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Lesson 10: Doing the Unthinkable *

Introduction: Ever feel helpless? Ever feel hopeless? Ever wish someone would help you? Do you try to get help when you feel like that? Who do you call? In our lesson today we learn that we are helpless and hopeless without God. Not only is God willing to help us, but the extent to which He has already helped us is, frankly, unthinkable. Let's take a journey into God's incredible love for hopeless humans!

  1. The Need for Ransom


    1. Read Isaiah 50:1. The Lord is speaking to someone. Based on the questions the Lord is asking, what is this person's situation? (Not only has this person become "motherless," but this person has been sold into slavery.)


      1. What caused this person to be a slave and motherless? (His sins.)


    2. Read Isaiah 50:2. How many people have helped this person? (None. No one was there.)


      1. Why has no one helped? (This person had not asked God for help. God says, "Here you are, all alone in slavery without even your mother. Why didn't you answer your phone? Why didn't you call? Did you think I was unable to help?")


      2. Do you have times when you feel all alone and no one is there to help?


        1. What is God's answer to this situation? ("Call Me," God says, "I can help." Actually, God says something even better, "I called you. Why didn't you answer?")


  2. Our Ransom


    1. Read Isaiah 50:4-5. What is an "instructed tongue?" (One educated by God. This person knows what to say to help the weary.)


      1. Would you like an instructed tongue?


      2. What kind of attitude does the person with the instructed tongue have? (A teachable attitude. Recall last week we discussed ( Isaiah 43:8) people with ears who could not hear, eyes which could not see? This person has open ears to God's instruction. This person is not rebellious. This person is willing to step up to God's will.)


    2. Read Isaiah 50:6. What kind of reward is this for having the right attitude?


      1. You know the saying, "No good deed goes unpunished?" Well, here we have the proof, right?


    3. Seriously, step back a minute and retrace the "where we have been" with these texts. We started out with a person who is hopelessly in slavery because of sin. We have God saying you are all alone, you need help - why didn't you answer the phone? We then find this unnamed person has a great attitude, but is getting beat up. What are these texts all about? (This is a prophecy about Jesus. We are the hopeless, helpless, motherless slaves to sin. God says He can (v.2) rescue and ransom us. Jesus, who has the "right attitude" comes and suffers on our behalf.)


    4. Read Isaiah 50:7. Who do you think is speaking here? (This is Jesus speaking.)


      1. What attitude does this text say Jesus had when He was being tortured for our sins? (He relied on His Father. He relied on God for His self-worth. He was determined to fulfill his work (set His face like flint).)


    5. Read Isaiah 52:13-14. We have skipped many verses to continue our theme. What part of Jesus' life do you think about when you read the phrase, "raised and lifted up?" (Jesus' crucifixion.)


      1. Notice verse 13 starts out "My servant will act wisely." Was Jesus "acting wisely" in His crucifixion? (Jesus' arrest, torture and crucifixion was a choice. He could have turned away. But, praise Him, He did not.)


      2. What does verse 14 say about the extent of the beating that Jesus' took on our behalf? (His face was so beaten that you could not recognize Him. My readers will recall that a few weeks ago I was in a debate with another Bible teacher over whether Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ was too violent. The other teacher argued that the Bible minimized the violent aspect of the crucifixion and that the movie was overdone. I think this text settles that argument: "His form was marred beyond human likeness." You had a hard time telling it was a human face.)


    6. Read Isaiah 52:15. How does Jesus' crucifixion "sprinkle many nations?" (Leviticus 3 and 4 repeatedly mention that in the sanctuary services blood must be sprinkled on the altar for the various ceremonies dealing with the forgiveness of sins. Isaiah is creating a word-picture that Jesus' crucifixion is the fulfillment of the "sprinkling" done in the temple service for the removal of sin from the sinner.)


  3. The Report


    1. Read Isaiah 53:1. Who is the messenger? (Those who are sharing God's message.)


      1. What does it mean to reveal the arm of the Lord? (A reference to the arm of God is a reference to His power. Verse 1 is asking, "Who has heard and accepted this report about the power of God?")


    2. Read Isaiah 53:2. Who is being described here? (Jesus.)


      1. Look at all of the descriptions of Jesus in verse 2. If you had to summarize them, or make a conclusion based on them, how would you describe Jesus?


        1. What does a "tender shoot out of dry ground" suggest about Jesus? (He was fragile in a hostile environment.)


        2. Would you naturally be attracted to Jesus if He were in this room in human form? (No. He was not someone who you would gravitate to because of His appearance.)


    3. Read Isaiah 53:3. What kind of life did Jesus lead? Would you trade yours for His?


    4. You need to explain something to me. We decided that verse 1 meant that the power of God was being revealed. In verses 2 and 3 the revelation is about a tender fellow who is not good looking and is not having a "good day." How is this a revelation of God's power? (This is a critically important point: God's power is not about what we value in humans. It is not about beauty, intelligence or wealth. It is not about pleasant surroundings. Jesus' power arises from God alone. God's message is that He works through human weakness. Jesus emptied Himself of earthly advantages so that we could see that the power in His life was the naked power of God.)


    5. Read Isaiah 53:4-5. Whose infirmities and sorrows did Jesus take? (Ours.)


      1. Which infirmities and sorrows are we talking about? (Those described in verses 2 and 3. This gives us another view of the reasons why Jesus was poor, not handsome, not born of influence and was beset by sorrows - He wanted to show us that He went through the same kind of things we go through. He "carried" our problems in life.)


      2. Verse 4 says we blamed God for what happened to Jesus. Who does it suggest we should blame? (It is our fault Jesus suffered, not God's fault.)


      3. What do all of these bad things that happened to Jesus on our behalf bring us? (Peace and healing.)


        1. What kind of peace? (At least peace in the face of trouble.)


        2. What kind of healing? (At least healing from sin.)


    6. Read Isaiah 53:6. Is there anyone who does not need Jesus? Anyone who can (and has) handled sin on their own? (All of us have gone astray. Jesus carried the sins of all of us.)


    7. Read Isaiah 53:10-12. What was the reason for Jesus to go through all of this? To suffer all of this? (He paid the penalty for our sins. He bore our sins. He justified us and He intercedes on our behalf.


      1. Why does verse 12 say that Jesus bore the sin of "many" and not "all?" (Because it is our choice to accept what Jesus has done on our behalf.)


    8. Friend, the ultimate answer to all of our problems in life is Jesus. Jesus agreed to suffer in our place. He agreed to pay the penalty for sin so that we could live forever with Him. How about answering God's phone call to you? How about repenting and accepting Jesus' sacrifice for you today?


  4. Next week: Desire of Nations
* Copr. 2004, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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