Wednesday, June 12, 2024

2024.06.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 61:1–3

Read Isaiah 61:1–3

Questions from the Scripture text: Who is upon the Speaker ( Isaiah 61:1a, cf. Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 59:21)? Why—what has YHWH done to Him (Isaiah 61:1b)? What seven things has He been anointed to do to what six groups (Isaiah 61:1-3a)? With what two types of comings will He come (Isaiah 61:2)? What three exchanges will He make for them (Isaiah 61:3b–d)? What will they be called (Isaiah 61:3e–f, cf. Isaiah 60:21c)? Why? 

What did Christ come to do? Isaiah 61:1–3 prepares us for the first serial reading in public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Jesus came as the Christ, the Mediator, to make us joyful and holy priests unto God. 

As the Lord Jesus Himself taught in the synagogue of Nazareth (cf. Luke 4:16–22), this passage is about Christ Himself. Isaiah 61:1 picks back up the thought of Isaiah 59:21, where God makes a covenant with those whom He is saving. Jesus, Himself, is His covenant with them. Jesus would have YHWH’s Spirit upon Him (Isaiah 61:1a, cf. Isaiah 59:21, Matthew 3:16), and He would pour His Spirit upon those who are His spiritual offspring, and upon their offspring (cf. Isaiah 59:21; Matthew 3:11). Isaiah 61:1b characterizes the Spirit descending upon Christ as an anointing, an ordination. This ordination is to all three of His offices: Prophet, Priest, and King. 

As Prophet, Jesus is the Great Evangelist. He “preaches good tidings” to the poor. This was the crowing proof that He is the Messiah, when John wavered and sent messengers to ask (cf. Matthew 11:2–5). And indeed, He begins His most prominent sermon proclaiming blessing to the poor and the mourning (Isaiah 61:1b–c, Isaiah 61:2c, cf. Matthew 5:3–4). 

As Priest, Jesus sounds the Jubilee, proclaiming liberty to the captives in the year of the Lord’s favor (Isaiah 61:2a, cf. Leviticus 25:9). This was the rarest regular day in the Jewish calendar, coming once every 50 years, and therefore it was in some ways one of the highest days. But this, and all other days belonging to the Aaronic priesthood would culminate in Christ’s coming and be superseded by His priesthood and His day. 

As King, Jesus comes not only to secure the proclaimed liberty but to execute vengeance in behalf of His people (Isaiah 61:2c). 

If you are a believer in Christ, then you have Him as your Mediator. He is your Prophet, Who declares to you the will of God for your salvation. He is your Priest, Who has offered Himself for you and intercedes for you. He is your King, Who reigns over you and conquers all of your and His enemies. 

Christians’ priesthood. And thus, He takes away your ashes, mourning, and heaviness, and in their place gives you beauty (turban!, Isaiah 61:3b), oil of joy (verse 3c), and garment of praise (verse 3d). All three of these are priestly images. He removes from us the bereavement and shame of our guilt, and consecrates us to come near to God in confidence and joy. Jesus exercises His three offices to bring you into the office of the priesthood of all believers. He brings you near to God, for the worship of God, in the joy of God!

Again, Isaiah 61:3e–f recalls Isaiah 60:21c–e. There, in the new creation, with all mourning ended and YHWH Himself as the light of His people, they are “the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified.” Here, the finished work of Christ in His three offices produces the result: “that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of YHWH, that He may be glorified.” This will be no disappointing vineyard like back in chapter five. The work of Christ, producing the priesthood of Christians, will be perfectly fruitful and pleasing and glorifying to God!

What do you need Christ to do for/to you as Prophet? When/how do you especially experience this? What do you need Christ to do for/to you as Priest? When/how does He especially do this? What do you need Christ to do to/for you as King? When/how does He especially do this?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for giving Your Son to be our Mediator: Prophet, Priest, and King. Forgive us for how we have not listened to Him as our Prophet. Forgive us for how we have not come to You through Him as our Priest. Forgive us for how we have not submitted to His reign as our King or trusted His deliverance and vengeance as our King. Forgive us for how we have failed to rejoice in Him with holy gladness. Grant that we might not only be forgiven, but sanctified, so that as righteous trees of Your planting, You might be glorified in us, which we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP72B “Nomads Will Bow” or TPH259 “O Lord, How Shall I Meet You?”

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