.

The best rulers will be taken away and the responsibility of the government would be left in the hands of the young and inexperienced. This will lead to a breakdown of order in society.

For a man will take hold of his brother
in the house of his father, saying:
“You have a cloak;
you shall be our leader,
and this heap of ruins
shall be under your rule”;

“You have a cloak” — the smallest qualification will be enough for leadership.

in that day he will speak out, saying:
“I will not be a healer;
in my house there is neither bread nor cloak;
you shall not make me
leader of the people.”

The situation will be so desolate that no one will even want to work for the government.

For Jerusalem has stumbled,
and Judah has fallen,
because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord,
defying his glorious presence.

For the look on their faces bears witness against them;
they proclaim their sin like Sodom;
they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
For they have brought evil on themselves.

They glory in their ungodliness. They boast of their impurity. They strut their sin. It is the height of iniquity.

10 Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds.

I3 never leave

Even in the midst of judgment, God knows how to bless and protect His people. Sometimes this is only seen in the perspective of eternity, but God assures us that the righteous will never share the same fate as the wicked. Abraham knew this principle well when he said to the Lord, “Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25).

–David Guzik

God’s “shalls” must always be understood in their largest sense. From the beginning of the year to the end of the year, from the first gathering of evening shadows until a new day dawns, in all conditions and under all circumstances, it will be well with the righteous. It is so well with him that we could not imagine it to be better, for he is well fed—he feeds upon the flesh and blood of Jesus; he is well clothed—he wears the imputed righteousness of Christ; he is well housed—he dwells in God; he is well married—his soul is knit in bonds of marriage to Christ; he is well provided for—for the Lord is his Shepherd; he is well endowed—for heaven is his inheritance. It is well with the righteous—well upon divine authority; the mouth of God speaks the comforting assurance.

O beloved, if God declares that all is well, ten thousand devils may declare it to be ill, but we may laugh them all to scorn. Blessed be God for a faith that enables us to believe God when the creatures contradict Him. It is, says the Word, at all times well with you, righteous one; then, beloved, if you cannot see it, let God’s Word assure you; believe it on divine authority with more confidence than if your eyes and your feelings told it to you. Those God blesses are blessed indeed, and what His lip declares is truth most sure and steadfast.

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him,
for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him.
12 My people—infants are their oppressors,
and women rule over them.
O my people, your guides mislead you
and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.

13 The Lord has taken his place to contend;
he stands to judge peoples.
14 The Lord will enter into judgment
with the elders and princes of his people:

God speaks to the men of Judah:

“It is you who have devoured the vineyard,
the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people,
by grinding the face of the poor?”
declares the Lord God of hosts.

16 The Lord said:

And God speaks to the women of Judah:

Because the daughters of Zion are haughty
and walk with outstretched necks,
glancing wantonly with their eyes,
mincing along as they go,
tinkling with their feet,
17 therefore the Lord will strike with a scab
the heads of the daughters of Zion,
and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.

18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.

I3 Vogue

The fashion industry, with its emphasis on sexuality and luxury, is decimated, including jewelry, handbags, perfumes, accessories, clothing, belts, hats, scarves — as David Guzik quips, There must have been some good malls in Jerusalem! But this description of what is important is a far cry from the instructions Peter gives to Christian women in 1 Peter 3:3-4:  Do not let your adornment be merely outward; arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel; rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

24 Instead of perfume there will be rottenness;
and instead of a belt, a rope;
and instead of well-set hair, baldness;
and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth;
and branding instead of beauty.
25 Your men shall fall by the sword
and your mighty men in battle.
26 And her gates shall lament and mourn;
empty, she shall sit on the ground.

All the luxuries and fineries that the women used to impress each other and get a man — all are gone, replaced by ugliness and pain. The war has taken the men, and the women mourn their many losses.

_________________________

Music:

For all of you who, like the faithful ones in this chapter, are dealing with hard issues — you are surrounded by difficulties, your health is not good, your body tells you that you are old, your children are inattentive to you or to the Lord, you are in a financial crunch that seems not to end, you feel alone and stressed out, you wonder what the world is coming to, that sin is so acceptable and God so often mocked — to all of you, the Lord says:

“Do not be afraid.  Do not be discouraged.  I am with you wherever you go.”

