Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Jack Graham » Jack Graham - The Gospel of Isaiah

Jack Graham - The Gospel of Isaiah

  • Watch
  • Audio
  • Donate
  • Prayer Request
    Jack Graham - The Gospel of Isaiah
TOPICS: The Gospel of God, Isaiah, Messianic Prophecy

Let me ask you a question today. How many Gospels are in the Bible? Well, you might say four: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And you would be wrong because there is only one Gospel in the Bible! All sixty-six books of the Bible proclaim the Gospel! All of it from beginning to end, from Genesis to Revelation! It's all about Him! And we're not worshipping, we're not witnessing, we're not preaching unless we're preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one and only central figure of the Bible!

Take your Bibles and turn with me to Isaiah 53. If I were to ask you "What is the greatest chapter in the Bible?" what would you say? You might say John 3, and certainly that's a great, great chapter in the Bible. You might say 1 Corinthians 13. You might say Psalm 23. But I believe if you're including a discussion of the great and the greatest chapters of the Bible, Isaiah 53 would have to be in the middle of that discussion. It is a pinnacle of Scripture. It is the most often quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament. Isaiah's Gospel! What we see in Isaiah chapter 53 is known as a messianic prophecy, and it is of invaluable importance to us because it points to Jesus as the Messiah. Who He is and what He came to do! How so? One, in the incarnation of Christ, who is the Child who was born.

Look at Isaiah 53, verses 1 through 3: "Who has believed what He has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; and He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not". Isaiah speaks of the incarnation which means "God in the flesh", "God becoming a Man" when he describes this Messiah who would come as being a tender root in dry ground. What does dry ground produce? Typically nothing. And in the dry ground of a virgin's womb God conceived His only begotten Son. And this is an illusion, therefore, to the virgin birth of Christ.

You say, "Well, is that really so? Are you taking it a bit farther"? Well, actually not. In Isaiah 7:14 Isaiah has already told us that a virgin would conceive and bring forth a Son; that "a Child is born (Isaiah chapter 9:6) a Son is given and His name shall be called Wonderful and Counselor and Mighty God and Prince of Peace and Everlasting Father". Yes, Isaiah's fall through the tunnel of time in the testimony of God's Spirit that the Savior, the Messiah would come and be born like a tender root in dry ground. But, of course, this passage primarily speaks of the humility of our Lord's birth and of His life, because we're told that He had no form or majesty or splendor and statue about Him personally that would have drawn us to Him. As a matter of fact He was despised and rejected! It's always been amazing to me that in spite of His great love and compassion, His tenderness, that Jesus was so hated, that He was so despised and rejected!

You see, many people in His day had a big problem with Jesus because He claimed to be God. Ultimately it put Jesus on the cross, this claim of deity. Describing blasphemy, the death sentence for Jesus was the fact that He dared to say, "I am God! I am the Messiah"! The problem was Jesus then and, look, the problem is Jesus now! You can talk about religion and spirituality and church all you want but you really start nailing the message of Jesus and watch the problems develop with your friends, your family and others, certainly the culture! Jesus is still despised and rejected for who He claimed to be! He would not be despised if He were just considered a teacher or a moral authority. But the claims of Christ set Him apart and distinguish Him. And the exclusive Gospel of Jesus Christ who said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" sets people apart! And that message, therefore, that Messiah is despised! It says He was, there was nothing about Him that was personally attractive.

People want to know what did Jesus look like? I'm sure many times in your own mind you have imagined what He looked like then and what He looks like now. Maybe you remember the Sunday school pictures of Jesus in your little quarterly or in your Bibles and maybe you've seen those medieval paintings of Jesus, and frankly I think most of that, they get it all wrong. Certainly not this Jesus that looked like He just came out of a beauty shop somewhere! He was a carpenter by trade growing up in the house of Joseph the carpenter. I'm sure He had rough hewn hands. I had a couple of uncles who were carpenters and to shake their hands was like shaking hands with a two-by-four. Jesus, there was nothing about Him that would have said we must follow Him. "There is no beauty that we should desire Him". In other words there was no physical thing that drew people to Jesus. Not a natural attraction. The attraction of Jesus, the appeal of Jesus was and is His character, and of course, His compassion. God became a Man. "He came into His own and His own received Him not. But as many as received him to them gave He the right to be called the children of God".

