The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach 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, 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 gladness 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. … I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.
Isaiah 61:1–3, 10–11
Great Things God Has Done
Early in Jesus’ ministry, he entered the synagogue in Nazareth. He stood up to read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah—he spoke words recorded in our lesson for today. When Jesus finished, he said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, Isaiah was inspired by God the Holy Spirit to reveal what kind of Savior Jesus would be. The prophet saw the Savior’s great work in the future, and he anticipated the amazing blessings the Lord’s anointed one would bring to the world.
As Jesus applied the prophecy to himself, he knew that his Father in heaven had chosen him by anointing him with the Holy Spirit. The anointing was a permanent presence that guided and directed the entire ministry of Jesus. Jesus’ work was preaching and proclaiming; binding up wounds in healing; replacing sadness and despair with hope and joy. He came to comfort God’s people with the good news of salvation that his Father sent him to win for them.
Believers are the Lord’s “planting,” like a grove of oaks in a dry land. Strong and sturdy, they display for all the world to see that the Lord graciously bestows rich blessings on his people. He covers them completely with Jesus’ righteousness and grants them salvation from the captivity of sin and the darkness of death.
Now the acorns of the mighty oaks sprout and grow. God produces the fruits of faith, righteous actions and words of praise in his holy people. They spring up right in front of the whole world so that everyone can see what great things God has done, and lead people everywhere to praise him for his gifts of righteousness and salvation through Jesus.
Lord God, praise and glory to you for the great things you have done! Fill my heart with joy for the righteousness and salvation that are mine by faith in Jesus. Use me to display these great blessings to others around me. Amen.
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