“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me,
for the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the LORD’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
3 To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the LORD has planted for his own glory.”
Isaiah 61:13, NLT
Jesus is presently speaking. Isaiah the prophet, has developed an understanding of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus would read from this scroll, and publicly announce that it is speaking exclusively of Himself. He owns it. The kings of Israel had been anointed, and Jesus now wears this anointing. He is the son of David. He is the real King.
There is a unique presence, that has saturated Jesus’ ministry. He is as full of the Spirit as you could possibly get. Jesus has been immersed and soaked in the Spirit. When you touch Him, He spills God all over you.
These verses in Isaiah 61, funnel His presence unto the most unfortunate. There is the poor, the brokenhearted and the prisoner that benefit from His work. The margins of society are suddenly electrified by His presence. He simply lights up those who have been passed over.
These sweet verses in Isaiah 61 carry a gentleness and kindness, to the extent we aren’t used to. But they also carry exceptional authority. The “Isaiah Jesus” declares freedom. A new kingdom has just arrived. An emphasis on “the mourners” here in v.v. 2 —3 gives us a sense of direction. Mourners are sad, they weep over what could have been. All they can really see is a painful loss.
Jesus’ work is “zeroed” into these dear ones who are full of sadness. His work among men will gravitate to these who are in anguish and despairing. But He speaks of a healing or a restoration. Grace has now come, and something quite significant and alive is available. Healing, focused on the “inside” is now actively working us to a wholeness.
There is something more. There is not just a negation of the bad, but a terrific step to what is quite good. His new kingdom has been honed down to work in our confused hearts. This kingdom now enables us to wear crowns. And to be joyous in the middle of sadness.
He really wants us, to exchange our gritty ashes, for beauty. The idea here is elegance, and gracefulness and goodness. He insists on completely removing the darkness and the nastiness. He very much intends for us to become best friends with goodness and kindness.
In verse 3, we are given an understanding of oak trees now planted in good places. We exist now for people to be directed to God’s glory and honor. That dear one, is a great description of us being redeemed ones. We are oaks who declare God’s goodness and healing.