“My peace I leave with you.”

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

Selah sings it so beautifully  HERE.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Isaiah 3:10.    https://versaday.com/images/Months/1011/1105-ISA003010ENGKJV08000480ISP02263009000.jpg
Hebrews 13:5.    https://mydailypraiseblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/cross.jpg
Vogue.    https://www.vogue.co.uk/article/kate-moss-cover-june-2012-hairstyle-malcolm-edwards

3472.) Isaiah 2

August 9, 2022

I2 sword

Isaiah 2  (ESV)

The Mountain of the Lord

The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

Isaiah now looks beyond the current chaos to the glorious kingdom of the Messiah. In that day Jerusalem will be established as the religious and political capital of the world. The Gentile nations will make pilgrimages to Zion for worship and for divine instruction.

–William MacDonald

It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
    and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

I2 Mira Kunz

Luke 24:44-47   (NIV) 

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.

Jesus peace

“Men yearn for peace, but they will not acknowledge the hopelessness of their own efforts to achieve it. It is only when the word of the Lord goes forth from Jerusalem, when He Himself is reigning over the nations, that lasting peace will come.”

–Alfred Martin

O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord.

After painting the picture of the glory of the Messiah’s reign, Isaiah then challenges Judah (“house of Jacob”) to live in the Messiah’s reign right now.

The Day of the Lord

I3 day of the Lord

The term day of the Lord (used more than 25 times in the Bible) does not necessarily refer to one specific day. It speaks of “God’s time.” The idea is that now is the day of man, but the day of man will not last forever. One day, the Messiah will end the day of man and bring forth the day of the Lord.

–David Guzik

For you have rejected your people,
the house of Jacob,
because they are full of things from the east
and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines,
and they strike hands with the children of foreigners.
Their land is filled with silver and gold,
and there is no end to their treasures;
their land is filled with horses,
and there is no end to their chariots.
Their land is filled with idols;
they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their own fingers have made.
So man is humbled,
and each one is brought low—
do not forgive them!

The application is sobering: do not forgive them. Their worship of foreign gods, of riches, and of idols was sincere. It may have been ennobling or helpful to society. But it was a rejection of the Lord God and was therefore unforgivable.

10 Enter into the rock
and hide in the dust
from before the terror of the Lord,
and from the splendor of his majesty.
11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low,
and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled,
and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

Proverbs 18:12   (NIV)

Before a downfall the heart is haughty,   
   but humility comes before honor.

12 For the Lord of hosts has a day
against all that is proud and lofty,
against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low;
13 against all the cedars of Lebanon,
lofty and lifted up;
and against all the oaks of Bashan;
14 against all the lofty mountains,
and against all the uplifted hills;
15 against every high tower,
and against every fortified wall;
16 against all the ships of Tarshish,
and against all the beautiful craft.
17 And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled,
and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low,
and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
18 And the idols shall utterly pass away.
19 And people shall enter the caves of the rocks
and the holes of the ground,
from before the terror of the Lord,
and from the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to terrify the earth.

Revelation 6:16   (NIV) 

They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!”

20 In that day mankind will cast away
their idols of silver and their idols of gold,
which they made for themselves to worship,
to the moles and to the bats,
21 to enter the caverns of the rocks
and the clefts of the cliffs,
from before the terror of the Lord,
and from the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to terrify the earth.
22 Stop regarding man
in whose nostrils is breath,
for of what account is he?

I2 God first

“Let us think more of God and less of man. Come, let the Lord our God fill the whole horizon of our thoughts. Let our love go forth to him; let us delight ourselves in him. Let us trust in him that liveth for ever, in him whose promise never faileth, in him who will be with us in life, and in death, and through eternity. Oh that we lived more in the society of Jesus, more in the sight of God! We cannot spend our lives in seeking the smiles of men, for pleasing God is the one object we pursue. Our hands, and our heads, and our hearts, and all that we have and are, find full occupation for the Lord, and therefore we must ‘Cease from man.’”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

_________________________

Music:

