The Year of the Lord’s Favor

61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me

to bring good news to the poor;[a]hugging-jesus
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;[
b]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.[
c]
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.

 

hands-1569025This has to be one of my favourite scriptures in the whole bible. I feel it encompasses so much of the biblical narrative and all that is on Gods heart for the world. It is the scripture Jesus uses at the beginning of his ministry when he gets up to speak in the temple, making it so central to his message of the gospel. He reads it out and then goes on to say that this scripture is being fulfilled before their very eyes! The reason I love this is that it also defines our own mission in this world to bring good news to the poor.   To bring freedom to the oppressed and the setting free of those that are bound up in metaphorical chains. I have always particularly loved the idea of a beautiful headdress instead of ashes and joy instead of mourning. It speaks to me about being counter-cultural to the difficult and trying experiences of life that happen around us. We are called to be restorative in all that we do, meaning that if you find yourself in the midst of darkness, you make a light. If you are found in a terrible wasteland, you plant flowers. If you find yourself in a depressing and bleak situation, you respond with celebration and joy. As Gods people we should be the antithesis of negativity, the opposite of death and decay. We are light, salt, the blessing of God, the bringers of good news. It is a tall order for us to fulfill as true followers of Jesus but it is a path we must tread. It should be our default to ask the Lord in every situation we find ourselves, how can we bring life?……how can we rebuild ruins?……how do we live out Godly joy here in all its true colour and brightness?

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