Friday, March 28, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 61

It has been a very eventful week both in my life and in the book of Isaiah. Yesterday we saw the wonderful promise of the glory of Zion that is meant as a reward to those who follow Christ. Today, in chapter 61, we will see what it means to have the Lord's favor. It is a very short chapter, but it is one that is full of praise because it is the continuing fulfillment of God's promise to His people. It also is a reference to a message that Christ Himself would later preach.

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
       because the LORD has anointed me
       to preach good news to the poor.
       He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
       to proclaim freedom for the captives
       and release from darkness for the prisoners,

 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
       and the day of vengeance of our God,
       to comfort all who mourn, -- Isaiah 61:1-2

If you have studied the gospels you have seen these verses before. They are found again in Luke 4:16-19. When Jesus gave His first public sermon in His hometown of Nazereth He proclaimed these verses. This was His statement that they prophecy they laid out was fulfilled in Him. Naturally, this was quite a radical stance. We must remember that His audience did not know they were in the Bible. They had heard of these prophecies for centuries, but it was quite audacious for Jesus, whom they thought was just another man, to stand up and proclaim He was the fulfillment of this Scripture. Imagine hearing someone do this in your home church. It would be more than a little off-putting, as it was to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth.

As we go back to the original text in Isaiah we see the author continue to describe the Lord's favor. Much like chapter 60, it is a promise of rest and peace after persecution. It is a promise that states that no matter how big of a mess we get ourselves into, God is more than capable of cleaning it up. We need only believe in Him and there will eventually be rest. Right now, that may seem far off for you or very near for you. Still, we can rely on these promises, as they come straight from the mouth of God.

8 "For I, the LORD, love justice;
       I hate robbery and iniquity.
       In my faithfulness I will reward them
       and make an everlasting covenant with them.

 9 Their descendants will be known among the nations
       and their offspring among the peoples.
       All who see them will acknowledge
       that they are a people the LORD has blessed." – Isaiah 61:8-9


  1. In your own words, what is the Lord's favor?
  2. Why must there sometimes be suffering before this favor?
  3. Why would Jesus be rejected like he was in Luke 4?

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