“Our God”  by Christ Tomlin.  Click  HERE  to listen.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
sword.    http://www.4catholiceducators.com/graphics/Isaiah2.4.jpg
pen and ink of Jerusalem, by Mira Kunz.    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2576/3897158777_dd220fa8ba.jpg
His law is love.    http://s3.favim.com/orig/39/jesus-love-peace-Favim.com-325861.jpg
Joel 2.    http://shareaverse.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/joel-2-10-11.jpg?w=547
God First life.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/banner_3.jpg

3471.) Isaiah 1

August 8, 2022

I1 v16-17

Isaiah 1 (ESV)

This is the book of the prophecies of Isaiah, the son of Amoz, who ministered from about 740 to 680 b.c. For about 20 years, he spoke to both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. After Israel’s fall to the Assyrians in 722 b.c., Isaiah continued to prophesy to Judah.

This period of Israel’s history is told in 2 Kings 15 through 21 and 2 Chronicles 26 through 33. By this time, Israel had been in the Promised Land for almost 700 years. The first 400 years in Canaan, Israel was ruled by judges, spiritual, military, and political leaders God raised up as the occasion demanded.  Then, for about 120 years, three kings reigned over all Israel: Saul, David, and Solomon. But in 917 b.c. Israel had a civil war, and remained divided into two nations, Israel (to the north) and Judah (to the south) up until the time of Isaiah.

Up until the time of Isaiah, the northern nation of Israel had some 18 kings – all of them bad, rebellious against the Lord. The southern nation of Judah had some 11 kings before Isaiah’s ministry, some good and some bad.

In the time of Isaiah, Israel was a little nation often caught in the middle of the wars between three superpowers: Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon.

As Isaiah’s ministry began, there was a national crisis in the northern nation of Israel. The superpower of Assyria was about to engulf the nation of Israel. During the span of his ministry as a prophet, the southern nation of Judah was faced with repeated threats from the larger surrounding nations.

–David Guzik

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

The prophecy of this chapter probably took place in the time of Ahaz, king of Judah (2 Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28). Ahaz was an evil king, and in his reign Judah was invaded many times by surrounding nations.

The Wickedness of Judah

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
“Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.”

The whole universe is summoned to attend a trial with God as the Judge and with Judah and Jerusalem as defendants.

Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged.

Why will you still be struck down?
Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and raw wounds;
they are not pressed out or bound up
or softened with oil.

Your country lies desolate;
your cities are burned with fire;
in your very presence
foreigners devour your land;
it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.
And the daughter of Zion is left
like a booth in a vineyard,
like a lodge in a cucumber field,
like a besieged city.

During the reign of Ahaz, king of Judah, the nation was attacked and pillaged by Israel, Syria, Edom, the Philistines, and Assyria (2 Chronicles 28). It was written of this period, For the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had encouraged moral decline in Judah and had been continually unfaithful to the Lord (2 Chronicles 28:19).

For all this, Judah would not repent. Their sin brought them great trouble, but they still preferred their sin, with all of its trouble, than submitting to the Lord God. In fact, 2 Chronicles 28:22 says, Now in the time of his distress King Ahaz became increasingly unfaithful to the Lord.

–David Guzik

If the Lord of hosts
had not left us a few survivors,
we should have been like Sodom,
and become like Gomorrah.

10 Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
11 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.

12 “When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
13 Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.

I1 clean heart

These verses are alarming for us, I think. All our good church attendance, our good deeds, our efforts for good Christian causes, our table graces, our prayers, our offerings, our worship — God says he is sick of them! — unless our hearts are truly turned to him. W. E. Vine says, “Mere external religion is ever a cloak to cover iniquity.” 

How many times have I said the Lord’s Prayer at the close of a service, while thinking about what I would put on the table at home for lunch? How many times have I done a good deed out of a resentful obligation rather than cheerfully for the Lord’s sake? How many times have I said to someone, “I’ll pray for you!” and then promptly forgotten to do so? How many times do I complain about petty annoyances instead of giving praise to God for His myriad blessings? 

Lord, open my eyes to what I am doing and thinking and saying that needs to be transformed into the likeness of your Son, Jesus.

16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17 learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.

18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.

I1 scarlet
What a gracious invitation from our Lord!

19 If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

So we have a choice. And I ask myself:  Which phrase more closely resembles my heart? —  “willing and obedient”  or  “refuse and rebel”? Lord, help me be MORE willing and obedient to You!

