Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 105

Isaiah 52–55, Matthew 16

Bible text(s)

God will Rescue Jerusalem

1Jerusalem, be strong and great again!

Holy city of God, clothe yourself with splendour!

The heathen will never enter your gates again.

2Shake yourself free, Jerusalem!

Rise from the dust and sit on your throne!

Undo the chains that bind you,

captive people of Zion!

3The Sovereign LORD says to his people, “When you became slaves, no money was paid for you; in the same way nothing will be paid to set you free. 4When you went to live in Egypt as foreigners, you did so of your own free will; Assyria, however, took you away by force and paid nothing for you. 5And now in Babylonia the same thing has happened: you are captives, and nothing was paid for you. Those who rule over you boast and brag and constantly show contempt for me. 6In time to come you will acknowledge that I am God and that I have spoken to you.”

7How wonderful it is to see

a messenger coming across the mountains,

bringing good news, the news of peace!

He announces victory and says to Zion,

“Your God is king!”

8Those who guard the city are shouting,

shouting together for joy!

They can see with their own eyes

the return of the LORD to Zion!

9Break into shouts of joy,

you ruins of Jerusalem!

The LORD will rescue his city

and comfort his people.

10The LORD will use his holy power;

he will save his people,

and all the world will see it.

11Make sure you leave Babylonia,

all you that carry the temple equipment!

Touch no forbidden thing;

keep yourselves holy and leave.

12This time you will not have to leave in a hurry;

you will not be trying to escape.

The LORD your God will lead you

and protect you on every side.

The Suffering Servant

13The LORD says,

“My servant will succeed in his task;

he will be highly honoured.

14Many people were shocked when they saw him;

he was so disfigured that he hardly looked human.

15But now many nations will marvel at him,

and kings will be speechless with amazement.

They will see and understand

something they had never known.”

1The people reply,

“Who would have believed what we now report?

Who could have seen the LORD's hand in this?

2It was the will of the LORD that his servant

should grow like a plant taking root in dry ground.

He had no dignity or beauty

to make us take notice of him.

There was nothing attractive about him,

nothing that would draw us to him.

3We despised him and rejected him;

he endured suffering and pain.

No one would even look at him —

we ignored him as if he were nothing.

4“But he endured the suffering that should have been ours,

the pain that we should have borne.

All the while we thought that his suffering

was punishment sent by God.

5But because of our sins he was wounded,

beaten because of the evil we did.

We are healed by the punishment he suffered,

made whole by the blows he received.

6All of us were like sheep that were lost,

each of us going his own way.

But the LORD made the punishment fall on him,

the punishment all of us deserved.

7“He was treated harshly, but endured it humbly;

he never said a word.

Like a lamb about to be slaughtered,

like a sheep about to be sheared,

he never said a word.

8He was arrested and sentenced and led off to die,

and no one cared about his fate.

He was put to death for the sins of our people.

9He was placed in a grave with the wicked,

he was buried with the rich,

even though he had never committed a crime

or ever told a lie.”

10The LORD says,

“It was my will that he should suffer;

his death was a sacrifice to bring forgiveness.

And so he will see his descendants;

he will live a long life,

and through him my purpose will succeed.

11After a life of suffering, he will again have joy;

he will know that he did not suffer in vain.

My devoted servant, with whom I am pleased,

will bear the punishment of many

and for his sake I will forgive them.

12And so I will give him a place of honour,

a place among the great and powerful.

He willingly gave his life

and shared the fate of evil men.

He took the place of many sinners

and prayed that they might be forgiven.”

The LORD's Love for Israel

1Jerusalem, you have been like a childless woman,

but now you can sing and shout for joy.

Now you will have more children

than a woman whose husband never left her!

2Make the tent you live in larger;

lengthen its ropes and strengthen the pegs!

3You will extend your boundaries on all sides;

your people will get back the land

that the other nations now occupy.

Cities now deserted will be filled with people.

4Do not be afraid — you will not be disgraced again;

you will not be humiliated.

You will forget your unfaithfulness as a young wife,

and your desperate loneliness as a widow.

5Your Creator will be like a husband to you —

the LORD Almighty is his name.

The holy God of Israel will save you —

he is the ruler of all the world.

6Israel, you are like a young wife,

deserted by her husband and deeply distressed.

But the LORD calls you back to him and says:

7“For one brief moment I left you;

with deep love I will take you back.

8I turned away angry for only a moment,

but I will show you my love for ever.”

So says the LORD who saves you.

9“In the time of Noah I promised

never again to flood the earth.

Now I promise not to be angry with you again;

I will not reprimand or punish you.

10The mountains and hills may crumble,

but my love for you will never end;

I will keep for ever my promise of peace.”

So says the LORD who loves you.

The Future Jerusalem

11The LORD says,

“O Jerusalem, you suffering, helpless city,

with no one to comfort you,

I will rebuild your foundations with precious stones.

