Isaiah 61:1 ESV
“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.”
The prophecy is about Jesus Christ, for he quoted it about himself, as is recorded for us in Luke 4:17-21. When he had finished mostly quoting Isaiah 61:1-2 he then said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
He was letting the people know that he was the Messiah who was to come. He was the fulfillment of this prophecy of Isaiah.
And this is what Jesus did when he lived on this earth, only the Good News that he brought was for all people, not just for those of poverty level. But the word “poor” can also mean those of contrite heart, those with humble hearts who were and are receptive to the preaching of the cross of Christ.
And what was the good news that he brought? It was that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow (obey) him. For, he said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives (die with him to sin) for his sake, we will have eternal life with him (Lu 9:23-26).
And that is exactly what Isaiah 61 teaches, too. For, Jesus didn’t die on that cross just to forgive us our sins, and just so we could go to heaven when we die. He died to deliver us out of our slavery (captivity) to sin so that we might now become slaves of God and of his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23).
The Scriptures teach us that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. And he shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God so that we would now be God’s possession, and so we would honor God with our lives (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20; Rom 6:1-23; Tit 2:11-14).
When we believe in Jesus Christ with genuine God-persuaded faith, we submit to Christ as Lord, we die with him to sin, we are resurrected with him to newness of life in him, and we live for him in his power and strength. We humble ourselves before Him, and we repent of our sins, and we walk in obedience to his commands (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24).
Isaiah 61:2 ESV
“To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God.”
Jesus Christ was anointed to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, and he did both! He taught salvation from slavery to sin by God’s grace, but he also warned of judgment to come to all who refused him, and for all who would not trust him to be their Lord.
That is what he was doing in the passage in Luke 9 when he said that to come after him we must deny self, die daily with him to sin, and follow him in obedience, and when he said that if we don’t give up our old lives of sin that we will lose them for eternity, but if we do die with him to our old lives of sin, that we will have eternal life with him (Lu 9:23-26; cf. Jn 6:35-58).
Jesus didn’t teach the kind of gospel message that is mostly being taught today. He didn’t teach that we could merely acknowledge him as Lord and Savior with our lips, but that we could continue living for sin and self, and that we would still inherit eternal life with God.
His favor (his grace) to us is not freedom to continue living in sin, only now without guilt. Those who are feeding you this line of thinking are lying to you. For, if we do not die with Christ to sin, and if we do not live to Christ and to his righteousness, but we continue to live for sin and self, we will die in our sins (Rom 6:16; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8).
Isaiah 61:2-3 ESV
“To comfort all who mourn;
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.”
This “mourning” here is not speaking of merely grieving over loss in our lives. This mourning is speaking of having contrite and humble hearts which grieve over our sin with a godly sorrow which leads to repentance.
Jesus will exchange our ashes for beauty, i.e., he will honor true repentant hearts by exchanging our sinful lifestyles for lives committed to Jesus Christ. For, when we believe in him, we are crucified with him in death to sin and we are resurrected with him to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 8:1-17).
Instead of grieving over our sins, we will now rejoice in our newfound freedom, in Christ Jesus, from the weight and from the captivity of sin. Now we will be able to walk in holiness and in righteousness in the power of God. We will be able to live lives which are pleasing to God.
Now we will be able to walk in fellowship with our Lord in harmony with him and with his word. Our desire should now be for him, and his word should be what we crave, not the sinful pleasures of our past life. And we should be living now to please him in all that we do.
Because of God’s grace (his favor) to us, we have the Spirit of God living within us and living the life of Christ out through us, as we yield control of our lives over to the Lord, and as we walk in obedience to his will and to his way for our lives. And our times with him in prayer and in his word are sweet to our souls.
And now we can do what Jesus did in his power and strength. We can share the good news of the gospel as Jesus taught it with the people of this world, and even with people who already profess faith in Jesus Christ but who have bought into a false gospel. And we can lead them to the truth.
And that is because we have the life of Jesus living within us, and we are in sweet fellowship with him, and his desires are now our desires, and we want to do his will, and we care whether or not people hear the truth, and believe the truth, and thus have a true hope of eternal life with God.
Based off the song “Edelweiss”
Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ,
Every morning you greet me.
Meek and pure, truth and light,
You look pleased now to meet me.
Flourishing, growing in Him each day,
Live with Him forever.
Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ,
Blessed to know him forever.
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