THOUGHTS FROM ISAIAH

GOD IS COMING … GOD HAS COME

Isaiah 40 begins with the command to comfort God’s people, then proceeds in excited anticipation to tell us that God is coming. We are left with no doubt that the one who is coming is God himself:

The voice calls out ‘Prepare the way for the LORD’.
The voice calls out ‘Make straight … a highway for our God’.

The Gospels tell us that this ‘voice’ was John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the ministry of Jesus Christ by preaching ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near’ [Matthew 3:1-4; see also Mark 1:2-5; Luke 3:3-6; John 1:6-8,15, 19-35].

About the one whose way he prepared John the Baptist testified:

He is more powerful than John.
John was not worthy to carry or to untie his sandals.
He would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
He would implement judgement.
He existed before John.
He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the Son of God.

When asked by some of the Jerusalem Jews ‘What do you say about yourself?’ John answered ‘I am the voice of one calling in the desert, “Make straight the way for the Lord’. By this answer, quoting from Isaiah 40, John affirmed that Jesus Christ is God – ‘the LORD’ – the eternal, self-existing One who revealed himself to Moses as ‘I AM’.  In the coming of Jesus Christ the eternal God comes to us.

When he comes, Isaiah said, ‘the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it’ [verse 5]. The New Testament takes up this concept of seeing the glory of God, and applies it to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ:

‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’ [John 1:14].

‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified’ [John 12:23].

‘”Father, glorify your name. “… “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again”.’ [John 12:27]

‘Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him’ [John 13:31].

‘I have brought you glory on earth …’ [John 17:4].

‘God … has made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ’ [2Corinthians 4:6].

As Jesus Christ himself said:

‘If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well … Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father?”’ [John 14::7,9]

‘I and the Father are one’ [John 10:30].

This revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ, his Son, was guaranteed by the sure and certain word of God –

‘For the mouth of the LORD has spoken’ [Isaiah 40:5].
‘…the word of our God stands forever’ [Isaiah 40:8].

So sure, so certain, so fixed in God’s eternal decree was the coming of God in the incarnation of his Son that Isaiah spoke of it as if it had already occurred:

‘You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”’ [40:9].

Here, in Jesus Christ, is your God! Or, as the King James translation puts it: ‘Behold your God!’

© Rosemary Bardsley 2014