Isaiah 53; Isaiah 54; Isaiah 55; 2 Thessalonians 1

1 The people reply, "Who would have believed what we now report? Who could have seen the Lord's hand in this? 2 It was the will of the Lord that his servant 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. 3 We 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. 5 But 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. 6 All 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. 8 He 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. 9 He was placed in a grave with those who are evil, he was buried with the rich, even though he had never committed a crime or ever told a lie." 10 The 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. 11 After 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. 12 And so I will give him a place of honor, 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."
1 Jerusalem, 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. 2 Make the tent you live in larger; lengthen its ropes and strengthen the pegs! 3 You 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. 4 Do 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. 5 Your 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. 6 Israel, 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. 8 I turned away angry for only a moment, but I will show you my love forever." 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. 10 The mountains and hills may crumble, but my love for you will never end; I will keep forever my promise of peace." So says the Lord who loves you. 11 The Lord says, "O Jerusalem, you suffering, helpless city, with no one to comfort you, I will rebuild your foundations with precious stones. 12 I 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. 14 Justice and right will make you strong. You will be safe from oppression and terror. 15 Whoever 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. 17 But 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.
1 The Lord says, "Come, everyone who is thirsty - here is water! Come, you that have no money - buy grain and eat! Come! Buy wine and milk - it will cost you nothing! 2 Why 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. 4 I made him a leader and commander of nations, and through him I showed them my power. 5 Now 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 honor and glory." 6 Turn to the Lord and pray to him, now that he is near. 7 Let 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. 9 As 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 planting and food to eat. 11 So 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. 13 Cypress trees will grow where now there are briers; myrtle trees will come up in place of thorns. This will be a sign that will last forever, a reminder of what I, the Lord, have done."
1 From Paul, Silas, and Timothy - To the people of the church in Thessalonica, who belong to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 3 Our friends, we must thank God at all times for you. It is right for us to do so, because your faith is growing so much and the love each of you has for the others is becoming greater. 4 That is why we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God. We boast about the way you continue to endure and believe through all the persecutions and sufferings you are experiencing. 5 All of this proves that God's judgment is just and as a result you will become worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering. 6 God will do what is right: he will bring suffering on those who make you suffer, 7 and he will give relief to you who suffer and to us as well. He will do this when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 with a flaming fire, to punish those who reject God and who do not obey the Good News about our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from his glorious might, 10 when he comes on that Day to receive glory from all his people and honor from all who believe. You too will be among them, because you have believed the message that we told you. 11 That is why we always pray for you. We ask our God to make you worthy of the life he has called you to live. May he fulfill by his power all your desire for goodness and complete your work of faith. 12 In this way the name of our Lord Jesus will receive glory from you, and you from him, by the grace of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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