In the last post, I mentioned the time that Jesus was explaining why He taught in parables and he said, “I am speaking to them in parables so that they won’t understand Me, won’t repent, and thus won’t be saved.”
Which seemed kind of rough, until you realize that the “religious” folk were ridiculing all the miracles he performed as being something less than miraculous. But then they took a different approach and claimed that our Lord’s miraculous power was actually from the devil. In other words, in their minds, Jesus was demon possessed.
The experts in the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and, “By the ruler of demons he casts out demons” —Mark 3:22
In John’s Gospel, the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ citation from Isaiah 6 are different. Jesus has just made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The Father spoke from heaven to the Son. Some thought it was merely the sound of thunder; others thought that an angel had spoken to Jesus. Even though Jesus had performed many signs among them, the Jews as a nation still refused to believe. John interpreted their unbelief as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 6:10. They didn’t believe because they couldn’t believe. Their eyes were judicially blinded, and their hearts were hardened. They had seen and heard more than enough evidence to prove that Jesus was the promised Messiah, but they refused to believe in Him. The time for their national repentance had ended. Soon, they would cry for Pilate to crucify Jesus, and He would die, bearing our sin and our punishment. Not long after this, Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Romans.
Paul did not come to Rome to preach the gospel to Gentiles for the first time. There was already a church there, a church Paul had already written to (we know it as the Book of Romans).. Now our first thought would be that the Lord sent Paul to Rome to share the gospel to Caesar and his household. That would the logical presumption, however, in addition to this, I believe Paul was sent to Rome to present the gospel more clearly to the Jews so they would be without excuse for rejecting it. Now they have heard, and they have reacted to the gospel. They had the same response as those in Jerusalem and elsewhere: yes, a few have believed, but most have rejected the offer of salvation in Jesus, the promised Messiah. According to Isaiah, because the nation has not turned, the sentence of judicial blindness has been imposed on the Jews.
You will be shocked and amazed! You are totally blind! They are drunk, but not because of wine; they stagger, but not because of beer. For the Lord has poured out on you a strong urge to sleep deeply. He has shut your eyes (the prophets), and covered your heads (the seers). To you this entire prophetic revelation is like words in a sealed scroll. When they hand it to one who can read and say, “Read this,” he responds, “I can’t, because it is sealed” —Isaiah 29:9-11
I will lead the blind along an unfamiliar way; I will guide them down paths they have never traveled. I will turn the darkness in front of them into light, and level out the rough ground. This is what I will do for them. I will not abandon them. Those who trust in idols will turn back and be utterly humiliated, those who say to metal images, ‘You are our gods.’ ‘Listen, you deaf ones! Take notice, you blind ones! My servant is truly blind, my messenger is truly deaf. My covenant partner, the servant of the Lord, is truly blind’” —Isaiah 42:16-19
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Story of Acts