Isaiah 35:1–10

How Great Our Joy!

Laura Miguélez Quay

Linebrook Church

December 11, 2016

 

For a prophet whom God called to preach judgment to a disobedient nation in the hopes that they might repent, as we’ve seen these past few weeks Isaiah sure mingled in a whole lot of hope and joy with his warnings! And this morning is no exception. This hope and joy have centered around the coming Messiah, God’s Anointed One who would come and deliver his people from their sin and their sadness. Last week we saw how by means of the living Branch of Jesse, God would bring life from a seemingly dead stump. Though Jesse, the nation of Judah, was taken into captivity by the Babylonians in 586 BC, this captivity wasn’t the final word for Jesse’s roots were alive and from this stump would spring the Branch of Jesse in the person of Jesus the Christ, who was the Messiah and God’s Anointed.

Isaiah begins this chapter with another similarly sharp contrast. This time it isn’t one of life springing from a dead stump but of life springing from the desert, from the wilderness. It is yet another reminder that as humanity’s Fall had a negative impact upon even on creation, God’s redemption has a positive one not only on his people but on his entire creation. So Isaiah begins by using one of his favorite tools for communicating God’s message, that of personifying nature. Beginning in verses 1 and 2: “1 The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.” Now just two chapters earlier, all of these places were weighed down by their oppression: “The land dries up and wastes away, Lebanon is ashamed and withers; Sharon is like the Arabah, and Bashan and Carmel drop their leaves.”[1] But not so when the LORD arrives! Notice the parallelism as the desert and parched land are paired with the wilderness; and being glad is coupled with rejoicing and blossoming. Deserts are very dry places. Not much is able to grow or survive in these infertile, parched regions. Yet the life-giving Lord will bring fertility out of infertility; He will bring gladness and rejoicing from sadness; He will bring blossoms, new life out of no life.

Exhibit A of all of this is the crocus, a sign even for us as we look forward to spotting the first crocus of Spring now that we’ve experienced our first snowfall and cold front. A crocus tells us that the desolate winter is passing away and spring is on its way. Similarly in verses 1 and 2 we read how the crocus will burst into bloom. Isaiah then continues to associate this blossoming with positive human emotions—here of gladness as this new life that will grow in the desert and wilderness will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. On a side note, the King James Bible—or “King Jimmy” as I like to call it—translated “crocus” as “rose” and some scholars believe that this is how Jesus later came to be referred to as the “Rose of Sharon.” So in our Advent celebration this morning, we lit a pink candle as tradition indicates that this third candle is pink in honor of Jesus, the Rose of Sharon.

Returning to our text, notice in verse 2 how the desert and the parched land, the wilderness, will be given the glory of Lebanon and the splendor of Carmel and Sharon, both of which are in Judea and were known for their fruitfulness and pasturage. And Lebanon was known for its cedars which had been used to build Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem hundreds of years prior to the time in which Isaiah lived.[2] Again, this is a lush picture of life and growth and vegetation and joy bursting from God’s creation. And the reason for this transformation is the LORD whose coming gives life to his entire creation.

And this promise of life on the earth arising from death should give heart to those who are frightened and weak because, again, God is the giver of life which he will share with all of his creation, both animate and inanimate, when he comes. God is a living God who, like Midas whose touch caused all that he came into contact to turn into gold, gives something even better than gold with his touch—God gives his very life. Therefore, verses 3 and 4, “Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.’” In the near future, as the northern kingdom of Israel faced attacks from Assyria and the southern kingdom would later be deported to Babylon, these words offered hope that things wouldn’t always be this way for God is ever on the side of his people. He will not forget them. He will one day right all wrongs. Though his people may now be physically weak—with weak and feeble hands and knocking unsteady knees that give way; and emotionally weak with hearts filled with fear; through his prophet Isaiah, the LORD encourages them to “Be strong” and “not fear.” For though they may not see it now, their God, the only God, will come. And when he does so, he will do so with vengeance, with divine retribution against those who are oppressing them. God will come to save and deliver them.

But these are images offering hope not only to a near future but to a distant and sure future as well. Under God’s new and final creation, which was inaugurated when Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed Branch of Jesse, first came to earth in the form of a man, Jesus of Nazareth, all evils will one day be made right and God’s people will never again have anything to fear. In that day, verses 5–7, God’s presence and touch will not only bring life from death—strength from weakness—courage from fear—and delivery from oppression but also healing as he overturns the effects of the Fall. As the voice ensemble sang this morning: “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.” This is a breath-taking picture not only of life but of life that is vital and vigorous and in abundance. It’s a picture of God’s shalom, his peace, of how things ought to be; of how he intended them to be; of how he will make them to be when he returns once and for all to redeem his entire creation.

