Freed Slaves Exalting
Lord, fix my heart on You and Your Word, for all else changes. May I walk closely with You today.
Read Isaiah 61:1-11
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Christ suffered as a free man, alone, apart and in ignominy, in body and spirit (Dietrich Bonhoeffer). Recount Christ’s sorrows, grief and wounds—for you.
Immediately before today’s oracle, Isaiah envisions the city of the Lord to which all nations stream with tribute (60). Now his focus changes to record Jerusalem’s ultimate and transforming encounter with its Redeemer. The Lord’s anointed Servant resembles the promised Messiah of chs. 7-12 because he loosens every kind of bondage through the power of his words, through preaching, healing and compassionate counseling (1-3). While the deliverance described here most obviously applies to Israel’s exiles returning from Babylon, the oracle’s immediate context and messianic allusions open it to a more eschatological interpretation: Isaiah’s Davidic Messiah who will save all nations. Jesus certainly applies this meaning to it (Luke 4:18-21).
Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in February 1990 was momentous. One parliamentary act released all political prisoners, prisoners of conscience and religious objectors to military service, and permitted the return to South Africa of thousands of exiles. Freedom Day, as we now remember it, minimally resembles the theological significance of Israel’s liberation from Babylon, and the eschatological “release” (1; Lev. 25) that Jesus fulfills in the now-and-yet-to-be Jubilee of his new creation. The “now” of Jesus’ redemption effects restitution and restorative justice for society and creation, redesigning the framework that has threatened so much of creation’s biodiversity and economic potential (4-8). If our descendants across the whole world will have any share in fullness of life (9,11), the whole church urgently needs to embrace the Jubilee work inherent in the Gospel. Jesus’ loosing of bondage ushers his redeemed and his creation into a now-and-yet-to-be way of eternal jubilant worship (10,11). Come, Lord Jesus!
Cry “Maranatha!” today, ready to emulate Christ’s servant hands, which break all chains. How can you embrace the Gospel’s Jubilee work?
Gracious Father, what has happened in my life since I was awakened to Your love gives me anticipation of what will happen when You return.