Blog Outline

In 52 brief snapshots we will try to paint a picture of Jesus as hinted at, indicated, outlined and glimpsed in the Old Testament. We will not be providing a comprehensive study but we hope it will be both accessible and helpful to you and serve to deepen both your understanding of, and relationship with, the greatest man who ever lived.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Servant (3): The Servant’s completed mission

Isaiah 50:4-9

This third Servant Song reveals some shocking insights into the mission of the Servant.

The first thing to note is that the Servant is going to carry out the mission which God entrusts Him with. ‘I was not disobedient, nor did I turn back’ (v5). He is going to be given instructions by God and carry them out in full. This sounds impressive even at first glance, but then we read that there will be consequences to this obedience. Following God’s mission through to completion will lead, shockingly, to mistreatment by others. It will lead to being beaten, having His beard pulled out, being humiliated and being spat upon (v6). This has a very different feel from what was communicated in the first two Songs. The Servant is not going to be universally well-received. His mission will only be completed if He undergoes personal suffering. The Servant’s mission, as we have seen, is to be a light to the nations (this needs to be link to previous post) and, as such, is solely for the purpose of saving others. Yet this will not be recognised and instead He will suffer.

However, the Servant can take heart from the fact that the Lord God Himself will help Him. The Servant will not be ashamed or disgraced (v7) even though the actions towards Him will aim to do exactly that (e.g. pulling out His beard). God will vindicate Him (v8) and help Him (v9). Ultimately there will be no case to answer for the Servant and none will be able to condemn Him.

Jesus, at the end of His earthly ministry prayed, ‘I have accomplished the work You have given Me to do’ (John 17:4). In this prayer Jesus anticipates the glory which is due to follow His suffering (v5). In His mind, God will not abandon Him through the human humiliation of the cross and all the suffering that came before it. Ultimately He will be vindicated and glorified by God.

Further reading:       John 17:1-12

Worship video: 


To think about:
Have there been times when your words or actions have not been well-received? How did you deal with this?

Creative response:
Journal page by Bernice


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

The Servant (2): A light to the nations

Isaiah 49:1-13

The second Servant Song reveals that a key purpose of the mission of the Servant was to draw people back to God. This had two different elements: bringing Israel back into relationship with God, and drawing all the nations of the earth to God.

Isaiah states it as follows: ‘To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him’ (v5). This is a hugely significant message, particularly given the situation at the time where the nation of Israel was facing a pretty bleak future in exile. However, the promise of the Servant brings hope that His mission will result in the nation being stirred to return to God and enable God to restore relationship with His people.

In the following verse the scope of the mission widens even further: ‘It is too small a thing that you should be my Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations, so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’ (v6). Clearly God has big plans for the mission of the Servant. Not only will He draw the nation of Israel back to their God, but through Him He will bring light to the nations and provide a way back to God for every tribe and people group. This has echoes of the promise to Abraham (A blessing to all the nations) which was that all nations of the earth would be blessed through him.

At the dedication of Jesus described in Luke 2:25-35, Simeon picked up on these two themes. Simeon blessed the child Jesus saying that He will be ‘A light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel’ (v32). He realised that the baby was going to be significant in both the restoration of Israel and in the salvation of many people from all nations. The apostle Paul agreed that Jesus fulfilled this and summarised that ‘the Christ … would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles’ (Acts 26:23).

And Jesus described Himself as follows: ‘I am the Light of the World’ (John 8:12). There is no doubt that Jesus fulfilled this element of the Servant’s mission!

Further reading:        Luke 2:25-35

Worship video:

To think about:
Why is light the image used by Isaiah to describe the Servant’s mission?  Matthew 5:14-16 calls us to be the light of the world.   What does this mean for you in the situations God has placed you in?

Creative response:
Journal page by Bernice

Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The Servant (1): Introducing the Servant

Isaiah 42:1-9

In Isaiah’s mammoth prophecy are hidden some so-called ‘Servant Songs’. These prophetic messages talk of a Servant who is sent by God on a mission. The Servant Songs reveal elements of this mission and also give a description showing what the Servant will be like. As we look at these Servant Songs over the course of the next few posts you will see that Jesus is the ultimate fulfilment of them Servant Songs.

