Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Promise of His Coming (14)

Isaiah continues to deliver the promise of the coming of the Lord Jesus, with today's promise one that Jesus quotes and applies to himself at the start of his ministry.

The Spirit of the LORD GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favour, and the day of vengeance of our God (Isaiah 61:1-2)

The LORD has anointed me - it's the anointing (of prophet, priest and king) which gives us the title for the hope of Israel, the Messiah, the Christ. God has set apart his servant, sealed him with his Holy Spirit, given him a particular task - the proclaiming of good news.

Good news of freedom, liberation, comfort, joy - and all bound up with the anointed himself. And yet there is bad news mixed in with the good - it's the year of the Lord's favour, and the day of vengeance of our God. I think it was this that John the Baptist, languishing in prison, found so hard to comprehend - that Jesus was proclaiming the good news but the judgement John had prepared the people for had not yet come.

From our perspective, we see that the offer is still being made, the Lord's favour (or grace) is still being offered. But there will come a day when God will have vengeance on his enemies, when the anointed Christ king will reign and defeat his enemies. For now, accept the grace that is offered, and don't take it for granted - as Paul says, 'Behold, now is the favourable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.' (2 Cor 6:2)

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