Thursday, August 1, 2013

Why Jesus Came

"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 favour
     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.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
     and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
     that have been devastated for generations.
                                        -Isaiah 61:1-4

These words of the prophet Isaiah are also the words that Jesus used to announce His ministry. In Luke 4, Jesus reads these words. "Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him. He began by saying to them, Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." (Luke 4:20-21).

Isaiah spoke these words to Israel as prophecy of what God would do. Jesus announced that He had come as the fulfillment of this prophecy. It would have been quite shocking to the people in the Temple that day to hear Jesus claim He was the fulfillment of this prophecy.

This passage from Isaiah has long been a favourite of mine. It speaks of the incredible things that God can do in the lives of those who are willing to allow Him in.

Jesus came to bring the good news of our salvation.

Jesus came to bring healing to wounded and broken hearts.

Jesus came to bring freedom to those who were held captive by sin.

Jesus came to release people from the darkness that held them back.

Jesus came to bring comfort to those who were mourning.

Jesus came to replace ashes with a crown of beauty.

Jesus came to give us a reason to praise instead of mourn.

Jesus came to do all of this so that we would be reflections of God's splendor.

The image of being oaks of righteousness intrigues me. How often do we talk about " mighty oak trees"? It's a picture of something strong and beautiful. That's what this Scripture tells us Jesus came to make us.

When Jesus comes in our lives to do all of this it is for something important. The ruins of what once was good and has been destroyed will be rebuilt. Those places that have long been left to fall apart will be brought into the light once again.

Jesus didn't come to do all these things so we would live the same old lives. He came to do all these things so we could live the life we were created to live.

A life that reflects Who God is and what He has done.

A life that points to Him in every way.

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