Isaiah 61

To have a firm belief in the message of the Lord, we need a true messenger to come to us. In former days, God spoke through prophets like Isaiah—men who were anointed not with oil as were the kings and priests, but with the Spirit of God Himself. Jesus quoted Isaiah 61 many years after it was written, claiming that He was the true spokesman of God. With the fullest endowment of God’s Spirit, He addressed the poor, the brokenhearted, and the captives, and announced to them good news. His message was an announcement of the greatest liberty, much like the Old Testament Year of Jubilee.
The garments of mourning could now be exchanged for the beautiful headdress of celebration to the praise of our great God. Something solid had been declared—something strong, like a mighty oak of righteousness. Ancient ruins would have a new life. Even strangers and foreigners would have their part to play in the drama of bountiful blessing. All the people of God would be priests and servants of the true and living God, and the wealth of nations would come to God’s covenant people. Shame and dishonor would have to give way to the sounds of everlasting joy that could not be contained.
This day of rejoicing would not arrive through a mere excusing of wrong-doing. God would do it all with justice. The demands of God’s Law would be satisfied. The penalty for our disobedience required a just and holy atoning sacrifice. Christ, the Anointed One, would come and die for our sins. He would not only be the prophet that announced the coming good news, He would also take His place as the sacrifice that satisfied divine justice and reconciled us to God. Everything that was wrong and needed overturning would be overturned, and all that was right would be brought to the most glorious fulfillment.
What would the people of the Lord receive on that great day? They would be clothed with all the goodness that Christ would win for them. They would have eternal salvation as a garment. A bridegroom looks handsome on his great day, and his bride causes all to rise when she enters the sanctuary, but the church as the bride of Christ would be even more beautiful in holiness at the coming of her King. She would be fruitful beyond her wildest dreams for eternity to come. Only God Almighty could accomplish such a great promise.
When Jesus spoke the words of Isaiah 61 in the synagogue in Nazareth, the gathered worshipers were not ready to believe His message. He read the opening words of this chapter and declared the truth to all present on that Sabbath day—that this prophecy was now fulfilled in their hearing. The Messiah had arrived at long last. Perhaps they could not believe that something this good could come from Nazareth.
How will we react when our Lord returns with His glorious kingdom? Those who are watching and waiting with some awareness of what God has promised should greet that day with the greatest joy. Heaven will have come to earth in fullness, and we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. Until then let us hear and proclaim the good news. Let us show our admiration for the work of the Lord by living in righteousness and loving true holiness with great appreciation for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers

O Spirit of the Living God who so filled our great Messiah, we ask that You would fill us, that we might follow this great Man of Blessing. You have fed us and healed us. You use us to rebuild what sin has destroyed. We are priests to You, O God, and we rejoice in You, for You are our portion. You hate injustice, and will keep it far from us on the day of our deliverance, for we are Your blessed offspring. We have been covered with the righteous robes of Your Son. We live and grow in You, O God.