This third passage in Isaiah is pointing to the healing of all creation, the new creation, which is to come in the Messianic Age of God the Messiah, God the Christ, God the Anointed One who is Jesse’s Branch, the root from Jesse’s tree. And again that age began with the arrival of King Jesus as a baby in a manger. Now in some traditions (there’s no consensus), this third week of Advent looks to John the Baptist. And there’s a certain appropriateness of John being the focus this week for this kinsman of Jesus, as the voice ensemble also sang, was the one referred to by Isaiah as the one called to prepare the way of the LORD.[3] John knew that Jesus was the promised Messiah and so John preached repentance in his day that all might see their need and turn to Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

Yet dear John, this relative of Jesus who was so grounded in his understanding of God’s Holy Scriptures, our Old Testament, despite his faith also had doubts. And there’s a poignancy in a particular account recorded in both Matthew and Luke’s Gospels.[4] Remember that John the Baptist had been imprisoned when he told King Herod that it was unlawful for him to have Herodias, his brother’s wife.[5] Herodias in particular was upset by this and subsequently “nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But [we’re told] she was not able to, because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. [What is more,] When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.”[6] Yet despite liking to listen to him, Mathew tells us that “Herod [too] wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.”[7] But “Finally the opportune time came” when on his birthday[8] Herod threw a banquet for his “high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee.”[9] Herodias’ daughter came and danced at this affair and, we’re told, “she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.”[10] So Herod offered to reward her for the pleasure she had provided them, “Whatever you ask I will give you,” he told her, “up to half my kingdom.”[11] And, as we know, prompted by her mother,[12] she asked for John the Baptist’s head on a platter—and he didn’t refuse her but had John immediately executed in prison.[13]

Yet before John was executed, knowing that Herod and Herodias wanted him dead but for the time being had thrown him in prison, he sent his servants to ask a burning question of Jesus: “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

What???

Isn’t this the very John who while he was still in his mother, Elizabeth’s womb, leapt for joy upon his mother hearing Mary, the mother of Jesus’ voice?[14]

Isn’t this the very John who “came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near’”[15] that people turn to Christ and have their sins forgiven?

Isn’t this the very John whom Jesus himself confirmed had fulfilled the prophecy and promise in God’s Scriptures from Malachi, “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.”??[16]

So how is it possible that John, whose entire call and purpose in life was to point to Jesus as being the fulfillment of all prophecy, now doubt the only message he had ever proclaimed? How is it possible that he would now need confirmation from Jesus of the truth of the message he had proclaimed about him his entire life? It’s possible because John, though a prophet, was also human. Though he was called by God to proclaim his message, John nonetheless had doubt. Though his faith in Jesus was strong, now, as he was facing death, he nonetheless had doubt.

And wonderful Messiah Jesus doesn’t condemn or scold or rebuke John for his doubt but instead answers the servants sent by frightened, questioning, imprisoned John. And he doesn’t respond by having them tell John, “Yes. Please reassure him that his entire life hasn’t been in vain. Of course I’m the Messiah. Don’t be ridiculous.” No, dear Jesus responds to John by referencing the Holy Scriptures John knew so well. Luke puts it this way—and if you have your bibles open to Isaiah 35, look again at verses 5 and 6 in particular so you’ll better catch the parallels:[17]21 At that very time [Luke says] Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, ‘Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.’” In other words, Jesus is indicating to John that he has performed all of the acts that the Messiah foretold in the Scriptures would perform. And you just know that John was blessed for just as Isaiah had prophesied in this morning’s passage, Jesus the Messiah, God’s Anointed One, had indeed opened the eyes of the blind (you can find instances of this in John 9—and Mark 10—and Matthew 12, just to name a few);[18]—and Jesus the Messiah, God’s Anointed One, had indeed unstopped the ears of the deaf (and you can see this for yourself in Mark 7)[19]—and Jesus the Messiah, God’s Anointed One, had indeed caused the lame to leap like a deer (and you can see not only how Jesus did so in John 5, for example, but later after Jesus had suffered, died, risen from the dead and ascended to heaven, Peter, too, was given this ability to heal a lame man who “jumped to his feet and began to walk…[and] went…into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.”)[20]—and Jesus the Messiah, God’s Anointed One, had indeed caused the tongues of the mute to shout for joy (and you can read about an instance of this in Matthew 9).[21] So I’m certain that rather than stumble upon hearing these words, John the Baptist rejoiced. Even as he had disbelieved for joy when he sent his servants to Jesus, now, having heard Jesus’ response, he believed for joy and was well-equipped and prepared to meet his Maker and Lord.

