THE HIGHWAY

Gregory Magruder        Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL      12/15/19
 
“The Highway”
Isaiah 35:1-10
 
INTRODUCTION: Isaiah predicted that one day the Messiah would establish a new kingdom. Certain signs would indicate that the kingdom had come. The wilderness would bloom, people would be healed, and a new highway would lead to God.  Sometimes we miss the signs on the highway and end up in the wilderness. There are all kinds of signs that we experience. Someone may miss the signs of a discouraged spouse until the spouse asks for a divorce.  Some may miss the signs of poor health until the doctor announces a serious illness.  The signs are there but we miss them.  John the Baptist wondered if he had missed the signs.  He began to doubt that Jesus was the Messiah.  He based his doubt on the signs of the coming kingdom that Isaiah had given centuries before.  Did Jesus fit those signs?  Let’s look at Isaiah 35 and see the signs of the kingdom.  Jesus affirms that he fulfills the signs of the kingdom.
 
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF THE KINGDOM?
 
*Nature will be restored just like the Garden of Eden. The barren wilderness will blossom. “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing… For waters break forth in the wilderness,    and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool,    and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes (Isaiah 35:1-7).
 
*God will make his glory known and will save his people with power and justice.  “They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you’” (Isaiah 35:1-4).
 
*Miraculous healings will take place in the Kingdom of God. “. 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 (Isaiah 35:5-6).
 
*A new way will be established that brings everlasting joy. “And a highway shall be there,   and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.    It shall belong to those who walk on the way;   even if they are fools, they shall not go astray…but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away (Isaiah 35:8-10).

 
WHY DID JOHN DOUBT (Matthew 11: 1-11)?
 
*John expected all of Isaiah’s prophecy to be fulfilled in the Messiah.
John looked for an authoritarian leader who would restore Israel and punish the wicked.  "“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11).
 
*Jesus was not doing things the way John anticipated.  Doubt occurs when our expectations do not match our circumstances. “When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Matthew 11:1-3).
 
JESUS EMBODIED THE SIGNS OF THE KINGDOM.
 
*Jesus quoted Isaiah and pointed to his miracles as signs that he was the Messiah.  “And Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me’” (Matthew 11:4-6).
 
*Jesus literally became the WAY to God and provides eternal
life.  “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).
 
Don’t miss the signs.  Jesus is the only way to God.
His followers will carry on his work in this world.