Do you have a favourite Bible book or passage? As a young person, I took part in a competition based on the book of Amos and it quickly became my favourite Old Testament book. To suggest that Jesus had a favourite book is perhaps disrespectful of the fact that the Scriptures, the Old Testament - that he knew and studied from a young person (Luke 2:39 - 52 ) Series 1 Episode 13, in the synagogue as an adult male (Luke 4:14 - 30 ) Series 3 Episode 3, and in the Temple at the important festivals (John 7:14) Series 8 Episode 1 - was in fact his Father’s, communication with his people. However, the book most often reflected in Jesus’ teaching and life was Isaiah. In Word Online, 32 different episodes refer to the prophecy of Isaiah. Jesus had full respect for the whole of the Old Testament. He strongly denied that he had come to abolish the Law of Moses (Matthew 5:17 ) Series 4 Episode 4 but in fact had come to fulfil it.
At the outset of his ministry, Jesus set out what Martin Charlesworth has called his ‘manifesto’ in the synagogue, in Nazareth Series 3 Episode 3. He was invited to read from the scriptures and chose to read from Isaiah 61. As he sat down after reading it, he told those present, ‘Today this prophecy is fulfilled in your hearing’ Luke 4:21.This particular passage is one of a group of passages in Isaiah which describes the work of a person who would come to Israel known as ‘The Servant of the Lord.’
Martin explains there are five ways in which this prophecy is fulfilled by Jesus:
Jesus was anointed by the Spirit at his baptism (Luke 3:21 - 22) Series 2 Episode 2.
1. He preached good news to the poor. Jesus spent much time with the marginalised and those who were poor spiritually, mentally or physically. He reached out to women, (Luke 8:40 - 56) Series 5 Episode 16, to the tax collectors and prostitutes (Luke 7:36 - 50) Series 5 Episode 5.
2. He came to set people free from the ‘prison’ of their sins. Jesus often offered forgiveness of sins (Luke 5:20) Series 3 Episode 8 and is ultimately brought about by his death on the cross.
3. He healed those who were physically blind. (Luke 18:35 - 43) Series 10 Episode 10.
4. Jesus set free those who were oppressed by demons (Mark 9:14 - 29). Series 7 Episode 4.
5. Jesus brought in the Kingdom of God which, like the Year of Jubilee (year of favour), lifted up the impoverished and enabled them to enjoy the benefits of God’s Kingdom. (Mark 9:33 - 35) Series 7 Episode 6.
By the time John the Baptist sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if he really was the Messiah, Jesus could point to all that he was doing as proof of who he was (Mathew 11:2 - 19). Series 5 Episode 3.
Jesus understood his mission to be one of service to others. He stated that he had come to serve rather than be served (Mark 10:45). A clear representation of this is seen in the last Supper when Jesus took on the role of a servant to wash the feet of his disciples (John 13: 1 - 20). Series 12 Episode 10.
Jesus understood his mission in terms of the suffering servant of Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12 and 54:4 - 9. This was in his mind as he warned his disciples that he would suffer and die in Jerusalem. (Matthew 16:21 - 28) Series 7 Episode 2. Isaiah 53:5 speaks of this suffering servant who would be ‘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.’ This is the hope for every Christian through what Jesus did on the cross.