“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn” (Isaiah 61:1-2).
At the time of Isaiah’s prophecy, God’s people were about to suffer great hardship as they were going to be carried away into Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 39:5-7). They would feel great shame for 70 years while suffering in captivity because they would be continually reminded it was because of their own sin and rebellion that they were suffering this captivity. In captivity their hearts would be broken; they would experience great mourning; and, they would suffer great poverty and destitution.
It would be comforting for them to know the day was coming when God would punish their enemies and deliver them from this terrible captivity. It would be “good tidings” to their ears to hear of their deliverance. Their broken hearts would begin to be healed (Isaiah 61:1). They could stop hanging their heads down as they mourned over their past failures which had brought about this captivity upon themselves and embrace God as He consoled them giving them “beauty for ashes”, the “oil of joy for mourning”, and the “garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3).
However, this passage was not just applicable to the people of Isaiah’s day. It was also a prophecy regarding things to come. The above verse was quoted by Jesus at the very beginning of His ministry when He went into a synagogue in the city of Nazareth. As He was in the synagogue he was handed a copy of the book of Isaiah. He opened the book to the above passage and told the people there, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:17-21). Thus, began the wonderful ministry of our Lord which continues today to preach the good tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, and to proclaim liberty to those who have been held captive by sin.
As I read this passage, how true this passage is regarding sin and the deliverance Jesus came to bring from it. Sin holds those who practice it in bondage (John 8:34). It breaks our hearts with guilt and shame when we consider the mess we create in our own lives, in the lives of others, and in our relationship with God because of our failures to stand up against sin (Isaiah 59:1-2). Sin weighs us down with guilt and a “spirit of heaviness” as we think about our weaknesses to fight it.
However, Jesus came to deliver us from the terrible bondage of sin. He brought “glad tidings” of how we can be delivered from the bondage of sin. He said, “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). That truth is Jesus came to pay the penalty for our sins by giving His life for us (John 3:16) and we can experience freedom from sin when we commit our lives to Him by obeying the gospel of Christ (Mark 16:15-16) by believing in Him to be God’s Son and confessing Him as our Lord whom we will follow (John 3:16; Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 10:9-10), repenting of our past sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38), and being baptized for the remission of our sins (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38), and living faithfully unto Him the rest of our lives (Revelation 2:10).
Today, I greatly rejoice that I have had the opportunity to experience that great deliverance from my sin and God gives me the privilege to have a part in sharing the “good news” of Christ with others!
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16).