Archive for August 17th, 2017

This chapter continues the positive expectation of the coming restoration of Jerusalem into a time of abundance and prosperity – but now introduces the figure of a person who will be the representative of Yahweh and establish his Kingdom on Earth. The figure is not identified but it is clear that he is anointed by God – the Spirit of God rests upon him in a way which empowers him to bring transformation – and he is authorised to act in the name of Yahweh. This would no doubt remind people of the good old days, initiated when Samuel anointed David in the presence of his brothers and the Spirit of God came upon him (1 Samuel 16:13).

Now, for us, the figure is given greater clarity when Jesus makes this passage his manifesto in Luke 4. He is the one who radically fulfils this prophetic expectation. It was so radical that it led to his crucifixion. The good news is that the nature of our God is to look out for the needs of the marginalised, the powerless, the overlooked, those suffering from injustice. He’s a God who binds up, releases, proclaims, comforts, provides for, and bestows. He’s a God who plants, who wants to display his splendour, who loves justice, who rewards, and is faithful in establishing an everlasting covenant. He’s a God who transforms ashes into beauty, mourning into gladness and despair into praise.

The community of God’s people is intended to be marked by fullness of life and joy. They will be oaks of righteousness, strong, sturdy, and resilient; they will rebuild, restore and renew all that lies in ruins and is in need of restoration. This is a picture of the revival of a community into a just, economically viable, morally and ethically whole, society and, of course, it’s now the call of the church. More particularly, it’s the call upon each one of us.

This restored community is the source of delight to God Himself, expressed in the life of Jesus, who for the joy set before him endured the cross. It’s our inheritance too. We are the ones who delight greatly in the Lord, rejoice in Him, because He has proclaimed freedom to us, has ‘arrayed us in a robe of righteousness’, has bound up our broken hearts, has released us from darkness, and has proclaimed good news to us. So, we in turn, are called to pass it on and become the fulfilment of the one who speaks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Read 61:1-4 again: this time, personalising it to you and, instead of Zion in verse 3, use words that reflect the community in which you live.

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