Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Reader: “The Sun of Righteousness will rise.”
Response: “With healing in his wings.”
Scripture: Isaiah 35:5-6
And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind
and unplug the ears of the deaf.
The lame will leap like a deer,
and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!
Springs will gush forth in the wilderness,
and streams will water the wasteland.
The disciples of John the Baptist told John about everything Jesus was doing. So John called for two of his disciples, and he sent them to the Lord to ask him, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”
John’s two disciples found Jesus and said to him, “John the Baptist sent us to ask, ‘Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?’”
At that very time, Jesus cured many people of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and he restored sight to many who were blind. Then he told John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.’”
Sometimes people wonder how the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New Testament. After all, aren’t people just finding “convenient connections” long after the fact? In these two passages we have perfect examples of how Jesus interprets the First Testament. His cousin, John the Baptist, had been arrested and was now in prison. I wonder how well they knew each other growing up? I would suspect that John thought Jesus had come to overthrow Roman rule. So he sent Andrew, one of his own disciples at the time, to find out if Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus answered that question by quoting the prophet Isaiah. In that exchange, Andrew discovered the Messiah and later introduced his brother, Simon, to the Lord.
Did you notice that the examples Jesus gave corresponded perfectly to the Isaiah passage? He re-tuned John’s thinking to the true mission of the Messiah. Jesus defined God’s biggest picture of restoring creation with his examples of giving sight to the blind, the lame now walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf can hear, and the dead are raised to life. The Good News is being preached to the poor. It is only through the Messiah that God is restoring his creation. This was Jesus’ answer to John.
Jesus then turned to the crowd to affirm and verify that John was indeed the one to announce the coming of the Messiah, again quoting Isaiah. The people, knowing the Scriptures much better than most people do in our day, embraced what Jesus said. Sad to say, many of the Pharisees and experts in religious law rejected God’s plan of recreation, because they refused to believe John and consequently Jesus’ own words. The sad truth is that some of today’s theologians fall into the same category.
Though writing over 700 years before the time of Jesus, Isaiah describes in detail the work of the Messiah. These two passages provide classic examples of how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecies. In every case, the heart of the issue is that Jesus is God come in the flesh to bring restoration to the whole created order. In Jesus’ words, let us “preach Good News” to the poor, for our world is filled with the blind, deaf, and dead in spirit to the transforming power of the gospel. Let us follow Andrew’s model and invite others to “Come and follow the Savior.”
Music: “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” The ChurchFolk
Father, as the day of your reappearing draws closer, create in me a deeper longing for the restoration of all of creation. Thank you for the completeness of your word. I’m amazed again and again at the detail and unity of the whole of Scripture. Thank you for the care and manner in which Jesus revealed himself and his mission to the people. I love studying and following the thought process of Jesus’ discussions in a passage like this. Thank you for your Holy Spirit who guides and teaches making your word vibrant this day. I love you Lord. Glory to you Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen. ―Daniel Sharp