Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah. Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.
I love this chapter! Before we look at today’s text we must start in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 4. Jesus has just spent 40 days in the desert, being tempted by the enemy. He kicks the devil to the curb each time He is tested. Now, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14), with a sense of true victory, and preparation for the ministry that is ahead He walks into the synagogue in his Nazareth hometown. Cue the epic music score.
In each synagogue, there were weekly, scheduled readings of the Torah and the Prophets. At that time it was called the “Haftarah.” These were preassigned for a given date. Jesus is so incredible! Because He grew up in this synagogue, He entered the house of worship knowing that a specific text would be the scripture reading of the day! And, He knew He would be chosen to read from the ancient parchments. What scrolls was He handed to read at His hometown synagogue that day? Isaiah 61!
“The Spirit of the LORD God has taken control of me! The LORD has chosen and sent me to tell the oppressed the good news, to heal the brokenhearted, and to announce freedom for prisoners and captives. This is the year when the LORD God will show kindness to us and punish our enemies. The LORD has sent me to comfort those who mourn, especially in Jerusalem. He sent me to give them flowers in place of their sorrow, olive oil in place of tears, and joyous praise in place of broken hearts. They will be called “Trees of Justice,” planted by the LORD to honor his name.” (v1-3, CEV).
What usually happened following the reading of the Prophets is that the reader would talk, or preach, giving His interpretation of the text He just read. What was Jesus’ sermon after reading Isaiah 61?
“He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” (Luke 4:20-21, NLT).
God sent Jesus to preach, to heal, to bring freedom, to pardon, to announce His grace, to comfort, to care, to bring flowers and messages of great joy!
And He continues to do so. Thankfully, He is no longer confined to a synagogue of unbelievers in His hometown. His offer of joy is available to us all. No matter our geography, race, culture or moment in time.
What is our response? To receive this beautiful gift of healing and freedom! And to offer Him praise!
If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.
(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.