The Unfaithful City

21 How the faithful city
has become a whore,
she who was full of justice!
Righteousness lodged in her,
but now murderers.
22 Your silver has become dross,
your best wine mixed with water.
23 Your princes are rebels
and companions of thieves.
Everyone loves a bribe
and runs after gifts.
They do not bring justice to the fatherless,
and the widow’s cause does not come to them.

24 Therefore the Lord declares,
the Lord of hosts,
the Mighty One of Israel:

The Lord of hosts:  “Describes Him as the Warrior who has all the angels as mighty soldiers at His disposal in the battle against the wicked. This is God’s battle name and as a rule it signifies little good when He uses it in reference to His people, as is the case here. It usually implies that He considers and deals with His people as His enemies.”

–Harry Bultema

“Ah, I will get relief from my enemies
and avenge myself on my foes.
25 I will turn my hand against you
and will smelt away your dross as with lye
and remove all your alloy.

Dross:

1.  Something regarded as worthless; rubbish.

2.  Foreign matter, dregs, or mineral waste, in particular scum formed on the surface of molten metal.

Alloy: 

1.  a substance composed of two or more metals, or of a metal or metals with a nonmetal, intimately mixed, as by fusion or electrodeposition.

2.  a less costly metal mixed with a more valuable one.

3.  admixture, as of good with evil.

4.  anything added that serves to reduce quality or purity.

26 And I will restore your judges as at the first,
and your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness,
the faithful city.”

27 Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
28 But rebels and sinners shall be broken together,
and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.

I1 wages of sin
29 For they shall be ashamed of the oaks
that you desired;
and you shall blush for the gardens
that you have chosen.
30 For you shall be like an oak
whose leaf withers,
and like a garden without water.
31 And the strong shall become tinder,
and his work a spark,
and both of them shall burn together,
with none to quench them.

_________________________

Music:

“Wash me and I shall be . . .”

Click  HERE  to hear Jonathan Lee’s  “White As the Snow.”

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English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
vs. 16-17.   http://wallpaper4god.com/wallpapers/isaiah-11617_3044_1024x768.jpg
God judges.   https://biblicalproof.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/god-judges-his-people4.jpg
Create in me  . . . .     https://sarasmusings.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/a-humble-heart/
v. 18.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/79/17/6c/79176c4debd78b68e710dc16ddafe86e.jpg
wages of sin.   http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2012/122/4/d/romans_6_23_by_kcruss-d4ybxg0.jpg

3470.) Matthew 28

August 5, 2022

What Happened on the Cross

by John Damascene (c. 675 – 749)

By nothing else except the death of our Lord Jesus Christ
has death been brought low:

The sin of our first parent destroyed,
hell plundered,
resurrection bestowed,
the power given us to despise the things of this world,
even death itself,
the road back to the former blessedness made smooth,
the gates of paradise opened,
our perfected nature seated at the right hand of God,
and we made children and heirs of God.
.   .   .

Matthew 28   (NRSV)

The Resurrection of Jesus

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Christ, the Lord, Is Risen Today”  sung by Steve Green.

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After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.

2And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.

Matt 28 West

“The Angel at the Tomb of Christ,” by Benjamin West, 1805 (Brooklyn Museum)

from Edges of His Ways,
by Amy Carmichael

Mark 16: 3,4 — [The women] said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?  And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away:  for it was very great.

Matthew 28: 2 — And the angel of the Lord . . . came . . .and sat upon it.

Let us look out for angels when impossible things lie ahead. Think of impossibilities being turned into seats for angels! Have we not a wonderful God? So whatever the difficulty is–something we do not know how to do, or some inward matter–we shall see it rolled away, and more than that, turned to some unexpected good. I do enjoy that calm word, And the angel sat upon it.

5But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said.

There are several examples in the Bible of people being resuscitated before this, such as the widow’s son in the days of Elijah (1 Kings 17:17-24) and Lazarus (John 11:38-44).  Each of these was resuscitated from death, but none of them were resurrected.   Each of them was raised in the same body they died in, and raised from the dead to eventually die again.  Resurrection isn’t just living again; it is living again in a new body, based on our old body, perfectly suited for life in eternity.   Jesus was not the first one brought back from the dead, but He was the first one resurrected.