The Servant is first of all described by God as ‘My Servant whom I uphold, My chosen one in whom My soul delights’ (v1). It is clear that God delights in His Servant! When God speaks at both Jesus’ baptism and His transfiguration (see Matthew 3:17 and 17:5) He declares His love for Jesus and His pleasure in Him. This is a big pointer from God saying that this is the long-expected Servant.

The Song goes on to describe how the Spirit will be upon the Servant (v1). Again, looking at Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove and rests on Him (Matthew 3:16).

The ministry of the Servant will be marked out by the bringing of justice (vv1,3). The Song seems to describe that this will come about in a strange way. The Servant will not be brash or attention-seeking (v2). He will instead be someone who is gentle and considerate in his approach, His mission being marked out by not breaking bruised reeds or snuffing out dimly burning wicks (v3). We see this approach time and again in the ministry of Jesus as He interacts with the marginalised and weak in society with extreme grace and mercy. One only has to think of the woman at the well (John 4), the woman caught in adultery (John 8) and Zaccheus (Luke 19) to name but a few. In fact, Matthew 12:15-23 summarises some of Jesus’ ministry by quoting this Song before immediately recounting how he healed a demon-possessed blind and mute man.

So Isaiah introduces the Servant. It will transpire that the Servant is going to be God’s incredible Son who will be on a grace-filled rescue mission.

Further reading:           Matthew 12:15-23

Worship Video:


To think about:
Jesus was sent from God with a mission. Do you know what mission God has planned for you? Sometimes our mission can be just ‘for a season’. Have you had seasons where you know you have been following a mission from God? What season are you in now?

Creative response:
Journal page by Bernice

Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Branch of Jesse

Isaiah 11:1-10

Isaiah begins this prophecy by reminding his hearers of the pre-eminence of the family of Jesse. The royal line is already well-known to have been established through David but here it is David’s father Jesse who is identified as the ‘stem’ of the tree from which the shoot and branch will bear incredible fruit (v1).

This branch is described as having ‘the Spirit of the Lord resting on Him’ (v2). So far in Biblical history the Spirit has come upon specific people at specific times for a specific purpose (for example see Judges 6:34 and the story of Gideon). This branch is different from that as the Spirit will rest on Him. The Spirit described is a seven-fold Spirit: He is the Spirit of the Lord, of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge and fear of the Lord (v2).

The resting of this Spirit on the Branch will result in the establishing of righteousness judgement. He will not judge in the way men judge, i.e. by what they can see and hear, but instead will judge with righteousness and fairness (vv3,4). And the Branch will be dressed with righteousness and faithfulness as His belt (v5).

The result of this righteous judgement will be the ushering in of a new kingdom of peace where the whole of creation will once again live in harmony. The wolf and lamb, leopard and goat, calf and lion will cohabit (vv6,7). There will be no danger to children from deadly snakes (v8) and there will be no hurt or destruction (v9). God’s kingdom will be established with knowledge of Him filling the earth (v9). And nations will stream to the branch of Jesse (v10). He will be the rallying point and bless all nations of the earth.

Further reading:       Revelation 5:1-10

Worship Video:


To think about:
We live in a turbulent world. However we have the Holy Spirit living inside us. How can we offer or demonstrate peace to the world we live in?

Creative response:
Artwork by Esther Sweeney

Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The light in the darkness

Isaiah 9:1-7

Zebulun and Naphtali are two of the tribes of Israel which, along with tribe of Issachar, make up the region of Galilee. This is in the northern part of Israel. Israel as a whole nation is conquered and taken into captivity in 722BC. However, a decade prior to this the region of Galilee is captured by the Assyrians (see 2 Kings 15:29) and the rest of the nation doesn’t come to their aid. Thus Isaiah describes Galilee as being ‘treated with contempt’ and being a place of gloom (v1).

But the promise that follows is astounding… The people in this region of Galilee will see a great light (v2). Joy and gladness will increase (v3). Oppression will be ended (v4). The enemy will be defeated and there will be an end to war (vv4,5).

