18 Days - Isaiah 35:5-6
Today we're going to be diving into Isaiah 35:5-6:
"Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert."
The NIV translation of the Bible calls Isaiah 35 "Joy of the Redeemed". The verse right above Isaiah 35:5 says, “Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you" (Isaiah 35:4).
This verse is proclaiming a Savior is coming! Our God will come to save us. His salvation will open the eyes of the blind, unstop the ears of the deaf, give movement to the lame, and voice to the mute. How beautiful is this? This prophecy about Jesus Christ, God in human form, came about seven-hundred years before Jesus's birth. It's a beautiful rejoice that not only will God came to save us, but He will heal us and He will do so miraculously.
Seven hundred years after this prophecy, a man named John the Baptist starts preparing the way for the Messiah to come. His message is "Repent! The Kingdom of Heaven is near." John The Baptist is aware of how soon the Messiah is to come and save all those who believe in Him; so John says, Please, turn from your wicked lifestyle and believe in the Messiah, your salvation! Now, JTB (John The Baptist) doesn't fully know who Jesus is at this point. He's certainly got an inclination saying to Jesus at His baptism, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" (Matthew 3:14). But even though John the Baptist is baptizing Jesus in the third chapter of Matthew, it isn't for another eight chapters that this prophecy in Isaiah 35 is fulfilled. The baptism is just the start of Jesus's ministry.
In Matthew 4, Jesus begins His ministry with the same message as John the Baptist: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near" (Matthew 4:17). Then Jesus gets to doing some crazy cool things. Such as, healing the sick later in Matthew 4; healing a man with leprosy, a woman with a fever, and restoring three demon-possessed men in Matthew 8; healing a paralyzed man, healing a sick woman, raising a girl from the dead, healing two blind men, and healing a mute man in Matthew 9. And all throughout this time, John The Baptist is oblivious to this because he is in prison. His whole life's work is now discouraging because he has been preparing the way for a salvation-giving Messiah he's not even sure has reached earth yet. JTB starts to question whether Jesus really is the Messiah. Then, word reaches his prison. JTB hears of the miraculous deeds Jesus has performed and he sends his disciples to ask this question: "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:3). So Jesus replies,
"'Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me'" (Matthew 11:2–6).
In this very moment, Jesus fulfills the prophecy word for word. By having this response to John The Baptist's disciples, Jesus proves He truly is the Messiah.
What does "Repent! The Kingdom of Heaven is near." mean to you?
As John The Baptist felt unworthy to baptize Jesus, what is one moment in your life you felt unworthy of the grace of God?
Write a prayer out to God thanking Him for fulfilling prophecy. What does this fulfilled prophecy mean to you?