Yesterday we spent time reflecting on God’s provision for us and the rest of His creation. Because we can trust Him to meet our needs, we are free to seek after His kingdom and make it a reality in our lives. Today’s passage fleshes out what Christ’s kingdom looks like.
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4: 16-21
When I was planning the topics for these posts I was getting concerned because focusing on the words of Christ would necessitate drawing strictly from the New Testament. I was not at all sure that I could manage a series of posts without dipping into the Old Testament and was already trying to figure an escape route back to the Isaiah. Turns out, I didn’t need to because Jesus Himself quoted from Isaiah, as evidenced by this passage and so we get the best of both worlds – a beautiful prophesy from my favorite book of the Bible and Christ’s fulfillment as He read those words in the temple. This scene gives me goose-bumps as I imagine the young carpenter entering the temple, asking for a scroll, and reading the words that would change the world – words that God had promised His people hundreds of years ago were now fulfilled in the Word made flesh.
I had originally planned to talk about each aspect of the prophecy and how Christ fulfilled it both in His earthly ministry and in His spiritual one as He continues to draw our hearts to Him. However having just re-read Isaiah 61 in it’s entirety and being moved to tears, I think the prophet-poet’s words would be more impactful than any of my own. This prophecy was written to the Israelites who starting to return back to their homeland after being captives in Babylon. They had been through horrific warfare, destruction, disease, and enslavement by a foreign power, and they were coming home to ruins. Throughout this time God had promised His people that He would heal them and their land. This chapter is a beautiful description of the future God has planned for those who trust Him. Though it is long, I hope you will take some time to read it in its entirety. It cannot fail to bring comfort, hope, and great rejoicing for when our Redemption draws nigh and His kingdom comes.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
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,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 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.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
8 “For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
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.”
10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.
Blessings to you,