The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,Isaiah 61:1 – 3
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim 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,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
The Israelites are headed for captivity, bondage. Isaiah offers comfort, encouragement because God will call them back home. He will proclaim a Jubilee year – when debts will be cancelled, land returned to their original owners, slaves set free, a new beginning for all!
God will exchange their ashes for beauty, mourning for joy, despair for praise. And He will establish them as oaks of righteousness. (Note: Isaiah had prophesied in chapter 1 about Zion being ashamed for having worshipped as the pagans among sacred oaks. Here he is creating the contrast, that now His people will represent righteousness, and display His splendor as oaks of righteousness).
We know from Luke’s writings that the “me” in this passage is Jesus himself. He is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. Interesting that we see the Trinity here, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me” – Spirit, Sovereign Lord, and me (Jesus!)!
During this season of Advent, we look back on the Messiah – the joy of His coming, his ministry of healing and restoration. He set people free! And He built His church through which His ministry continues. Our joy is sustained because we know there is another Jubilee coming! All creation will be set free, and God will establish His new heaven and new earth.
In the meanwhile, our ministry is that of the Messiah’s … to bring good news to the poor, to minister grace to the brokenhearted, to show captives how they may be set free! It is our privilege to continue to share the joy of Jesus’ birth, the joy we have found in our relationship with Him!
It’s the third Sunday of Advent (2020). We light the candle of JOY!
And we pray … come, Lord Jesus! Your Kingdom come!
Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver,Charles Wesley, 1744
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.
As you pray today, thank God for setting you free from sin and death! Thank Him for the joy of your salvation! Ask Him to help you be His hands and feet – ministering to the poor and brokenhearted – always pointing others to true freedom – the freedom we have in Christ!