I pray that your faith will continue to grow and you will come to understand more and more of all that He did on the cross which directly affects the lives of everyone here and now. But as you do, let’s remember that giving people “life” is good, but it is also “eternal life” that they need. These two things are not the same.
That is why when I pray for people, I not only pray that their needs have been met through His life-and-death-and-resurrection, but I also state the truth that He has opened their eyes and ears to Himself. I can’t make a person choose a response, but I can use my faith to clear a path back to Him. Isaiah calls this the “highway of holiness”…
And a highway shall be there, and a way; and it shall be called the Holy Way. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for the redeemed; the wayfaring men, yes, the simple ones and fools, shall not err in it and lose their way.
No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk on it.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. – Isa 35:8-10
And the instruction that God gives to us, through Isaiah is for us to speak comfort and to speak tenderly to people that
- God has dealt Sovereignly with all of our sins and iniquiqities,
- and to clear a path for them to return to Him,
- because He is about to reveal Himself
Take a look…
Isa 40:1-2 COMFORT, COMFORT My people, says your God. Speak tenderly to the heart of Jerusalem, and cry to her that her time of service and her warfare are ended, that [her punishment is accepted and] her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received [punishment] from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
The thing we sometimes struggle to understand is that Jesus Christ paid for this pardon. We simply (and very gratefully) receive it. It’s a free gift. The full punishment was placed upon Him. No one needs to pay any more!
Isa 40:3-5 A voice of one who cries: Prepare in the wilderness the way of the Lord [clear away the obstacles]; make straight and smooth in the desert a highway for our God! Every valley shall be lifted and filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked and uneven shall be made straight and level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory (majesty and splendor) of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
The key thing to notice in this passage is that SOMEONE has to clear away the obstacles. Who do you suppose that is? Who is expected to make the highway straight and smooth for His glory to return? On the one hand we know that Jesus Christ did this, He levelled the mountains… spiritually… and it’s up to you and me – the church – to receive what He did.
John Gill explains Is 40:4 very well…
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low… Which is not to be understood literally, but, as Kimchi says, parabolically and mystically: the meaning is, that in consequence of John’s ministry, and our Lord’s coming, such who were depressed and bowed down with the guilt of sin, and were low and humble in their own eyes, should be raised up and comforted; and that such who were elated with themselves, and their own righteousness, should be humbled; their pride and haughtiness should be brought down, and they treated with neglect and contempt, while great notice was taken of lowly minded ones; see (Luke 14:11) and (Luke 18:14) : and the crooked shall be straight and the rough places plain; what before was dark and intricate in prophecy should now become clear; and such doctrines as were not so well understood should now become plain and easy. – Gill Is 40:4
The key words are “in consequence of John’s ministry, and our Lord’s coming” the results would be freedom and release and the manifest glory and splendor of the Lord. Amen.
Isa 40:5 And the glory (majesty and splendor) of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
The consequences of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross is clearly explained: the glory and majesty and splendor of the Lord shall be revealed.
The words of these passages explain clearly the work that Jesus Christ did on the cross – but it has to be received by faith. How do I know that these words refer to Jesus Christ? Because they are written in 500BC by Isaiah, and they are repeated by the Prophet John the Baptist when He points to Jesus Christ in the flesh as fulfilling that scripture…
IN THOSE days there appeared John the Baptist, preaching in the Wilderness (Desert) of Judea and saying, Repent (think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. This is he who was mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when he said, The voice of one crying in the wilderness (shouting in the desert), Prepare the road for the Lord, make His highways straight (level, direct). – Matt 3:1-3
So we know Who it is who does it, and we know the consequences… the glory and majesty and splendor of the Lord shall be revealed. I really want this to come about, don’t you?
It is interesting that God says He will make the way…
And I will make all My mountains a way, and My highways will be raised up. – Isa 49:11
I believe that John Gill explains that phrase “I will make all my mountains a road” best…
Or “for”, or “into a way” (e); signifying that they should be dug through or levelled, and a way made through them, over them, or upon them, for his people to pass: very probably the allusion is to the mountains that lay between Babylon and Judea; … though the words are not to be literally understood, but denote the removing of all impediments, obstructions, and difficulties, in the people’s return from captivity; (-Gill Is 49:11)
John Gill makes it clear that the mountains are to be dug through and levelled. Someone has to do this. Someone has to put the effort in. There’s work to be done… by someone. Who? You? Me? Yep. Jesus Christ did a finished work on the cross… and it’s been waiting 2000 years for us to receive it. We have received in part, but there is a completed work to be received.
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