to open the eyes of the blind, to bring prisoners out of the dungeon, and those sitting in darkness out from the prison house.
Zechariah 12:1) (Cheyne).
I. THE RELATION OF GOD To THE WORLD. He is the God - the only God (cf. Psalm 85:9). He can admit no rival; he stands in a unique relation to the world - is alone to be worshipped. He is the Creator: his work is the heaven and the earth, and the people. The breath of life is by him breathed into his creatures. The universe is entirely subject to him, and he has the right to appoint whom he will to be the minister and channel of his favours to men. To the appointed Messiah, then, due reverence is to be paid.
II. HIS COVENANT WITH ISRAEL AND MANKIND. There is a covenant with the chosen people, and through them all nations are to own him as God. Generally the righteousness of God stands for the goodness of God, manifested to his world in the whole scheme and agency of salvation. "I have done this as a righteous and just God, and in accomplishment of my righteous purposes. I am the just moral Governor of the universe, and have designated thee to this work, in the accomplishment of those purposes."
III. THE MEDIATOR OF THE COVENANT. God holds his hand in his. What strength, then; what grace and Divine communication must there not be with the Mediator, who will be guided and guarded, will be visibly in the enjoyment of the Divine favour! And so the Mediator himself is called a Covenant - the personal realization of God's thought and purpose to the people - the embodiment of that spiritual relation announced in vers. 30, 31, etc. Another of his names is Light. Being Intelligence in himself, the Wisdom of God, he will diffuse it among the nations: bringing men out of their spiritual blindness and the prison-house and confinement of spiritual distress (Psalm 107:10; Job 36:8). "Such is the freedom the gospel imparts; nor can there be a more striking description of its happy effects on the minds and hearts of darkened and wretched men" (1 Peter 2:9).
IV. THE SOLEMN ASSURANCE. Jehovah now turns to the people, and assures them that he is the only true God, and jealously claims a sole and undivided homage. He is "the Eternal." The name includes "the unique reality, and power to confer reality, of the Divine Being." His glory he will not give to another; for were such a God's prediction to fail, he would sink to a lower level than the imaginary deities, who have, at any rate, not deluded their worshippers. But the earlier predictions have been fulfilled -those against the Babylonians or Assyrians; and the new things, later and more splendid - the deliverances of the Jews - will in like manner be fulfilled. The plant is contained in the seed; the event in the mind; the fulfilment in the Word of Jehovah (Isaiah 9:8; Isaiah 55:10, 11; Amos 3:7). - J.
To open the blind eyes.
I. THE CALAMITY OF SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS WHICH HAS OVERTAKEN OUR RACE. You would very greatly aggravate the evil of natural blindness by dilating on the numerous and diversified beauties of nature, for the poor blind man sees none of these things! But how much greater is the calamity by which the soul is excluded from the sight of the glory of God! There is very high criminality connected with the origin of this spiritual blindness. The Divine displeasure never arises without a cause, or beyond the cause. What, then, must have been the cause which led to such a fatal condition? The incontestable and melancholy fact is, that man has sinned! As there was high criminality connected with the origin of this blindness, so there is high criminality connected with the continuance of it. If men, struck with this blindness, were to humble themselves on account of it, it would be some alleviation of the matter; but, generally, I find men taking advantage of their darkness, and receding further and further from God; and, indeed, many of them seem never to be so completely happy as when they have most effectually succeeded in banishing all thought of God. This spiritual blindness is so complete that it leads a man to pervert the very instruments which God has appointed for its removal. Take an observation of the state of mankind around us, and see whether or not it sustains this description.
II. THE GREAT ORDINANCE OF JEHOVAH FOR THE REMOVAL OF THIS CALAMITY. See what light Christ has thrown on the character of God! Consider the light which He has thrown on the providence around us. The difficulties of the virtuous, and the shouting success of the villainous, almost seemed, to conscientious men, to indicate very bad management on the part of God; and they have had recourse to a great many theories to explain it. Christ has thrown light on the afflictions which happen to the people of God. And on that immortality which is before us. And on the spiritualities which are required within us.
III. THE GRANDEUR OF THAT OPERATION OF THE SPIRIT BY WHICH THE REMOVAL OF THIS SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS IS EFFECTED.
(J. E. Beaumont, M. D.)
(J. E. Beaumont, M. D.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
I. CONSIDER WHO IT IS THAT SENDS JESUS CHRIST TO ACCOMPLISH THE LIBERATION OF THE SONS OF MEN, because much will depend upon the Liberator's credentials, the authority by which He is warranted, and the power by which He is hacked. We sing for joy of heart as we see that the Infinite God Himself commissioned the Lord Jesus to be the Deliverer of men; and He did this —
1. In His capacity as Creator (ver. 5).
2. He also describes Himself as the life-giver (ver. 5).
3. The faithful God. "I the Lord have called Thee in righteousness" (ver. 6) that is to say, the God who sends Christ the Saviour is not one who plays with words, and having given a promise to-day, retracts it to-morrow.
4. The everblessed sender of the Lord Jesus is omnipotent. "And will hold thine hand, and will keep Thee." By which is meant that God will give to the Mediator all His power. Christ is the power of God.
II. THE SENT ONE HIMSELF.
1. Jesus is a chosen one. "Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth" (ver. 1).
2. Jesus is anointed to this work. "I have put My Spirit upon Him." The Holy Spirit is the greatest of all actors in the world of mind. He it is who can illuminate, persuade, and control the spirits of men.
3. The Redeemer is spoken of as being gentle and lowly of heart, which should commend Him much to every lowly and contrite spirit (ver. 3).
4. The Christ who has come to save the sons of men is persevering to the last degree (ver. 4).
III. THE WORK ITSELF. The Messiah's work of grace is divided into three parts.
1. To open the blind eyes. Man's understanding is perverted from the knowledge of God, from a true sense of sin, from a realisation of Divine justice, from a right estimate of salvation. The understanding, which is the eye of the soul, is darkened. But when the anointed Saviour comes, He removes the scales of our mental ophthalmia, and in the light of God we see light.
2. To bring out the prisoners from the prison. Habits of sin, like iron nets, surround the sinner, and he cannot escape their meshes. Faith in the Lord Jesus is the end of bondage and the dawn of freedom.
3. Bringing them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house. This we will refer to those who are truly emancipated, and yet by reason of despondency sit down in the dark dungeon.
IV. WHAT IS THE DESIGN OF GOD IN ALL THIS? "I am the Lord: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another" (ver. 8).
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
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