Isaiah 35:5-6 “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a dear, 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.”
Jesus gave the world a taste of his wonder-working changes when he came the first time. Remember what he told John the Baptist’s disciples to assure them he really was the Christ? “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” I don’t think I need to go into a lengthy review of Jesus’ ministry with you to know what he was talking about.
We may not live in such an age of miracles today. I’m not saying that no one ever experiences a recovery that defies medical explanation. You may know of examples yourselves. But what we see rarely, if ever, matches the frequency and drama of the miracles Jesus performed. CPR and medical procedures may bring a person back who flat lines in the emergency room, but I know of no credible accounts of funerals interrupted when the man in the casket wakes up and joins the people gathered to grieve him. Jesus made just that happen when the city of Nain was carrying the widow’s son out to bury him, or when he brought Lazarus out of his tomb alive four days after his death.
Imagine the scene when Jesus comes again, and entire cemeteries are coming back to life! Imagine your own life with no prescriptions, no handicaps, no painful injuries, no contacts or eyeglasses, no hair falling out where it does belong or growing where it doesn’t, no “battle of the bulge,” no physical imperfections of any sort. Christ’s coming fills us with anticipation because of the changes he makes to our bodies and lives.
Those changes go along with the changes he makes in our living arrangements: “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.” Isaiah is painting a picture of course. It is a picture of a lifeless desert being transformed into a lush and living oasis. An old favorite hymn sings about the difference between the place where we live now, and the place we’ll live when Christ comes: “I’m but a stranger here. Heaven is my home. Earth’s but a desert drear. Heaven is my home.”
That’s not to say the world in which we now live has no beauty. That is not to deny that God has been incredibly gracious in the way this earth takes care of our present needs. But compared to the way it once was, the way it should be, and the home we’ll have when Christ comes? It’s a desert. That’s why Christ’s coming fills us with eager expectations, because of the change he will make to our living arrangements.