Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Isaiah 61:1-4 is the passage read by Jesus in the synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4). He applies this passage to himself. Jesus, not Isaiah, not the people of Israel, not even the Christians, but Jesus, is the fulfillment of this passage. What does he do?
Jesus is the one who brings hope to the poor. He shows the dignity of being a human, created in the image of God. He cares for rich and poor alike, not making a distinction because of their income. He brings grace and forgiveness to all, even though none could ever purchase it. This is good news. Our standing before God has nothing to do with our income.
Jesus heals broken hearts. Sometimes we can bring some healing and cheer to some people who are troubled. But Jesus is the one who can work permanent healing. He is the one who can make us whole. He does this, again, by showing forgiveness and grace. Here is the healing that those who have been broken need.
Again, Jesus is the one who sets captives free. The Bible portrays us all as in bondage to sin and guilt. We are all enslaved to the master we serve. He is the one who can transfer that ownership to God, the good master of all, who creates and sustains everything by his good pleasure. Many generations of Christians have confessed that they are free in Christ, even if they are in chains and prison.
Jesus is the one who proclaims God’s favor. He is the one who breaks the world’s bondage to sin and death. He is the one who shows himself as the Lord of resurrection. And yes, there is a day of God’s vengeance. All who reject the life Jesus gives will have to work out life on their own terms. This will not come out well for them. But for all who mourn over their sin, they will be lifted up and crowned by God himself.
Here is the good news of God. As Jesus said, it was fulfilled in his person.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.