Is. 35:8 ¶ A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for God’s people;
no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.
Is. 35:9 No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
Is. 35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Isaiah was speaking the word he had received from the LORD; the advent of a new season was coming to the world. The Messiah would come and pave a new pathway to God for his people — a highway known as the Holy Way.
The Messiah would come to provide a pathway for God’s people to be restored as his holy people. God’s grace reaching out to all humanity is drawing us toward him and toward the path. Genuine repentance will get you onto the way which Jesus sanctified by living in the flesh, leaving the holy way paved for you and for me. The early Christians were known as followers of “the way.”
As long as God’s people stay on the way and keep their eyes on the goal — Jesus, himself — they cannot go astray. Enemies cannot find themselves on “the Holy Way” — no beasts will be waiting to attack.
Those on the way will continue their journey, sanctified and being made holy every single step of the way as they get closer and closer to home. There in the distance they will see Zion and with great joy they will sing and be glad, the joy mounting as they approach the goal, and in the final moment, “sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
I never knew my mother’s mother — Grandma Schmidt — very well. She died when I was just three years old. I have very faint memories of visiting her in Calgary, Alberta on my first trip to America. I know that she was sick and that she would allow me to climb into her hospital bed with her and make it go up and down! We stayed with my grandmother as long as we could but it eventually became time to go back home to Germany. We would make our way to New York City and get on a boat (yes, I’m that old) and steam our way back to Europe. About half-way across the ocean my mother received a telegram telling her of the passing of my grandmother. It was a difficult day for my mom.
Later on my mother was able to get some details of those last hours of her mother’s life. Annie Schmidt had been a faithful follower of Jesus Christ who had cultivated a deep prayer life. Her oldest boys didn’t know the Lord and she spent hours and hours praying for them and for their families. She wanted everyone to be on “The Holy Way,” the way she had grown to love. As she neared Zion she seemed to have one foot already there and yet was still on the journey. Throughout the last hours of her life she would awaken and ask those around her if they could hear the music? “What music, mama?” “The music of heaven — can’t you hear them singing?” No one in the room could hear anything but she was approaching Zion the beautiful music and singing could already be heard in a distance and with great joy she continued on the journey until finally everlasting joy was on her head. The cancer was gone and she had “joy and gladness” and her “sorrow and sighing” were things of the past. She had reached the goal. She had been united with her Savior, Jesus Christ.
|Jacob & Annie Schmidt|
We are all invited to be on the “Holy Way.” It’s not an optional journey for certain believers who want to practice a life of holiness — it is THE way provided by Jesus Christ. Jesus came to make humanity holy. He lived in the flesh to bring life to a corrupted and dead humanity and the road to life is the holy one.
John the Baptist came preaching repentance and calling the people to “prepare the way of the Lord.” Jesus brought the new way, a road that provides for victorious living, a holy life, right now, as we travel this journey to Zion. Keep your eyes on the goal and your feet on the path. The Holy Way has come and you and I are invited travel the journey following him all the way until with great music and celebration we enter into Zion.
Lord, may my feet stay on the path and my eyes on the goal. Amen.