–David Guzik

Come, see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.”

The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem

8So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Hymn:  “Go to Dark Gethsemane”  (verse 4)

Early hasten to the tomb
Where they laid his breathless clay;
All is solitude and gloom.
Who has taken him away?
Christ is ris’n!  He meets our eyes.
Savior, teach us so to rise.

–James Montgomery (1771-1854)

The Report of the Guard

11While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. 12After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day.

28-6. BC cartoon

The power of God is now and has always been the power to raise us from the dead. Period. It is not about us. It is about God. Our only role is to stick our feet straight up in the air and admit that without God we might as well be put to bed with a shovel. Now that is a message that can empty a church out fast.

–from God in Pain, by Barbara Brown Taylor

The Commissioning of the Disciples

16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

“We believe in this power, and we rest in it.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

“When Christ saith, ‘I will be with you,’ you may add what you will; to protect you, to direct you, to comfort you, to carry on the work of grace in you, and in the end to crown you with immortality and glory. All this and more is included in this precious promise.”

–John Trapp

I CAN TELL MY WORLD about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!

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Please share with your online “DWELLING in the Word” Bible-reading community what the Gospel of Matthew has said to your heart, soul, and mind. Click on  “Leave a Reply”  below. Thank you!

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Easter lily.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/easterlily.jpg
West.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_28:2#/media/File:Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Women_at_the_Sepulchre_(The_Angel_at_the_Tomb_of_Christ)_-_Benjamin_West_-_overall.jpg
Garden Tomb.   http://gointosail.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/garden_tomb_sunshine-729942.jpg
BC cartoon.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/28-6-bc-cartoon.gif?w=450
globe.   https://plone.org/news/2014/plone-ambassadors-for-2014-2015

3469.) Matthew 27:32-66

August 4, 2022

contemporary Mexican icon

Matthew 27:32-66  (NRSV)

The Crucifixion of Jesus

“Jesus is nailed to the cross” stained glass window from St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Layton, Utah.

32As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross.

There is reason to believe that Simon came to know what it really meant to take up one’s cross and follow Jesus, for there is some evidence to suggest that his sons became leaders among the early Christians (Mark 15:21 and Romans 16:13).

33And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.

It was customary to give those about to be crucified a pain-numbing and mind-numbing drink, to lessen their awareness of the agony awaiting them. But Jesus refused any numbing drug. He chose to face the spiritual and physical terror with His senses awake.

–David Guzik

Psalm 69:21 (NASB)

They also gave me gall for my food
And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

35And when they had crucified him,

“Although the Romans did not invent crucifixion, they perfected it as a form of torture and capital punishment that was designed to produce a slow death with maximum pain and suffering.”

–Dr. William Edwards

they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; 36then they sat down there and kept watch over him.

Matt 27 Roman_soldiers_lots

Psalm 22:18 (NASB)

They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots.

37Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”

38Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads 40and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, 42“He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” 44The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way.

Psalm 22:7 (CEB)

All who see me make fun of me—
    they gape, shaking their heads.

Significantly, they mocked Jesus for who He really was and is.

· They mocked Him as a Savior.

· They mocked Him as a King.

· They mocked Him as a believer who trusted in God.

· They mocked Him as the Son of God.

They acted as if Jesus did what they said, they would believe Him. Yet it is precisely because He did not save Himself that He can save others. Love kept Jesus on the cross, not nails! Jesus did greater than come down from the cross; He rose from the dead, yet they did not believe even then.

–David Guzik

The Death of Jesus

45From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.

46And about three o”clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Psalm 22:1 (NASB)

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.

47When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.”

48At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 49But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”

50Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last.

Matt 27 John 10

51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many.

54Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

55Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. 56Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Hymn:  “Go to Dark Gethsemane”  (verse 3)

Calvary’s mournful mountain climb;
There, adoring at his feet
Mark that miracle of time,
God’s own sacrifice complete.
“It is finished!”  hear him cry;
Learn from Jesus Christ to die.

–James Montgomery (1771-1854)

The Burial of Jesus

57When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock.