Picking up on the latter half of verse 6 into verse 7 in Isaiah, we yet again see that not only human creation but all creation will be affected by Messiah’s coming: “Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.” These are all plants that grow in marshes and lakes. So, again, life now thrives where formerly there was only barrenness; water gushes forth where formerly there was only desert; rich vegetation bursts out where formerly there were only desolate haunts. And another possible connection to both Jesus and the Holy Spirit comes from John’s Gospel[22] where it states: “ 37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” Similarly in John 4, in his encounter with the Samaritan woman who had come to draw water from the well, Jesus similarly said, “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”[23] And as we’ve seen before, in the book of Acts the Holy Spirit was sent not only to God’s chosen people of Israel,[24] but also to the Samaritans,[25] and even to the Gentiles.[26] Brothers and sisters, to be given Christ’s Holy Spirit is to be given water from the spring of Christ’s eternal life!

And this glorious coming of God in Christ and his generous giving of himself for us—not only his life but also his Spirit—results in God’s shalom, his peace, being given to those who belong to him as together they walk along his highway, his Way of Holiness, with singing and everlasting joy; with gladness and joy; as sorrow and sighing flee away once and for all, never to return again. Beginning with verse 8: “And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Isaiah is drawing images from practices that would have been known in his day. In ancient times, certain roads between temples were open only to those who were ceremonially pure. Too, wild animals sometimes made travel upon these roads dangerous. But when the redeemed, those whom the Lord has delivered from bondage, are brought into Zion, God’s eternal city, heaven itself, they will no longer be pursued by wild animals but by gladness and joy.[27]

Dear Brothers and sisters, God’s word to all who trust in him is that everlasting joy is coming. So we can take heart even as John the Baptist did—because Scripture is true and it accurately presents God’s words and acts and promises to his people, to all who will receive and believe them as such. God has spoken through his prophets—and through his Son—and through his apostles that we might turn to him and grow to know and love him even as he loves us. And once Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, he sent his Holy Spirit to us, his Church, that he might continue to speak to us and to others through us. For, again, this future coming of the LORD prophesied by Isaiah was inaugurated with Christ’s first coming and will be consummated with his second coming. On that day, the effects of the Fall will be overturned. On that day, as the apostle John reminds us from his revelation,[28] “He will wipe every tear [our] their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things [will have] passed away.” And again, he provides another peek into this glorious future life God in Christ has prepared for us:[29]1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”

Let us pray….

 

May we this morning believe for joy.

May we believe what these wonderful promises of how You desire and are able to bring life from death—strength from weakness—courage from fear—healing from sickness.

Help us to receive the Yahweh touch of eternal life—the Jesus touch of eternal life.

 

[1] Isaiah 33:9.

[2] Some (including Calvin, I believe) have suggested that the mention of Lebanon is a way of indicating that the Gentiles will be among God’s redeemed. I suppose this is possible but I’m not convinced. The picture here seems to be more of overturning the Fall’s effects upon God’s creation.

[3] Matthew 3:3: This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”

[4] Matthew 11:1–6:  After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Luke 7:18–23: 21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

[5] Mark 6:17–29: 17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him. 21 Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” 23 And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” 24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptist,” she answered. 25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29 On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. Matthew 14:1–12: At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet. On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12 John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.

[6] Mark 6:19b–20.

[7] Matthew 14:5.

[8] Matthew 14:6.

[9] Mark 6:21.

[10] Mark 6:22; sa. Matthew 14:6.

[11] Mark 6:23.

[12] Matthew 14:8.

[13] Mark 6:26–27; Matthew 14:9–10.

[14] Luke 1:39–45: 39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

[15] Matthew 3:1; sa Mark 1:4: And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Luke 3:1: He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

[16] Luke 7:27 in fulfillment of Malachi 3:1; Also noted in Matthew 6:10.

[17] Luke 7:21–23. Mark 6:4–6: Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

[18] The blind: John 9:1–7 (the man born blind):  As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. Mark 10:46–52 (Bartimaeus): 46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. Matthew 12:22: Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” Matthew 20:29–34 notes there was a second blind man who was also healed): 29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him; Luke 18:35–43 (blind beggar.).

[19] The Deaf: Mark 7:31–37 (a man who was deaf and mute): 31 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him. 33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. 36 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37 People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

[20] The Lame: John 5:1–9: Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. ; Matthew 9:1–2: Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”; Mark 2:1–5: A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus’s disciples are provided with a similar ability to heal, e.g., Acts 3:1–10: One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

[21] The Mute: Matthew 9:32–33: (a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute): 32 While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. 33 And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”

[22] John 7:38–39.

[23] John 4:14.

[24] Acts 2.

[25] Acts 8.

[26] Acts 10.

[27] Zondervan Study Bible.

[28] Revelation 21:4.

[29] Revelation 22:1–5.

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