Many didn't understand. They were expecting a religious zealot, someone who would overthrow the tyranny of their oppressors. The Jewish people in particular believed that the Messiah would deliver them physically from their bondage. But Jesus did not come the first time as a sovereign deliverer but rather a spiritual deliverer and a healer and a Savior, to die the suffering Servant. We're told that He was a Man of sorrows. He wept at the tomb of His friend Lazarus. But in Matthew chapter 23 we're told as He was approaching the cross and had set His face to die on the cross, He overlooked the city of Jerusalem that had rejected Him and He sobbed. And the word picture given to us there in Matthew's Gospel is He heaved with deep sobs within! He wept and He cried out, "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How often I would have gathered your children as a hen would gather her chicks under her wings, but you would not". He was rejected.

He came in humiliation. He came in incarnation. But, of course, the primary thrust of this passage we see in His crucifixion, the Lord Jesus Christ. As I said it is as though Isaiah was standing at the cross. Jesus died for our sins as the servant of God, the sacrifice for our sins. Look in verses 4 through 6: "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; and upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, (that is peace with God and peace within) and with his stripes we are healed". The disease of sin is healed by the stripes of our Lord. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him all our iniquities".

When I first began learning to share my faith even as a young pastor, I was taught to deliver the message of the Gospel one on one through Evangelism Explosion written by Dr. D. James Kennedy now in heaven. And there's a little illustration in there that describes just what we read. "The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all". You see there is a predicament that must be resolved in the human situation. Here is that predicament. God loves you. He loves you with an everlasting love. He loves you perfectly. He will never stop loving you. And because God loves you He wants you to know Him in a personal way and experience this relationship with Him. But God is also just. God is holy. And because God is just and holy and sovereign, because He reigns and because He rules the universe He must punish sin! Sin violates the nature and the character of God. As a matter of fact the Bible says "He is of purer eyes than to behold, to even look upon iniquity".

So God is love but God is holy and He must punish sin. So how on earth can this problem be resolved? The problem, the predicament is resolved in the person of Christ, in the plan of God that Isaiah and the Scriptures reveal. "The Lord laid on Him our iniquities". So there's an illustration that shows us that. Let's presume that this Bible is the record book of your life and of your sin. Did you know the Bible tells us that God has books and that He's keeping a record? And every sin that I've ever committed, every sin that you've ever committed is in this book, the record of his sin, of my sin! All the sin of humanity is in the record book of sin, all of the hate and the anger and the bitterness, and the lust and the murder and the perversion and the adultery and the pride and the self-righteousness, on and on I could go! The sin of the world weighing mankind down, weighing me and you down because all of us have sinned. I don't know, maybe your book is smaller than mine, but my books getting pretty full! And if I bear this sin ultimately it will carry me to judgment and hell! But the Bible says, Isaiah's Gospel tells us "the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all"!

And Jesus took that hate and that wrath and that bitterness and that anger and that adultery and that drunkenness and that foulness and that lasciviousness and that perversion and that pain and all the rest! Jesus took it on His back at the cross! Who could describe the cross? Isaiah described it. He tells us that He is so beaten and so bludgeoned! He is so brutalized that His very countenance is so marred that you don't even want to look at Him! The Passion of the Christ, the movie describing the end of Christ's life, took a very heavy R-rating because of the brutality of His murder on the cross. It's hard to watch. From the beating of Christ, the Roman soldier who would take the Roman lector and would fasten the victim to a pole and there with long leather straps embedded with bone and metal, a psychopathic Roman soldier would lacerate the back of his victim, tearing the flesh from the bones, breaking through the arteries.

It was a bloody, violent mess. Many never even survived the beating much less the crucifixion. The beating in itself, the flogging, the scourging of a criminal, as Christ was accused of being a criminal was in itself a functional crucifixion. But then to carry the beam of the cross, to be fastened to it, to be nailed in the small soft part of the hand or tied to a cross, to be dropped in a jagged hole. The sockets being pulled from the joints; the sockets and the joints coming apart. The breathing and the heaving on the cross. Many times people lasted for days on a Roman cross. The blood, the bleeding, the insects, the birds. Often they were hung there in nakedness to amplify their shame! But when Jesus died and hung there on that cross, bleeding and dying for you and for me, you say to what end? Who did this?