This will all come about because of a child who will be born for them (v6). This child will be special. He will be known by marvellous names:
Wonderful Counsellor - the child will stand in the royal courts and advise and guide

Mighty God - this child is God Himself!

Eternal Father - even though a child, He will represent the Heavenly Father

Prince of Peace - He is heir to the throne

This child will carry the government on His shoulders (v6) and the government He leads will be one of ever increasing influence and peace (v7). He will be the one who will finally establish the throne of David forever and will go on to ensure that it continues with justice and righteousness.

And so Jesus, when He beings His earthly ministry starts things off in Galilee (see Matthew 4:12-17). They are the first to see the Son of God in action. The part of the nation that was treated with contempt will house the eternal throne of David. Truly the light had dawned on them, even though they did not understand it.

Further reading:        Matthew 4:12-17         John 1:1-18

Worship Video:



To think about:
Isaiah describes Galilee as being ‘treated with contempt’ and being a place of gloom (v1). So often we feel that we have been treated with contempt, or we treat ourselves with contempt and feel in a place of gloom. Isaiah was talking to a nation but how can we use this passage in Isaiah to encourage ourselves?

Creative response:
Artwork by Esther Sweeney


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The virgin will be with child

Isaiah 7:10-17

In this passage Jerusalem is under siege by the king of Aram and the king of Israel. The king of Judah, Ahaz, and his people are afraid (see verse 3). God speaks to the king and tells him to ask for a sign. Ahaz refuses to do this. God therefore speaks to him anyway and describes the sign which will indicate His coming salvation:

‘Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel’ (v14).

This is totally unexpected! No-one could have predicted that the sign that God would offer would be a miraculous conception and birth. This sign is against all the odds because it is simply impossible. Well, impossible unless God is involved!

This sign is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus. In Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus he quotes this verse and helpfully adds that Immanuel means ‘God with us’ (see Matthew 1:23).

The message of the sign is that it has to be something God brings about in His own time. No-one else has the wherewithal to conjure up a virgin birth. But the real message behind this sign is that salvation will come about when God Himself comes amongst His people.

Immanuel! God with us!

Further reading:      Matthew 1:18-25

Worship Video:


To think about:
This passage is about the impossible. When have you seen God do the impossible in your life or someone else’s life?

Is there a way that we can prepare for the impossible?


Creative response:
Journal page by Bernice



Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The marriage feast

Song of Songs 2:4

The Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon) is a beautiful book, full of the language and description of romantic love between a king and his bride. The whole book is a celebration of love. The story is poetic and describes a period of courtship of lovers as well as the marriage day itself. It tells of the mutual enjoyment, physical attraction and sexual intimacy they share. It tells of the deep emotional connection of couple in love and of their pain when separated.

Part of the story is a description of the wedding feast. The groom comes into view in his splendour:
 ‘Go forth, O daughters of Zion,
And gaze on King Solomon with the crown
With which his mother has crowned him
On the day of his wedding,
And on the day of the gladness of his heart.’ (3:11)

And he is matched by his bride:
‘How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are!... 
You are altogether beautiful, my darling,
And there is no blemish in you.’ (4:1,7)

This book is so clearly about the love and attraction a bride and groom have towards each other during courtship and marriage. Yet, as we saw last time, marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. So when we read Song of Songs this aspect also comes into view.

Ultimately a day will come when the Lamb will be married to His bride (see Rev 19:7) who will appear perfect and prepared for her husband (v8). There will then be a party, a feast - the marriage supper of the Lamb (v9) where we will see Song of Songs 2:4 fully fulfilled: ‘He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.’ The book of Revelation goes on to describe the bride of the Lamb in more detail in chapter 21 where she appears as a gloriously perfect city (21:9,10) with walls and streets of gold, foundations of precious stones and gates of pearls (vv15-21).

She will be an awesome sight.

A breath-taking vision.

A bride fit for the eternal King of Kings.

Further reading:        Revelation 19:7-10 & 21:1-21

Worship Video:

To think about:
What aspects of the description of the bride of Christ have caught your attention as you read these passages? How can we prepare ourselves to be the bride of Christ?

Creative response:
Journal page by Bernice


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.