Monday, March 28, 2016

The Glory of the Restoration

Isaiah 35:5–6 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy”.

Many passages in the Bible have a story and a bigger message within it for us today. God in His grace never leaves His people without hope, even when He promises affliction and discipline for their sin. We see this clearly in Isaiah the prophet’s visions alternated between declaring judgment and destruction on the faithless, but life and peace for the faithful who, by the Spirit’s power, come to trust in the Lord’s promises. This, says Isaiah, is true for the remnant of all mankind, no matter their national origin.

This passage features a glorious promise of restoration given to God’s old covenant people. The prophet reiterates the promises of great blessing on the other side of the exile of Israel and Judah. The prophet says that life after exile will be so wonderfully abundant that even the dead desert regions will “blossom abundantly” (Isa. 35:12a). This exile story also represents the “exile from God” condition today of all “Fallen Humanity” in sin. “Where is God in all the trouble, in the exile?” they asked and we ask today. We may paraphrase God’s answer this way: “I have not left you. I will come to redeem you.”

John 3:3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

We think of springtime as “renewal”. In the day of salvation, says Isaiah, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will walk, and the mute will sing. In the first instance, this refers to spiritual renewal, the circumcision of the heart for which the prophets hoped. By the tongue and ears and feet he means all the faculties of our soul, which in themselves are so corrupt that nothing that is good can be obtained from them till they are restored by the kindness of Christ. And yet we cannot divorce this spiritual renewal from the physical, as Isaiah’s promise prompts us to think of Jesus’ healing ministry. His miracles prove that He is the divine Messiah, who, having inaugurated the renewal of all creation, will consummate it at His return.

Christ Jesus our Lord is God’s agent of renewal, the one through whom the Spirit is poured out and whose work on the cross redeems creation. But we cannot benefit from this work, nor can we see Jesus as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s and our promises, without trusting the Savior. The eyes cannot see what is right, and the ears cannot hear, and the feet cannot guide us in the right way, till we are united to Christ. Let us pray that our union with Christ would be strengthened daily. Redemption, reconciliation and restoration are found nowhere else.

Rejoice in Christ, Brian

No comments: