Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Liberty to the Captives - Isaiah 61

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has annointed me
to bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted,
to proclaim liberty to captives,
and freedom to prisoners;
to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn."
(vs 1-2)

Looking to the gospel of Luke (4:18-19), we find Christ teaching in the synagogue and declaring that this passage of Isaiah refers to Him. There's no doubt who Isaiah is speaking of because Jesus Himself tells us.

In this messianic text we learn much about our Lord.

1)He is qualified for His work because the Spirit of the Lord is upon Him.

2) He is not only qualified but is directly appointed for the task because the LORD has annointed Him.

3) He has been sent as a preacher to bring good news to the afflicted.

4) He has been sent as a healer to bind up the brokenhearted.

And 5) He has been sent as a deliverer to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners.

In His acts as preacher, healer and deliverer we see Him fulfilling His role as prophet, priest, and king. I doubt that we dwell enough on the three offices of Christ. These three roles should make us stand in wonder and awe of the Lord Jesus and should make us walk in humble obedience and thankful submission to Him.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism tells us that Christ executes the office of a prophet "in revealing to us, by His Word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation." It goes on to say that He executes the office of a priest "in His once offering up of Himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God; and in making continual intercession for us."

Now I must admit that while the roles of prophet and priest are immeasurably dear to my heart, this morning I was particularly struck regarding His role as king in these verses. When asking how Christ executes the office of a king, the Westminster Shorter Catechism says this:

"Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all His and our enemies." (Q.26.)
Isaiah 60:1-2 gives us a good picture of Jesus as the subduing, defending, restraining and conquering King. Christ proclaims liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners. He proclaims the favorable year of the Lord to His friends. Here is Christ the King subduing us to Himself. He is a wonderful Deliverer to those who seek refuge in Him. BUT He is at war with His enemies and should be viewed by them as a frightening foe. If God is for us, who can be against us? But if God is against us - woe to us! To His enemies, Christ will proclaim the day of vengeance of our God. Sobering!

In this declaration of the day of His vengeance we see His promise to restrain and conquer all His and our enemies. Which side do we fall on? Are we His friends or His enemies? The words of Psalm 2 ring true -"Kiss the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!"

There is refuge in King Jesus. He has promised to comfort all who mourn. "Those whose hearts are broken for their sin and who are truly humbled under the sense of guilt and dread of wrath are furnished in the gospel of Jesus Christ with that which will make them easy and silence their fears." (Matthew Henry). Come to the only qualified and appointed preacher, healer and deliverer. Your Prophet, Priest and King awaits. What are you imprisoned by? Flee to the King of true freedom.

A grateful and willing bondservant,


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