Isaiah 30:18-211NIV New International Version Translations
18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! 19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Isaiah prophesied in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. He has been called the evangelical prophet, on account of his numerous and full prophesies concerning the coming and character, the ministry and preaching, the sufferings and death of the Messiah, and the extent and continuance of Christ’s kingdom. Under the veil of the deliverance from Babylon, Isaiah points to a much greater deliverance, which was to be effected by the Messiah; and seldom does he mention the one, without alluding at the same time to the other. Isaiah is often so enthralled with the prospect of the more distant deliverance that he often loses sight of that which was nearer, and dwells on the Messiah’s person, office, character, and kingdom.
The Jewish nation is rebuked for seeking aid from Egypt. Isaiah denounces their reliance on Egypt rather than on God because had prohibited such alliances with heathen nations. (1-7) There is judgment from God as a consequence of their contempt for His Word. (8-18) However, Isaiah reminds the Israelites of God’s mercies to his church. (19-26).
Verses 18-19: The words “yet” and ‘therefore’ appear in verse 18. That is similar to verse 16, where ‘therefore’ appeared two times. In verse 16, those words have a connection with judgment and punishment. But after that, God will give to his people kindness and love (verse 18). Verses 18 and 19 start a new section about God’s love for his people. The word ‘kind’ in these verses really means ‘kind when he does not have to be kind’. Christians call that sort of kindness ‘grace’. And because the LORD gives grace, they describe him as ‘gracious’. These verses are probably about the LORD’s return to the Earth. They are a promise for the future!
Verse 20: We need bread and water every day. So, in the past, the Jews needed trouble and pain every day as a punishment. But things will be different! Their Teacher (another name for God) will not hide. He will answer their prayers (verse 19). Some, however, think that the word teacher should be plural, ‘teachers’. Then it would not be a name for God, but it would be a name for his prophets.
Verse 21: The LORD will be close enough so that people can see him with their eyes (verse 20). And he will be close enough so that they can hear him with their ears. The word ‘message’ here links with ‘message’ in verse 12. The people did not listen to it then. But in the future, they will listen. Here we read, ‘This is the way.’ It links with the first part of verse 11.
Items for Discussion
- What are the ways that God directs our path through life?
- In verse 21, we are told that any choice is the correct one – what criteria is assumed for this to be true?
- Why is the “correct path” not always the easiest path?
- How do we know that we are on the path for our life that God wants us to be on?
- How can we be on a wrong path?
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
In many ways, John’s Gospel is different from the other three Gospels. John did not include any stories about Jesus’ birth or his baptism. John only recorded 7 miracles, which he called ‘signs’. John did not include any parables but John recorded many long speeches that Jesus made. John knew about the other three Gospels. But when he read them, John had not yet written his Gospel. He was still just talking to people about his life with Jesus. John agreed that the other Gospels were true accounts.
Jesus was already preaching before King Herod put John the Baptist in prison. The other Gospels did not include an account of this. They recorded much about what Jesus did in Galilee. Also, they recorded what Jesus did in Jerusalem just before his death. But Jesus went to Jerusalem at other times, too. So John provided the facts that were missing from the other Gospels. He used information that they did not have. John’s account did not disagree with the other Gospels. It added different information, so that we can understand more about Jesus.
John also included many physical details. For example, the loaves that Jesus used to feed 5000 people were ‘barley loaves’ (John 6:9). He recorded the distance that the disciples had travelled across the lake (John 6:19). And he remembered how the smell of the perfume filled the house at Bethany (John 11:32). These details do not seem important. But they are memories of a person who was present at these events. So John’s Gospel is not just a spiritual book. It is the personal account of someone who had seen these events.
Verses 1-3 There are only a few verses in the Bible that describe life after death. We do not know all the details about eternal life. But these verses contain wonderful promises about heaven. There will be room for everybody who believes in Jesus. And he will prepare a place for each one of us. Christians do not need to be afraid of death. This is because it will be the beginning of a wonderful new life with Jesus. We know that this is true. He has told us that it is true. We just have to believe him and to trust him. That is all that we need to do.
Verses 4-5 Thomas said the same thing that many people say. Thomas did not know the exact nature of the place where Jesus was going. So Thomas did not understand how he could get there. But Jesus was not referring to a physical journey. He was referring to a spiritual journey which leads to God.
Verse 6 · Jesus himself is the way that we follow to reach God. In other words, he is the only way that we can come to God. There is no other way. Some people say that other religions lead to God, too. This is not true. People cannot come to God by means of a religion, anyway. The only way to God is by means of a person: God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. When we believe in him, we are following the way to eternal life with God. This way is available to every person on the earth. But each person is free to choose it or to reject it.
- Jesus called himself ‘the truth’ because he does more than just to tell us the truth about God. He actually is that truth! ‘The truth’ is not an idea. It is a person: Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
- Jesus is also ‘the life’. He does not just give us life. He shares his life, which is God’s life, with us. When we follow Jesus, we join our human lives with the eternal life of God’s Son.
These words of Jesus are very important. Jesus was not like any other leader of the world’s major religions. He was much more than a great moral teacher. He did not just point towards God. Jesus was ‘the way, the truth and the life’. And Jesus is still ‘the way, the truth and the life’ today.
Items for Discussion
- Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation? Why?
- Why is the “way” so difficult?
- Using the word “truth,” how does Jesus represent the truth about God?
- What are the risks of a journey that is not based on truth?
- In what ways does Jesus share His life with us today?
- Why is so important for each of us to share our life with Christ with others?
- How does someone become a beacon that points to Christ?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations