LIVING on MISSION with GOD so that HE gets the GLORY
August 5 Bible Reading: Isaiah Chapters 61-63
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." (Isaiah 61:1-3)
Although these are words of prophecy spoken by God’s servant Isaiah, the words take on greater meaning when Jesus reads from this section (vs.1-2a) during His visit to the synagogue in Nazareth and closes His reading with the statement, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Thus, He applies these verses to Himself. This prophecy was literally fulfilled in the ministry of Christ. Isaiah is included (62:1) as a shadow or forerunner of Jesus.
Jesus Christ was anointed with the Holy Spirit at His baptism and His earthly ministry was concerned with bringing the good tidings of salvation to the poor, binding up the brokenhearted, proclaiming liberty to sin’s captives, and opening the prison of those who were bound. The reference to “liberty” and “opening of the prison” allude to the Year of Jubilee, during which all debts and obligations were erased (Lev. 25:8-10).
These words of prophecy also describe the character and office of the Messiah. We should note that Jesus ended the quotation with the words “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” because what follows, “the day of vengeance of our God” will not be fulfilled until His Second Coming. At His glorious appearing He will proclaim the day of God’s judgment. Then He will comfort those who mourn in Zion, granting to them a garland in place of ashes on their heads, the oil of joy instead of mourning, praise instead of a spirit of heaviness. His chosen people will then be called trees of righteousness, planted by the Lord, and bringing glory to Him. They will rebuild the cities of the Promised Land that have lain in ruins.
What were God’s purposes for anointing Jesus with His Spirit? We can see that there are six purposes from Isaiah 61:1-3:
- To preach good tidings: This refers to the proclamation of the gospel and to the priority of evangelism.
- To bind up the brokenhearted: This refers to placing the ‘balm of Gilead’ (Jeremiah 8:22) to heal the hearts that have been broken by sin and guilt.
- To proclaim liberty: This refers to freeing slaves in captivity of sin, addictions and sickness.
- To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord: This refers to announcing the “year of the Lord’s favor”. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus inaugurated the “day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2) in which the gospel is preached all over the world, and those who are bound in sin and sickness can be liberated through Him (Eph. 2:12, 13; 3:5; 2 Tim. 1:10).
- Christ would comfort all that mourn after His great and awesome judgments: (To be fulfilled in the future.)
- Christ would exchange the evidences of mourning with the evidences of rejoicing: (Also to be fulfilled in the future.)