Saturday, December 16: Isaiah: Longing for the Anointed One

Isaiah 59:20

“The Redeemer will come to Zion,
    to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
declares the LORD.

Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
    because the LORD has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the LORD
    for the display of his splendor.

Isaiah had prophesied that Judah would be taken into captivity by Babylon.  Later he prophesied that Babylon itself would be overthrown (Isaiah 46-47) and that, under the Persian ruler Cyrus, Jerusalem and the temple would be rebuilt (Isaiah 44:28).  Still, the people would remain under foreign rule, and the question would naturally arise, when will we experience the full blessings of God’s promises?

Isaiah 56 says that blessing will come to those who obey God, and that will even include foreigners who love and serve him.  In Isaiah 59 God is portrayed as a warrior who will fight on behalf of his people, those who repent of their sins.  Isaiah 60 paints a picture of a blessed Zion which will draw people from all nations to it, becoming a mighty nation in which all peoples will be blessed, thus fulfilling the promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:3).

But how will that blessing come about?  Isaiah 61 portrays the one who will bring about this blessedness: the anointed one, the Messiah.  And who is this anointed one?  He is none other than Jesus.  Jesus identified himself as this anointed one and said to his hearers that this very prophecy was fulfilled in him (Luke 4:17-20).  He is the one who brought good news to the poor and brokenhearted, who brought freedom to those who had been captive to sin, who brought sinners out of darkness into light.  His great redeeming work had begun and would continue as the gospel would be proclaimed throughout the earth.  Through Jesus God would be faithful to his covenant promise and would bring in all the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16), that is, all those who are the believing children of Abraham by faith (Galatians 3:7, 29).

Are you one of Abraham’s children?  Are you still longing for deliverance, or have you put your trust in Jesus the Anointed One?  Repent of your sins and come to the Redeemer.  Come to the one who can give you all that your soul needs.  Come to the Savior.

Come to the waters, whoever is thirsty;
Drink from the Fountain that never runs dry.
Jesus, the Living One, offers you mercy,
Life more abundant in boundless supply.

Come to the Fountain without any money;
Buy what is given without any cost.
Jesus, the gracious One, welcomes the weary;
Jesus, the selfless One, died for the lost.

(James Montgomery Boice)

© 2023 Stephen A. Hoogerhyde.