He came into the world from a virgin’s womb; He came forth again from a virgin tomb. No body had ever been set in that tomb, so that when a body came forth and the tomb was empty, there was no possible confusion as to which body came forth.

–David Guzik

He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

The tomb of Jesus, in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem

The Guard at the Tomb

62The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.”

65Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” 66So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

from Meditations on the Cross,
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 – 1945):

We stand between Good Friday and Easter, the days of God’s overpowering deeds in history, the deeds in which God judgment and grace were made visible to the world:
–Judgment, in those hours when Jesus Christ, the Lord, hung on the cross;
–Grace, in the hour when death was devoured by victory.
No human beings acted here. No, God alone did this. He walked the path to the people in endless love. He judged what is human. And He gave grace beyond merit.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a haunting rendition of “Were you there when they crucified my Lord.” The spiritual was arranged by Moses Hogan and is sung by Anthony León.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Mexican crucifixion.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/27-mexican-crucifixion.gif?w=450
hand nailed to cross.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/m27-hand-cross.jpg
Soldiers at the cross.   https://jesusfootprints.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/roman_soldiers_lots.gif
Holy Sepulcher.   http://www.jerusalemshots.com/i/holly_sepulcher/Holly_Sepulcher72.jpg

3468.) Matthew 27:1-31

August 3, 2022
Matt 27 Dirk_van_Baburen

Jesus, crowned with thorns in a Tyrian purple robe as the King of the Jews, being mocked and beaten during his Passion, depicted by van Baburen, 1623 (Museum Catharijneconvent, Netherlands)

Matthew 27:1-31  (NRSV)

Jesus Brought before Pilate

When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. 2They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

The Suicide of Judas

3When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”

But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.”

5Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.

“Judas Hangs Himself” by Jean Colombe, 1485 (Musee Conde, Chantilly)

In his unrepentant remorse and despair, Judas committed suicide.

6But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.”

The hypocrisy of the chief priests was transparent. They didn’t want to defile themselves with blood money, even though it was a price that they themselves paid.

7After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. 8For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, 10and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

Pilate Questions Jesus

Various scholars on Pontius Pilate:

“Pilate was in fact appointed prefect or procurator by Tiberius Caesar in a.d. 26. Prefects governed small, troubled areas; and in judicial matters they possessed powers like those of the far more powerful proconsuls and imperial legates; in short, they held the power of life and death.”

–D. A. Carson

“The ordinary residence of procurators was Caesarea, on the sea coast, but it was their custom to be in Jerusalem at Passover time, with a detachment of soldiers, to watch over the public peace.”

–F. F. Bruce

“Philo, the ancient Jewish scholar from Alexandria, described Pilate: ‘His corruption, his acts of insolence, his rapine, his habit of insulting people, his cruelty, his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never-ending gratuitous and most grievous inhumanity.'”

–William Barclay

11Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Jesus said, “You say so.”

12But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. 13Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?” 14But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Barabbas or Jesus?

15Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. 16At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. 17So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over.

“Let it be remembered that malice as often originates from envy as it does from anger.”

–Adam Clarke

19While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.”

“Le Rêve de la femme de Pilate” (“The dream of Pilate’s wife”). Engraving by Alphonse François (1814-1888) after Gustave Doré.

“Most dreams we quite forget; a few we mention as remarkable, and only now and then one is impressed upon us so that we remember it for years. Scarcely have any of you had a dream which made you send a message to a magistrate upon the bench.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

20Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed.

21The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?”

And they said, “Barabbas.”

22Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

All of them said, “Let him be crucified!”

23Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?”

But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

Pilate Hands Jesus over to Be Crucified

“Jesus Before Pilate” charcoal print by Jan Richardson

24So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.”

Spurgeon marvels that Pilate could commit murder, and then disclaim it.  Oh, the lies we tell ourselves about our own sins!

25Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

26So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

From the Apostles’ Creed:

      He suffered under Pontius Pilate.

Hymn:  “Go to Dark Gethsemane”  (verse 2)

Follow to the judgment hall,
View the Lord of life arraigned.
Oh, the wormwood and the gall!
Oh, the pangs his soul sustained!
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss;
Learn from him to bear the cross.

