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Text Study for Good Friday -- 2011

Text Study for Good Friday -- 2011

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Published by Joseph Winston

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Published by: Joseph Winston on Apr 22, 2011
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Text Study for Good Friday
The Rev. Joseph WinstonApril 22, 2011
Commentary
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Christians often see Christ suffering in Isaiah 52:13-53:12.
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However, there areonly two certain references to Isaiah 52:13-53:12 before 70 CE in the Christianliterature: Romans 10:16 using Isaiah 53:1 and Romans 15:21 citing Isaiah 52:15.These two instances are for the church’s mission and do not refer to Christ’sdeath.
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Matthew has one certain citation in Matthew 8:17 using Isaiah 53:4 andhere it applies to Christ’s life and actions not passion and death.
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Therefore, givenmodern scholarship, the oldest Christian text for passion, which uses Isaiah 53:12to show that the treatment was prophesied, is found in Luke 22:37
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It is also conceivable this section from Isaiah are used at typology in pas-sion stories.
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.Some points of commonality many be: Silent Mark 14:61; Matthew27:12, 14; Isaiah 53:7; numbered Mark 15:27; Matthew 27:38; Isaiah 53:12; pray-ing Luke 23:34, 39-43; Isaiah 53:12.There is a possible use in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 due to allusion from Isaiah53:5-6. Another case might be found in Christ hymn (Philippians 2) from Isaiah
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52:12. If these two other locations actually use the suffering servant from Isaiah,then these examples are older than the use in Luke.The content found in Isaiah 40-55 show that the four servant songs refer tothe entire group of people that make up Israel.
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For example, the Chosen One,the Despised One, the Wounded One all are Jacob since it describes his life story.Rashi (1040-1105 CE) comments on Isaiah 53:3 that this text in question refersto a group since the prophet was using a single man to refer to all of Israel (SeeIsaiah 44:2 as example).
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Jewish and Christian interpretation of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is similar to earlyJewish thought.
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Actually, Christians view Isaiah 52:13-53:12 almost identicallyas the Jews look at the sacrifice of Issac in the rabbinic and medieval ages.
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An in-nocent and loved son is sacrificed in love because God calls for such a sacrifice.
Likewise the death and then the resurrection of the “beloved son” (Isaac/Jesus) isimportant to both traditions. The central difference between Jewish and Christianthought is that Jews do not identify Jesus or any one person as the one who suffers,instead they see the suffering tied to their community.
Isaiah 52:13
my servant shall prosper 
– The prophet begins this section with anobvious paradox. The world will see the slave as a successful person.Isaiah 52:14
many who were astonished at him
–It might seem that the surpriseat the servant is due to his accomplishments but this is not the case.
so marred was his appearance
– The one praised by all now looks nothinglike he did before.Isaiah 52:15
he shall startle many nations
– All around the world, people willspeak about the dramatic turn around.Isaiah 53:1
Who has believed what we have heard?
– Unless you see what hashappened for yourself, it is almost impossible to understand it.
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Isaiah 53:2
And to whom has the arm of the
L
ORD
been revealed?
– Which, if any, people recognize the reality behind the change of fortune?Isaiah 53:3
a man of suffering
– The underlying assumption in Isaiah 53:3 isthat servant is despised since he deserved punishment because of sin.
Thisis the “dominate (though not the only) biblical perspective on suffering;namely those who obey God will be blessed and those who don’t will becursed.”
Examples can be found in Proverbs 3:33; Leviticus 26; Isaiah5:24-25. A more contemporary example that shows this same idea is Han-del’s
Messiah
.Suffering is also tied to being chosen and to being favored.
Texts thatillustrate this point are: Deuteronomy 8:5; Proverbs 3:12. Thus one mustread Isaiah while holding these two ideas in mind at the same time.
Isaiah 53:4
he has borne our infirmities
– Verses 53:4-5 seem to say that the ser-vant suffering in our place is for both our health (salvation) and our sins.
Jewish thought is that suffering shows both a “moral superiority” and avirtue found in “rabbinic, medieval, and modern form” of Judaism.
How-ever, this is not simple cause and effect.
It might be the case that God’schosen suffer for others.
In the post Holocaust world, many Jewish thinkers reject the connectionbetween suffering and sin while retaining the bond between suffering andbeing chosen.
Isaiah 53:5
he was wounded for our transgressions
– Suffering cannot be sep-arated from the communities that experience it (Jewish/Christian) and itsproper interpretation depends on their hermeneutics.
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