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Relevant Verses: Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12; Philippians 2:5-11

Leading Question: Why would that simple title, “He Died for US” be so important for a lesson quarterly entitled, “Life Everlasting: on Death, Dying, and the Future Hope”?

Comment: I would like to organize our discussion around two famous passages of Scripture, one coming before the cross, the “Song of the Suffering Servant” (Isaiah 52:13 – 53:23), the other coming after the cross ( Philippians 2:5-11), also referred to as a hymn.

We can place these two hymns within the life of the believing community, asking crucial questions:

What is their devotional value? Prophetic value? Predictive value? Doctrinal value? Experiential value?

In addition , we can think of the predictive function of key symbols and phrases: Messiah, passover lamb and the puzzlement of passages like Psalm 2:2 that speaks of Yahweh and his anointed one (messiah). Instead of Yahweh being the anointed one, Yahweh is accompanied by his anointed one.

Here are the two “hymns”:

The Suffering Servant: Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12:

See, my servant will act wisely[;
  he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him—
  his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
  and his form marred beyond human likeness—
15 so he will sprinkle many nations,
  and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
  and what they have not heard, they will understand.
1Who 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 mankind,
  a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
  he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
  and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
  stricken 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 on him,
  and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
  each of us has turned to our 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 its shearers is silent,
  so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
  Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
  for the transgression of my people he was punished.
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 an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
  and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
  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.

The Hymn of the One Who Emptied Himself: Philippians 2:5-11

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
  did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
  by taking the very nature of a servant,
  being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
  he humbled himself
  by becoming obedient to death—
    even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
  and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
  in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
  to the glory of God the Father.

Question: Which aspect of these two hymns has the greatest potential for nurturing the devotional life?

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