Scripture: Isaiah 61: 1-9
Key verses: (1-2a) “The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, . . .”
Reflection: Does the scripture text today sound familiar? It is the scripture that Jesus read in the synagogue on the Sabbath day in his home town of Nazareth in Luke 4:16-20. On that day Jesus declared that this scripture was fulfilled in him. He was the prophet, the messiah, the servant, that would save his people.
At the time of Isaiah, there was a prophecy of a servant who would bring good news to the oppressed and brokenhearted All those held captive would be set free and God’s favor would return to them after they had suffered through the trials of exile. God would lift someone up to the lead them out of misery. This servant would be committed to be an “agent of God’s mercy” restoring justice and peace. The people would work together to repair all that was ruined. Confusion and shame would go away. Live would be renewed. This promise and the hope of a messiah was very strong throughout the history of Israel and it continues today.
Destruction plagues our world because of power struggles, politics, greed and hatred. There are countries, cities and communities that long for restoration and relief. There is also the fallout of personal destruction – behaviors and choices that crush the spirit and destroy lives. This is one reason why this text today, particularly verses 1-3 resonate with so many. There is still a need for the hope of messiah, a servant of God, who will lift all people out of oppression, heartache, and imprisonment of all kinds. The servant songs of Isaiah remind us that the God who saved God’s people centuries ago continues to be at work in our world today.
Prayer: Merciful God, we give thanks for the servant who we know in Jesus Christ. Anointed by God, he continues to bring good news to the oppressed and bind up the brokenhearted. Help us to join in his healing work in the world as we share his love with others. Make us servants of his saving grace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].