Isaiah tells us that it was the will of God to crush Him. That God loved you so much and wanted to settle this issue with you and me so much of our sin, that He hung His darling Son. That He Himself, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. God Himself took our sin and He took our shame upon the cross! He absorbed the judicial wrath of God! "He is smitten by God (verse 4) and afflicted! The Lord laid on Him our iniquities". He did that for you and for me. And Isaiah saw it. The Sin-bearer. It was a mockery of justice, of course, the trials of Jesus. There were approximately six episodes in the trial of Jesus; every one of them a mockery of justice. He was falsely accused and Isaiah tells us as the Scripture later records that Jesus, the Messiah answered not a word. This is the silence of the Lamb of God who stood there silent. And when you read these accounts don't you want to just say, "Jesus, do something! Stop this!

Don't let them do this"! But He answered them not a word, because had He answered and justified Himself to save Himself, He could not have saved you and me. There's a lot of talk that goes on today about Jesus and who He is and who He's not. A lot of talk and joking and vulgarities regarding even Jesus Himself and the message of the Gospel. And sinful man talks a lot but there's coming a day, Romans 3 tells us that every mouth is going to be stopped and that's at the judgment. There'll be no more talking there, no more fun and games there, no more party time there. Every mouth will be shut in judgment unless you accept what Jesus has done for you. He shut His mouth in judgment and stood there and took it for us so that rather than standing in silence and judgment one day we can stand with hallelujahs and praises to His name! Thanking Him forever for what He's done for us! "By His stripes we are healed".

The disease of sin is now cured! God is satisfied with this sacrifice! What God has done for us! He is accounted unto us righteousness! We stand in the righteousness of Christ! He stood in our sin so that we can now stand in His salvation and righteousness! We are justified which means that our standing before a holy God is accounted as to righteousness before Him! This is the Gospel! This is the Gospel of Isaiah! That when man did his worst, God did His best! He loves you! And He has settled the issue of sin so that you can be forever transformed. Finally, thank God, there's the exaltation of Christ. And Isaiah saw this resurrection and exaltation.

Look at verses 8 and 10: "By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people"? They said, "He's finished! He's done! That's over with"! Even His disciples ran away in fear and terror, "and they made His grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death". And, of course, that was fulfilled in Joseph of Arimathaea, the rich man who offered his empty tomb to the One who had died, "the rich man in his death, and although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; and when His soul makes an offering for guilt, He shall see His offspring (Referencing you and me! We are the family of God! We are the children of God!) He shall prolong His days; (That references the resurrection.) the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand".

Jesus is now exalted! Raised from the dead! This is the glorious news of the Bible! He is alive! He is alive! And the one that Jesus... Isaiah now sees is the same one that he saw in amazement in Isaiah 6:1, when he saw the Lord, "high and lifted up! And His train filled the temple"! And they cried out "Holy, holy, holy"! That's what they're saying in heaven this very minute in His presence. He is our Redeemer because only He saves. He is our Healer because only God heals. He is our Sustainer; we pray in His name and we are strengthened. We call upon His name. Romans 8:27, "He ever lives to make intercession for His saints". He intercedes for the transgressor. He is the link between a holy God and sinful man! He is our victor. Even in death we are not afraid because He holds the keys to the grave and to death and to hell. He has taken the sting out of death! And none of us, you, me, none of us will die until He wills that we die! We are immortal in the will of God for He who does the will of God abides forever!

My friend Bob Russell was asking in his men's Bible study, a group of the older men, Said, "As you get a little older, as you get older, as you become a senior citizen are you less afraid of death or more afraid of death"? And interestingly enough these strong believing men said, "Oh, by far less afraid the closer we get". In fact one 95 year old man raised his hand and said, "Look," he said, "I've gotta die quick because my family and friends in heaven are going to think I didn't make it if I don't"!

We can laugh at death because He holds the keys to life! And the nail-scarred hands that opens to us the doors of grace, that same hand will open to us the gates of glory! Peter said it: "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds we have been healed"! So the only response to the Gospel of Isaiah is to respond by faith and receive it, and then to believe it; and then to worship Him for the rest of our days, to contemplate and live the Gospel. To live a cross-centered life. Our character is changed. We are no longer bound and broken by our sin, but we are alive in Him to spend our days honoring Him and our future forever praising Him. How could we ever stop telling this story of Jesus?
Are you Human?:*