Thursday, July 30, 2015: Isaiah 60-62; Jn. 1
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;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
4 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.
Were you surprised to read these words? Did they feel familiar, and yet somehow misplaced? Most of us remember these words as those which Jesus read in the synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4). Luke tells us that Jesus was reading from the scroll of Isaiah. While Isaiah spoke words of prophecy to the dispersed and re-gathered Jews and they were met with joy; the same words coming from Jesus (remember, ‘today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’) were met with a bit more controversy. Could it be that in the first hearing, it was the people who were oppressed, but in the second they were the oppressors?
One of our duties as followers of Christ is proclaim (through our lives!) good news of freedom, justice, liberty, provision. The only way to do this with integrity is to actually live out these words in action, even when those actions seem to go against the flow of the common culture…even when it is inconvenient, or expensive, or unpopular. Are you ready to do that in your life? What gospel are you proclaiming with your hands and feet?