365 days with Newton

18 JUNE

Providential preparation

‘The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.’ Isaiah 40:3–4
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Luke 2:1–20

A way was prepared for the Messiah in providence:
(i) by Alexander’s conquests, which spread the knowledge of the Greek language among many nations—and the Scriptures being afterwards translated into Greek became more common. An expectation of some Great Deliverer was raised far and wide, and the Messiah became in this sense the desire of many nations.
(ii) by the establishment and growth of the Roman power, which was in its height at our Lord’s birth; the principal part of the then known world was united in one empire—and as all the provinces were connected with Rome, an intercourse was opened on every side for the reception of the truth.
(iii) by John’s ministry and its effects. These were so great that John himself seems to have been astonished at the numbers and character of those who came to his baptism.
It was to Judea our Lord came, and there especially were the great obstructions to be removed. For he came:
(i) to exalt the valleys—to preach the gospel to the poor, to fill the hungry with good things, to save the chief of sinners, to open the kingdom to publicans and harlots; likewise to correct the low thoughts the Jews had indulged of the law of God, the office and kingdom of the Messiah.
(ii) to bring low every mountain and hill—to detect the wickedness and confound the pride of the Pharisees and rulers, to pour contempt on all human glory, and to show that the το ὑψηλον of man is abomination in the sight of God (see chapter 2[verses 11, 17], or 10:4–6).
(iii) to rectify the perverse disposition of the hearts of men—to soften and subdue their spirits and to make them willing in the day of his power.

FOR MEDITATION: ‘And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it’ (Isaiah 40:5).

SERMON SERIES: MESSIAH, NO. 2 [4/4], ISAIAH 40:3–5

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