These words were originally applied to the people of Israel to prepare them for the Messiah’s coming. That coming was not to be compared to anything else they had known in their history. The past events would not be a guide when it came to understanding the Messiah and his mission. It would be an altogether something new. That is not to say that the words of the Prophets would not be useful in preparing them for what was coming. It’s just that His coming would be so out of the ordinary nothing could have prepared them for it.
The Gospel accounts demonstrate how this was so. Israel was not prepared for the unique way Messiah came into the world. There was simply no way they could have been prepared to receive the Messiah as a Babe born in a stable in Bethlehem. Except for the angelic host making it known to shepherds at night, there would have been no one that would have found out about it. And no one was prepared for the fact that he grew up in Nazareth in Galilee; a small, insignificant town that was despised in his day. This is despite the fact his ministry wholly ignored what everyone expected the Messiah to do—to crush the mighty Roman Empire under his feet and establish Israel as the nations’ head again.
Wherever and whenever Messiah does his work today, these words ring true. Every time he has moved in my life there was a newness about it that made it unlike anything merely repeated from the past. It could have been prefaced by the words, “Look, I am doing something new; even now it is coming” (Isaiah 43:19). That’s because every time he works; it brings newness of life. There is a surprising freshness in his work that renews every facet of our being.
Recently, through a book I have been reading, I became aware that my private devotions with the Lord had become more routines rather than fresh encounters. And I wasn’t even aware of it, but just kept faithfully plodding along, praying and reading my Bible, unaware that Father had so much more for me. The Holy Spirit began to challenge me to ask the Father to make my devotions times of fresh encounters with Him rather than mere routines. And the Father answered in spades. I can’t really say that I am doing anything differently. There is simply a freshness that His Spirit has supplied that has renewed my ordinary devotions so that everything appears fresh and new. And this is what I mean when I say Messiah is always doing a new thing. He is always taking familiar things like faithful devotions and filling it with newness so everything appears new.
One of the promises given to believers during the Church Age is that in response to true repentance, He would send “times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:20). Are you experiencing the freshness of his presence so that all things have become new? While He hasn’t promised to make all new things, he has promised to make all things new.