Isaiah 61

Isaiah 61

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;
    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;
  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.
  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.
  Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks;
    foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
  but you shall be called the priests of the LORD;
    they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
  you shall eat the wealth of the nations,
    and in their glory you shall boast.
  Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
    instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
  therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
    they shall have everlasting joy.
  For I the LORD love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrong;
  I will faithfully give them their recompense,
    and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
  Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
    and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
  all who see them shall acknowledge them,
    that they are an offspring the LORD has blessed.
  I will greatly rejoice in the LORD;
    my soul shall exult in my God,
  for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
    he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
  as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
  For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
    and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
  so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise
    to sprout up before all the nations.


Isaiah 61 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Isaiah 61 is such an interesting chapter. In Luke 4, Jesus reads the first two verses of Isaiah 61 in the synagogue.

“The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him, and unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written: [18] The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, [19] to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. [20] He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. [21] He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.””

Luke 4:17-21 CSB

Compare this to Isaiah 61.

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners; [2] to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, [3] to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the LORD to glorify him.”

Isaiah 61:1-3 CSB

What do you notice? Jesus quotes verse 1 but he stops about half way through verse 2. He ends with, “to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor” but does not include the rest of verse 2. Many scholars have suggested that the reason Jesus stopped is because the rest of Isaiah’s prophecy is yet to be fulfilled, specifically in the End Times.

“There He stopped reading, for “the day of vengeance” would not come until the Tribulation (see Isa 63:1-4). We are living today in God’s “year of acceptance,” the day of grace. Of course, Isaiah is speaking here of the Lord’s ministry to Israel, when He would return to convert their “funeral” into joyous “wedding.” Isa 61:3 pictures the mourners drying their tears and putting on festive garments instead of mourning clothes. Isa 61:10 describes the nation rejoicing as the bride and the bridegroom.”

Warren Wiersbe

Jesus not only read these verses, He interpreted them.

“He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.””

Luke 4:21 CSB

This leads us to the question – who is Jesus? Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of this Messianic prophecy. He claimed to be the great “I AM” (John 8:58). He said no one comes to God – the One True God – except through Him (John 14:1-7). There is no denying that the Scriptures attest to Jesus as being exactly who He said He was.

We are living in “the year of the Lord’s favor!” The “day of our God’s vengeance” is next. The time to repent and believe is now. The day to prioritize your relationship with your Savior is today.

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