–James Montgomery (1771-1854)

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

“Le Christ aux injures” by contemporary French artist Macha Chmakoff

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”  — Fernando Ortega, with verses of Scripture and pictures from the movie The Passion of Christ.

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27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
van Baburen.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus,_King_of_the_Jews#/media/File:Dirk_van_Baburen_-_Kroning_met_de_doornenkroon.jpg
Colombe.   https://www.walmart.com/ip/Judas-Hangs-Himself-24×18-Gold-Ornate-Wood-Framed-Canvas-Art-by-Limbourg-brothers/777144111?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=15301
Francois.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_dream_of_Pilate%27s_wife_by_Alphonse_Fran%C3%A7ois.jpg
Richardson.   https://janrichardsonimages.com/details.php?gid=54&pid=208
Chmakoff.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/27le-christ-aux-injures.jpg?w=450

3467.) Matthew 26:36-75

August 2, 2022

The traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane, on the Mount of Olives.

Matthew 26:36-75   (NRSV)

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

Matt26 He Qi_gethemane

“Praying at Gethsemane” by Chinese artist He Qi

36Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane;

This is just east of the temple mount area in Jerusalem, across the ravine of the Brook Kidron, and on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives. Surrounded by ancient olive trees, Gethsemane means “olive press.” There, olives from the neighborhood were crushed for their oil. So too, the Son of God would be crushed here.

–David Guzik

and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. 38Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.”

39And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.”

Psalm 40:6-8 (NASB)

Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”

40Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? 41Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

43Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.

The struggle at the cross was first won in prayer in Gethsemane.

45Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

Hymn:  “Go to Dark Gethsemane”  (verse 1)

Go to dark Gethsemane,
All who feel the tempter’s power;
Your Redeemer’s conflict see.
Watch with him one bitter hour;
Turn not from his griefs away:
Learn from Jesus Christ to pray.

–James Montgomery (1771-1854)

The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

47While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

Judas kisses Jesus — fresco by Giotto di Bondone at the Arena Chapel (Cappella Scrovegni), Padua, Italy, painted between 1304-1306.

There are no more hollow, hypocritical words in the Bible than Judas’ “Greetings, Rabbi!”

50Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.”

Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. 51Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

52Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?”

At the moment when it seemed Jesus had nothing and no advantage, He knew that He still had a Father in heaven, and access to His Father and all his resources in prayer.

–David Guzik

55At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Jesus before the High Priest

57Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered. 58But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end.

59Now the chief priests and the whole council

This nighttime trial was illegal according to the Sanhedrin’s own laws and regulations. According to Jewish law, all criminal trials must begin and end in the daylight. Therefore, though the decision to condemn Jesus was already made, they conducted a second trial in daylight (Luke 22:66-71), because they knew the first one – the real trial – had no legal standing.

This was only one of many illegalities made in the trial of Jesus. 

· According to Jewish law, only decisions made in the official meeting place were valid. The first trial was held at the home of Caiaphas, the high priest.

· According to Jewish law, criminal cases could not be tried during the Passover season.

· According to Jewish law, only an acquittal could be issued on the day of the trial. Guilty verdicts had to wait one night to allow for feelings of mercy to rise.

· According to Jewish law, all evidence had to be guaranteed by two witnesses, who were separately examined and could not have contact with each other.

· According to Jewish law, false witness was punishable by death. Nothing was done to the many false witnesses in Jesus’ trial.

· According to Jewish law, a trial always began by bringing forth evidence for the innocence of the accused, before the evidence of guilt was offered. This was not the practice here.

William Barclay wrote, “These were the Sanhedrin’s own rules, and it is abundantly clear that, in their eagerness to get rid of Jesus, they broke their own rules.” 

–David Guzik

were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death, 60but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward.

Psalm 27:12 (NASB)

Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries,
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.

At last two came forward 61and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’”

“Christ Before the High Priest” by Garrit van Honthorst, 1617 (National Gallery, London)

62Then the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” 63But Jesus was silent.

Jesus could have mounted a magnificent defense here, calling forth all the various witnesses to His deity, power and character. The people He taught, the people He healed, the dead risen, the blind who see, even the demons themselves testified to His deity. But Jesus opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth (Isaiah 53:7).

