Wednesday, June 24, 2020

For as the earth brings forth its shoots,…so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise spring up before all the nations. – Isaiah 61:11

One of my favorite parts of the Bible is in Luke 4. Shortly after Jesus’ baptism and time spent in the wilderness, he returns to his home town of Nazareth and Luke reports that the following happened… 

…on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“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,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

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. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

– Luke 4:16b-21

The passage that Jesus reads from Isaiah is a description of the Messiah that the Jewish people have been waiting for. So right in the middle of his hometown, in front of a bunch of people who know who he is, Jesus reads the description of the Messiah and says…the wait is over, this is talking about me. 

I always imagine Jesus’ sat at the optimal distance from where he read so his walk back to his seat would elicit the perfect amount of tension before the “today this scripture…” bit.  

So…why am I talking about Isaiah 61:1-2 by way of Luke 4, when today’s verse is from Isaiah 61:11? Good question! 

Between the description of the Messiah in Isaiah 61:1-2 and Isaiah 61:11 (today’s verse), is a description of what God’s people will be able to do because of the Messiah. There is language of rebuilding, freedom, and transformation. The Messiah will make God’s people into who they cannot be on their own. 

We see what Jesus came to do in Isaiah 61:1-2, let’s respond to that with what Isaiah promises God’s people will be able to do in response. Let’s allow Jesus to uproot the sin in our lives so that the goodness God has planted within each one of us is able to grow. Let’s embrace our place as God’s true children, resembling our heavenly Father, giving praise to God, and inviting each person we encounter to take their place within this family. 

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