Friday, June 3, 2011

Verse 4

"that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures"

A huge chunk of this chapter deals with the fact that Christ was raised and the implications of that, so let's focus on the third phrase here: "according to the Scriptures."

When the author, Paul, uses this phrase "the Scriptures" he is almost certainly referring to the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible), not to any of the books of the New Testament such as the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. At the time of this writing (generally accepted to be around 54 AD) some of those books hadn't even been written and were not widely circulated. In this time period, "the Scriptures" meant, the Hebrew Bible.

This means that Paul is not saying, "Of course, Jesus died for us and was raised! You read it in Matthew 28! and in John and Mark and Acts and . . . " Rather he is saying, "Of course the Messiah died for us and was raised! It was foretold hundreds of years ago!" It isn't a claim of proper reading, it is a claim of fulfilled prophecy.

This is a big deal.

I've spent some time researching and I concluded that I cannot add, improve, or even comment to make this passage anymore powerful. Take it in. Written 700 years before the birth of Christ. Isaiah 53.

1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.