12I will build your towers with rubies,

your gates with stones that glow like fire,

and the wall around you with jewels.

13“I myself will teach your people,

and give them prosperity and peace.

14Justice and right will make you strong.

You will be safe from oppression and terror.

15Whoever attacks you

does it without my consent;

whoever fights against you will fall.

16“I create the blacksmith,

who builds a fire and forges weapons.

I also create the soldier,

who uses the weapons to kill.

17But no weapon will be able to hurt you;

you will have an answer for all who accuse you.

I will defend my servants

and give them victory.”

The LORD has spoken.

God's Offer of Mercy

1The LORD says,

“Come, everyone who is thirsty —

here is water!

Come, you that have no money —

buy corn and eat!

Come! Buy wine and milk —

it will cost you nothing!

2Why spend money on what does not satisfy?

Why spend your wages and still be hungry?

Listen to me and do what I say,

and you will enjoy the best food of all.

3“Listen now, my people, and come to me;

come to me, and you will have life!

I will make a lasting covenant with you

and give you the blessings I promised to David.

4I made him a leader and commander of nations,

and through him I showed them my power.

5Now you will summon foreign nations;

at one time they did not know you,

but now they will come running to join you!

I, the LORD your God, the holy God of Israel,

will make all this happen;

I will give you honour and glory.”

6Turn to the LORD and pray to him,

now that he is near.

7Let the wicked leave their way of life

and change their way of thinking.

Let them turn to the LORD, our God;

he is merciful and quick to forgive.

8“My thoughts,” says the LORD, “are not like yours,

and my ways are different from yours.

9As high as the heavens are above the earth,

so high are my ways and thoughts above yours.

10“My word is like the snow and the rain

that come down from the sky to water the earth.

They make the crops grow

and provide seed for sowing and food to eat.

11So also will be the word that I speak —

it will not fail to do what I plan for it;

it will do everything I send it to do.

12“You will leave Babylon with joy;

you will be led out of the city in peace.

The mountains and hills will burst into singing,

and the trees will shout for joy.

13Cypress trees will grow where now there are briars;

myrtle trees will come up in place of thorns.

This will be a sign that will last for ever,

a reminder of what I, the LORD, have done.”

The Demand for a Miracle

(Mk 8.11–13; Lk 12.54–56)

1Some Pharisees and Sadducees who came to Jesus wanted to trap him, so they asked him to perform a miracle for them, to show that God approved of him. 2But Jesus answered, “When the sun is setting, you say, ‘We are going to have fine weather, because the sky is red.’ 3And early in the morning you say, ‘It is going to rain, because the sky is red and dark.’ You can predict the weather by looking at the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs concerning these times! 4How evil and godless are the people of this day! You ask me for a miracle? No! The only miracle you will be given is the miracle of Jonah.”

So he left them and went away.

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

(Mk 8.14–21)

5When the disciples crossed over to the other side of the lake, they forgot to take any bread. 6Jesus said to them, “Take care; be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

7They started discussing among themselves, “He says this because we didn't bring any bread.”

8Jesus knew what they were saying, so he asked them, “Why are you discussing among yourselves about not having any bread? How little faith you have! 9Don't you understand yet? Don't you remember when I broke the five loaves for the 5,000 men? How many baskets did you fill? 10And what about the seven loaves for the 4,000 men? How many baskets did you fill? 11How is it that you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread? Guard yourselves from the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!”

12Then the disciples understood that he was not warning them to guard themselves from the yeast used in bread but from the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Peter's Declaration about Jesus

(Mk 8.27–30; Lk 9.18–21)

13Jesus went to the territory near the town of Caesarea Philippi, where he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14“Some say John the Baptist,” they answered. “Others say Elijah, while others say Jeremiah or some other prophet.”

15“What about you?” he asked them. “Who do you say I am?”

16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17“Good for you, Simon son of John!” answered Jesus. “For this truth did not come to you from any human being, but it was given to you directly by my Father in heaven. 18And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven; what you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and what you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

20Then Jesus ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Jesus Speaks about his Suffering and Death

(Mk 8.31—9.1; Lk 9.22–27)

21From that time on Jesus began to say plainly to his disciples, “I must go to Jerusalem and suffer much from the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. I will be put to death, but three days later I will be raised to life.”

22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “God forbid it, Lord!” he said. “That must never happen to you!”

23Jesus turned around and said to Peter, “Get away from me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my way, because these thoughts of yours don't come from God, but from human nature.”

24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to come with me, he must forget self, carry his cross, and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his own life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26Will people gain anything if they win the whole world but lose their life? Of course not! There is nothing they can give to regain their life. 27For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will reward each one according to his deeds. 28I assure you that there are some here who will not die until they have seen the Son of Man come as King.”

Matthew 16GNBOpen in Bible reader
Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
Find us on