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April 10, 2022

This week we finished the book of Isaiah by reading chapters 54-66. Today we are going to focus on Chapter 61 verses 1-3.

“1The 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]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    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.”

Why are these verses so important? Because Jesus began his ministry by reading these verses in the synagogue. Luke 4:16-20 says,

16 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.”[f]

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.”

Isaiah foretold the ministry of Jesus Christ 700 years before Christ was born. After Jesus was baptized, had fasted in the desert for 40 days, and started to perform miracles, he went into the synagogue and with this reading from Isaiah, he launched his ministry.

Let’s take a closer look at these verses.

Jesus was appointed by God and then anointed by the Holy Spirit. Verse 18 says, “he has sent me…” which means he was appointed to do this job. Verse also 18 states that he was anointed. Jesus said he had the Spirit of the Lord on him and was “anointed.”  

What was Jesus appointed by God and anointed by the Holy Spirit to do?

  1. Proclaim the good news to the poor. The word proclaim can also meant preach. In the Greek, the “good news” meant the death, burial, resurrection and witness of Jesus Christ. Poor meant both poor physically and spiritually. Thus, Jesus was sent to preach about salvation to the poor physically and spiritually.
  2. Proclaim freedom for the prisoners. The word freedom in the Greek meant to cancel a debt or pardon someone. Jesus was sent to preach about cancelling the debt of those in prison.
  3. Give recovery of sight for the blind. This means exactly what is says.  
  4. To set the oppressed free. He would free those who were downtrodden.

In verse 19, Jesus says he was “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” The meaning of this goes back to Leviticus 25:8-55 and means the year of Jubilee.  God not only had a sabbath day for the people, he had one for the land as well. The people were to work land and reap what they sowed for 6 years. In the 7th year they were to give the land a rest. Their families, servants and workers could eat from the field if it had any yield, but that was it. After 7 sabbaths, which was 49 years, there was a year of Jubilee. On the 10th day of the 7th month on the Day of Atonement, there would be a trumpet that would sound. Everyone knew what this meant. At that moment, all debts were forgiven and slaves were set free. Everyone was supposed to go to their own family’s property.

In verse 21 Jesus said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled…”

After reading the four Gospels, we know that Jesus did full this Scripture. Jesus is our Jubilee. We all have debts (sins), and he came to set us free from those sins. John 8:34-36 says, “34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Are you free? If not, please pray that Jesus will free you from the bonds of sin. There is no better freedom.

We get to start a new book of the Bible. We will be reading Matthew 1-9 this week.

2 thoughts on “Freedom

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