His Favour, and our Faith. Isaiah 61-62 – RBT Notes, 29th May

The Servant sings again, and what a song He has!

“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…” (61.1-2).

missionThis is the sermon text of Jesus at Nazareth, as He declares His manifesto (Luke 4.14-30). Jesus didn’t apparently read further in the synagogue that day, because, in keeping with this song, He was the bringing the day of God’s favour in His earthly ministry, not vengeance. Vengeance, when it came in His ministry, came at the cross, a divine vengeance He Himself absorbed.  All the way to the cross, and now by His Spirit through His church, there comes freedom, light, and good news wherever Jesus is at work. If you can think of a more wonderful song to sing, then the world needs to hear it.

All the promises of God’s grace rush in (vv.3-9), and the Servant can’t help Himself from bursting into song once more: He is the One clothed with salvation, and convinced of God’s resolve and power to bring righteousness to the nations (vv.10-11). In ch. 62 there is yet more marriage imagery to express God’s love for His people. She will be called ‘My delight is in her’, and ‘Married’, and will be treasured as a Bridegroom treasures his Bride, the joy of her God (vv.4-5). Salvation is, afterall, nothing less than a people “prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev. 21.2). And the joy of our salvation will one day be at the “wedding-supper of the Lamb” (Rev.19.9).

How much do we want to be part of this feast, and this marriage? How much do we want to see others joining us there? The vision God gives His people of His future love is one to get them longing and working to see it realised (vv.6-10). This is faith which is actually faith, as it strives to take hold of the promises of God, and to share them with others. If the people then were to shrug their shoulders at God’s Word, and mumble something like, “Oh that’s nice”, then do you think that that would be faith? Of course not! Faith longs for God’s seemingly impossible word to be fulfilled, faith watches for signs of God at work, faith prays, and faith gets to work. We are to do that in our day, with our gifts and energies, to see God bringing His Kingdom. That’s exactly what God’s great Servant did, as we’ll see in the next chapter, and that’s exactly our calling, too, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Lewis Allen

Pastor, Hope Church Huddersfield, Director of Gospel Yorkshire, husband, father of five, football follower and dreaming fly-fisherman, Daily Reading the Bible Together blogger.

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