Isaiah 61:1-3. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
Jesus walked into his hometown synagogue, took the Isaiah scroll, stood up in front of everyone there, and proceeded to read Isaiah 61:1-2. Then he calmly rolled the scroll back up and shockingly declared that he was the fulfillment of this prophecy (see Luke 4:16-21). That he IS the good news of God.
Everybody needs good news. Not just good ideas. Or good thoughts. Or good vibes. We need something good to happen to us. Something that makes everything better.
Jesus Christ is not just the bringer of good news, he IS the good news. God sent Jesus, the messenger, to proclaim the good news of Jesus the Messiah. The good news is the news of Christ’s mission to bind up the brokenhearted, to free the captives, to “open the eyes” of the prisoners, and to comfort the mourners.
Can you see yourself here in Isaiah 61? Do you need the good news of Jesus today? Are you poor? Afflicted? Brokenhearted? Captive? Are you mourning?
I hope so.
Because the good news is only for those who can see that they need it. And we all need it.
Maybe you can’t see yourself as poor, or powerless, or as a prisoner. Maybe you believe you can solve all your own problems. Maybe you’re seeing the trials of life and trusting that you can work hard and prevent misfortune from hitting you.
But when we look deeper into our spiritual reality, we see that we are all poor. We are all afflicted by sin. We are all held captive by the fear of death (Heb. 2:15). We are all prisoners to our own selfishness. We are all mourning the failures of this life we live and the deaths we die.
The big question in times like these is, are you humble enough to hear and receive the good news? The only thing standing in the way of God’s great salvation is you – your pride. Jesus Christ has removed all other obstacles. He stands before you proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor – Jubilee. The 50th year celebration in Israel when all debts were cancelled, all property restored, all slaves set free, and all the people lived in peace and rest.
Jesus Christ stands today proclaiming God’s favor because 2000 year ago he suffered the day of vengeance of our God. It may seem strange that God’s vengeance is part of God’s comfort. Without God’s vengeance sin and death would never be destroyed. But on the cross the sin and death that live inside of each of us was transferred onto Jesus. In his suffering and in his dying he received the vengeance of God against all our evil. He wore our ashes, our mourning, our faint spirit.
But in his resurrection, Christ received the beautiful headdress, the oil of gladness, and the garment of praise. He received God’s eternal life.
And now he offers God’s eternal life to you. Today, if you will hear his voice, and not harden your heart, Jesus Christ stands ready to exchange your life for his. To give you his beautiful headdress instead of your ashes. His oil of gladness instead of your mourning. His garment of praise instead of your faint spirit. He stands ready to make you a mighty oak of his own righteousness.
That’s the good news. That’s jubilee! That’s freedom. Will you humble yourself and receive it?
Or will you refuse Christ choosing to stand before him one day without his covering garments of righteousness? Exposed? Trusting in your own works rather than the good news of his work for you?
“To live is Christ” is possible only when we receive the good news of what Jesus has done for all of us poor and powerless on his cross. Why not turn to him today in faith and find the freedom of his unconditional love and grace?
Are you poor? Are you in need of salvation today?
You in Christ
Are you in Christ? Have you received his good news?
Christ in you
If you have received Christ’s good news, then you are clothed in his righteousness. You are living in the freedom of jubilee. How does change how you face life and death today?