Isaiah 42:161NIV New International Version Translations
46 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
Isaiah seems to launch out yet further into the prophecy of the Messiah and his kingdom using Cyrus as the opposite of what the Messiah will be. This prophecy as other similar prophecies of Christ, are often couched in types of other people such as David and Solomon. Here we find:
- A prophecy of the Messiah’s coming with meekness, and, at the same time, with power to do the Messiah’s work (v. 1-4).
- The commission, once given, coming directly from God our Father (v. 5-9).
- The joy and rejoicing of this good news which should be our response (v. 10-12).
- The wonderful success of the gospel’s message for the overthrow of evil (v. 13-17).
- The rejection and ruin of the Jews for their continued unbelief (v. 18-25).
Having said in the prior verses what God would do to His enemies, God now speaks of His people. He would lead them to their own land, as a blind people that needed a guide, and would remove whatever obstacle there was in their way. Blind is applied to his people in captivity, as being ignorant, after their seventy years’ exile, to know the way to return to their own land. If we apply this to the people of God under the New Testament, as a prophecy as we are led to conclude, then it denotes that Christians will feel their need of a leader, counselor, and guide; and that God, as a military leader, will be leading them all in a way which they did not know, and remove all obstacles from their path.
When they were ignorant what course or direction to take or in a path think of, God led in a way which they did not know. They did not mark out this course for themselves; they did not develop the plans of life which they came ultimately to pursue; they have been led, by the providence of God down a different path by the Spirit of God.
Darkness, in the Scriptures, is used to describe ignorance, sin, adversity, and calamity. Here it seems to indicate that the events of life will be filled with calamities, persecutions, and trials. God is going to make those events which seemed to be adverse and calamitous, the way He furthers His own cause, and use these events to promote the spirit of the true religion, and the happiness of His people.
Items for Discussion
- Look carefully at the verse above and pick out exactly what things God will do for someone who cannot see?
- Who do you think the blind are and why are they blind?
- Why do you think it might be good to sometimes compare Christ against others mentioned in Biblical history?
- God is a mystery, we do not see Him but see His world and His influence – So why should we trust that God will do what is in the above verse?
- There is a requirement for us to receive these benefits, to “Abide.” What does that mean to you?
- Hints: accept or act in accordance with (a rule, decision, or recommendation); synonyms: comply with, obey, observe, follow, keep to, hold to, conform to, adhere to, stick to, stand by, act in accordance with, uphold, heed, accept, go along with, acknowledge, respect, defer.
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
John tells us in chapter 15 and 16 what Christ was telling His disciples at the close of the last supper, the night in which he was betrayed. It can be thought of as Christ’s farewell sermon. Now that He was about to leave them, John is pointing out:
- The apostles would be tempted to leave him, and return to their Jewish roots again; and therefore Christ tells them how necessary it is that they should by faith, adhering to him and abide in him.
- Christ’s disciples would be tempted to grow apart one to another; and therefore He presses it upon them to love one another, and to keep up that communion when He was gone.
- They would be tempted to shrink from their apostleship when they met with hardships; and therefore He prepared them to bear the shock of the world’s ill will against them.
There are four words to which Christ’s farewell message can be reduced; 1. Fruit (v. 1-8). Love (v. 9-17). Hatred (v. 18-25). The Comforter (v. 26, v. 27).
In verse 6, Jesus warned what will happen to false Christians. But immediately, He reminded us of his wonderful promise. This promise is for all of us who remain in a close relationship with Him. He will do whatever we ask for in Hs name. And because we are united with Him, our prayers will not be selfish. We will want to ask for only those things that He wants, too. His desires will become our desires. He will grant our requests. And the things that we do on His behalf will bring great glory to God.
Items for Discussion
- What does a Christian life look like when the person “remains in Christ?”
- What type of life would you expect in a Christian to assure themselves that “Christ’s words remain in them?”
- Why would the above two attributes of a Christian life, “Abiding in Christ” and “Christ’s words abiding in them” assure that our prayers were going to be answered?
- How is Christ, in this verse, addressing one of the greatest risks to mankind, complacency within their faith?
- Discussion Challenge
- How does Communion help us with one’s objective to abiding in Christ?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations