Isaiah 56–61: The Messiah & His Mission

Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 11: Friday

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
Because the LORD has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD
Isaiah 61:1–2a

Friday’s Bible reading is Isaiah 56–61. These chapters have a broad compass of themes of obedience, inclusion of the Gentiles, to repentance, confession of sin and promises of God’s mercy and restoration. As I wrote several weeks ago, they are in what Dr. Gleason Archer calls the ‘volume of comfort.’ which began in chapter 40.1 Of the entire book of Isaiah he writes:

“Isaiah sets forth the doctrine of Christ is such full detail that he has rightly been described as the “evangelical prophet.” Deeper Christological insights are to be found in his work than anywhere else in the Old Testament.”2

In the same post, I also quoted Dr. Walt Kaiser:

“Isaiah is one of the most prolific announcers of the Messiah and his times among the OT prophets. Probably for this reason he has sometimes been called “the fifth Evangelist,” along with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. According to some counts, the NT has over four hundred allusions to this book, and parts of forty-seven chapters of Isaiah’s sixty-six are either directly quoted or alluded to in the NT. This means that Isaiah is second to only the book of Psalms as the favorite OT book from which the early church drew its predictions of what happened to Christ.”3

Isaiah 61:1–2a contains verses that the Lord Jesus himself read aloud in the synagogue at Nazareth when His ministry was just beginning. Luke records what happened:

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”

And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.”

And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away.
Luke 4:16–29 (ESV)

Today every group and business, small or large, finds it necessary to define its mission statement. Here in Isaiah the mission of the Messiah was given as God foretold what the Messiah would do in His ministry. Jesus said He fulfilled that Scripture. Do you know Him? Is He your Messiah? Read the Gospels, and learn of Jesus and the Good News He came to proclaim.

Isaiah 42 Photograph: – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
Jesus Unrolls the Book in the Synagogue (Jésus dans la synagogue déroule le livre), James Tissot:
No known copyright restrictions.
1, 2Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, revised ed., 1974,
pp. 327, 326.
3Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., The Messiah in the Old Testament, pp. 155–156.
ESV: English Standard Version

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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