Lesson 45—December 14, 2014
Jesus – A Real Hope
To learn that Jesus was the fulfillment of Isaiah 42:1-4.
As we begin today’s lesson, it will be helpful to review the context
of our Scripture passage. Jesus had gone inside the synagogue on the Sabbath. While there He encountered a man with a withered hand. I
can imagine that this was not the man’s first time to enter the synagogue on the Sabbath. He was probably regarded with little respect or notice. In the minds of the Pharisees, he was simply a “nobody” with an infirmity. But on that particular Sabbath, this man became a man of importance in the Pharisees’ ever-watching eyes. The Pharisees witnessed for themselves the compassion of Jesus toward the hurting and helpless. This man with the withered hand became the point of observation. Would Jesus dare to defy the Sabbath to heal him? This man became a valuable tool in the eyes of the Pharisees. His need made him bait in a scheme to trap Jesus. The Pharisees waited to see the trap spring.
If Jesus healed on the Sabbath, then they would have Him. They would finally catch Him in a punishable offense. They began this confrontation with a question to try to trap Him, but Jesus did not respond as they thought He would. He put the issue back to their self-righteous hearts. Caught in their own trap, the Pharisees were enraged, and from that moment on sought Jesus’ death. Jesus had exposed their hypocrisy over the very thing that they identified with as their exclusionary ownership right—The Sabbath. Jesus declared that He was Lord of the Sabbath, which meant they were not!
Jesus withdrew from this location and the multitudes continued to follow Him. They were coming from all areas and regions to hear His message. Many were healed of their afflictions; the demon-possessed were healed; the crowds grew.
In today’s lesson, Matthew writes that Jesus spoke in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy. Please read Isaiah 41:9; 42:1-4, Matthew 12:17-21.
The Believer’s Bible Commentary says, “Isaiah pictures Jesus as the Servant whom Jehovah had chosen, the Beloved One in whom [God] was well pleased. God would put His Spirit upon Him – a prophesy fulfilled at the baptism of Jesus. And His ministry would reach beyond the confines of Israel. He would declare justice to the Gentiles.”
We are beginning to better understand the ministry and mission of our Lord as the Messiah (God’s Chosen One, God’s appointed anointed One). We are beginning to learn more about the “whosoever will”
Messiahship of Jesus Christ.
The Messiah, My Servant, Jesus will bring good news to the hurting, the poor, the outcast and the down-trodden. He will offer hope to the hopeless and needy. He will be an encouragement to the discouraged. He will not fail.
Matthew writes that Jesus is fulfilling the prophesy of Isaiah. One of the truths of Scripture being made known is that with Jesus Christ the broken hearted and oppressed will be encouraged and strengthened.
In the midst of lives and hearts that have nearly lost hope, Jesus will rekindle hope (Matthew 12:20). He will fan the smallest spark into a flame of faith and hope for the one who is just about to lose all hope.
A new day had dawned—Jesus’ love would reach to all people, of all lands, of all times and generations. Jesus’ love would reach where the self-righteous multitudes of Pharisees would think impossible. His compassion and genuine love and care would not be extinguished by the legalism of the self-appointed police of the law. Jesus offered a new way, a way of grace that reached deep into a person and changed the very heart. Instead of calling attention to the outward expression of law-keeping, as the Pharisees were so interested in doing, Jesus was teaching a new way. He was teaching that the outward appearance only has true meaning because of the change that begins on the inside of a person—in the heart. True righteousness begins inside (in the heart) and is made known by the outward (actions of life). No amount of law-keeping or self-righteous piety could change a person’s heart. Jesus offered hope to the hopeless, encouragement to the discouraged, and the most important thing about this new way was that it was not for any select few or isolated circle. It was for reaching to the world of the “whosoever” (Matthew 12:21).
• What does “whosoever” mean to you personally?
• How does the heart affect a person’s outward actions?
• Have you ever had a time in your life when it seemed hope was just about gone? (You were that bruised reed that needed the gentle touch of Jesus. You were that smoking flax that needed the fan of Jesus to rekindle hope.) Please answer prayerfully.
During the past few weeks of our Life Focus study, we have witnessed through Scripture the wonderful ministry of our Savior Jesus Christ. We have witnessed Him touching the untouchable. We have witnessed Him speaking with authority to religious leaders and self-appointed righteous experts of Scriptures. We have witnessed Him standing before demonic forces and casting them out. We have seen Him taking on the legalist, not by offering a reforming way to the old, but by offering a new way.
As we close today’s lesson, may I call your attention to Luke 1:26-38?
(V31) “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.”
For the past three Christmases, our family has been blessed to and welcome and dedicate a new life into our family. In 2012, it was our sweet Sofia; in 2013, it was precious Liam; and this year our gift is Tifton. We have held them in our arms, prayed over them and dedicated them to God. We have prayed for their salvation, their future, and their very steps of life. That being said, there is much meaning in the words of this song which I leave with you today and this blessed Christmas season.
Mary, Did You Know?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
Would one day walk on water? Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
Would save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new? This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you. Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
Will give sight to a blind man? Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
Will calm the storm with His hand? Did you know that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod? When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God? Mary did you know. The blind will see. The deaf will hear. The dead will live again. The lame will leap. The dumb will speak The praises of The Lamb. Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
Is Lord of all creation? Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
Would one day rule the nations? Did you know that your Baby Boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb? The sleeping Child you’re holding is the Great I Am.
((Mark Lowry (lyrics) and Buddy Greene (melody))