1/25/2011

The Renewal of the World (Isaiah 61)

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The Year of God’s Favor/What Only The Messiah Can Do (Isa 61:1-3)

Notice the 3 persons of the Holy Trinity in Isa 61:1 (Spirit, Sovereign Lord {Father}, me {Son}). The Messiah, the Servant of the Lord, the ultimate Preacher, the Redeemer declares that He will create a new people by his Spirit-empowered preaching (Isa 61:1-3, 11:2, 59:21). This is what he will do:

  • Preach good news to the poor
  • Bind up the brokenhearted
  • Proclaim freedom for the captives
  • Release prisoners from darkness
  • Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. This is a new era of blessing (Isa 34:8, 63:4; 2 Cor 6:2), which is the same as “the day of salvation” (Isa 49:8) and “the year of my redemption” (Isa 63:4).
  • Proclaim the day of vengeance of our God. When God delivers his people, he also pours out his wrath on those who oppose him. Jesus closed the book before reading this portion of Isaiah’s oracle (Luke 4:18-20), for the time of healing belongs to Christ’s 1st coming, while the time of judgment awaits Christ’s 2nd Coming (Isa 5:25-29, 63:1-6; Acts 17:31; 1 Th 1:10; Rev 6:15-17).
  • Comfort all who mourn
  • Provide for those who grieve
  • Bestow a crown of beauty instead of ashes
  • Bestow the oil of gladness instead of mourning
  • Bestow a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair

This oracle proclaims freedom from Babylonian exile. Ultimately, it declares the spiritual freedom from the oppression of sin and Satan. Those estranged can find peace with God when the gospel is preached all over the world (Eph 2:12,13, 3:5; 2 Tim 1:10).

God Enables His People to Bless to the World (Isa 61:4-11)

Through the Messiah, the people of God, though poor, will restore the ruins in this world of death (Isa 61:4). God’s people will fulfill their role as priests of the Lord among the nations (Isa 61:5-7; Ex 19:5,6; 1 Pet 2:9), not because they are able to, but because of God’s faithfulness to fulfill his covenant promise (Isa 61:8,9). He does so through imputed righteousness (Isa 61:10,11), which is the essential heart of the New Covenant. When a penitent sinner recognizes that he can’t achieve his own righteousness by works (Ro 3:19-22; 2 Cor 5:21; Php 3:8,9), and repents and calls on the mercy of God, the Lord covers him with His own divine righteousness by grace through his faith.

Practical Application: By his faithfulness, God will establish his priests for the world.

What only God can do: "The Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations" (Isa 61:11).


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