Then the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

64Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, From now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

65Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66What is your verdict?”

They answered, “He deserves death.”

67Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him, 68saying, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who is it that struck you?”

Peter’s Denial of Jesus

69Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70But he denied it before all of them, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.”

71When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.”

73After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know the man!”

At that moment the cock crowed. 75Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

Weeping bitterly. This was the beginning of Peter’s repentance. 

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Music:

The St. Matthew Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach, BMV 244, composed in 1727, sets Matthew chapters 26 and 27 to music.  HERE  is an excerpt, “So my Jesus is now imprisoned,” with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and soloists. The St. Matthew Passion is the longest of Bach’s works — most recordings run between two-and-a-half and three hours.  But beautiful beyond words.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Gethsemane.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/m26-gethsemane.jpg
He Qi.   https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/42-matthew-261-75/
Bondone.  http://www.awesomestories.com/images/user/thumb_ccdd57eed0.jpg
Honthorst.  http://www.katapi.org.uk/images/Art/ChristBeforeTheHighPriest-GvanHonthorst.jpg
rooster.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/m26-rooster.jpg

3466.) Matthew 26:1-35

August 1, 2022
Matt26 Last Supper

The Last Supper, about 1525–30, Simon Bening. (The J. Paul Getty Museum). The artist is picturing the moment Jesus announces that Judas is the one.

Matthew 26   (NRSV)

The Plot to Kill Jesus

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2“You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”

“Having instructed his disciples and the Jews by his discourses, edified them by his example, convinced them by his miracles, he now prepares to redeem them by his blood!”

–Adam Clarke, British Wesleyan theologian

3Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4and they conspired to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.

Psalm 2:2 (NASB)

The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the LORD and against His Anointed.

5But they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.”

They didn’t want to put Jesus to death during the Passover feast, but that is exactly how it happened. This is another subtle indication that Jesus was in control of events, as they in fact killed Him on the very day that they didn’t want to.

–David Guzik

The Anointing at Bethany

“A Woman Anoints Jesus” by Floridian artist Jan Richardson, 2006.

6Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table.

8But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, “Why this waste? 9For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.”

10But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. 11For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. 13Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”

Nothing we give to Jesus is ever wasted, but may indeed be greater than we think.

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

14Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

No high and noble motives here — Judas betrays Jesus for his own greed, and for a relatively small amount of money.

The Passover with the Disciples

Jews celebrate Passover today with a meal which includes a Seder plate. Often the food on the plate is roasted egg, bitter herbs, roasted lamb shankbone, an apple-walnut salad called charoset, horseradish, and parsley. Matzo bread, red wine, and salt water are also important to the meal.

17On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

18He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” 19So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal.

20When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; 21and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

22And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?”

“It is a beautiful trait in the character of the disciples that they did not suspect one another, but every one of them inquired, almost incredulously, as the form of the question implies, ‘Lord, is it I?’ No one said, ‘Lord, is it Judas?’”

–C. H. Spurgeon

23He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.”

Psalm 41:9 (NASB)

Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
Who ate my bread,
Has lifted up his heel against me.

25Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”

He replied, “You have said so.”

A final call to repentance for Judas.

The Institution of the Lord’s Supper

“Bread and Wine” by Norwegian painter Kjersti Timenes, 2003.

26While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”

27Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks

In the ancient Greek language, “thanks” is the word eucharist. This is why the commemoration of the Lord’s Table is sometimes called the Eucharist.

he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

30When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Many scholars believe that Jesus and His disciples sang Psalm 118 at the conclusion of their Passover meal. Here are verses 23-24:

The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord‘s doing;
    it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

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Music:

HERE  is “Come to the Table”   sung by Michael Card. Yes, you are surely invited!

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Peter’s Denial Foretold

31Then Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”

Jesus already was looking beyond the cross. His eyes were set on the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2).

33Peter said to him, “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.”

34Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.”

35Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Bening.   https://blogs.getty.edu/iris/7-things-to-look-for-in-paintings-of-the-last-supper/
Richardson.  http://paintedprayerbook.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/blog-womananointsjesus.jpg
Seder plate.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/m26-seder-plate.jpg
Timenes.   http://www.kjersti.timenes.net/paintings/symbols/1%20brdogvin.jpg