Hope To Those Who Mourn
Isaiah 61:1–4, 8–11
By Wesley Scoggins
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
What a beautiful picture of hope! Verses 1-4 paint a picture of the hope Israel will have on the other side of exile. The people of Israel were brought out of their land because of their sin, but the Lord promises their restoration, because he keeps his promises. 2020 has been a long year. There has been so many new challenges to face, so many things to get used to, and so much hurt that’s happened. Verse 2 offers hope after a year like this one, “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.” Are you worn down from 2020? Are you mournful? Have hope, the year of the Lord’s favor is coming. The truth is, our hope is not in 2021. Our hope is not in a vaccine. Our hope is not in a government. Our hope is in the return of the King. One day, the sky will open and Jesus of Nazareth will descend to bring forth justice, to gather His people to Himself, and “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Verses 8-11 show the Lord’s love in making a new covenant with his people, and the response we should have to the Lord’s favor. A major part of the hope the Lord gives an exiled Israel is a new covenant. In this covenant God’s people will be known among the nations, and the nations will look upon them and acknowledge the Lord’s work. This has come true in our day. No longer is God’s salvation exclusive to the ethnic people of Israel. The Gospel is going out to all people, and one day a multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language will stand before the throne and worship the Lamb of God (Revelation 7:9).
Our response to this great hope after mourning should be rejoicing. The Lord has clothed us in salvation (Is. 61:10). He has taken the dirty rages of sin and shame and given us new robes of righteousness. What a great salvation! Be thankful today for the grace of God working in your life, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
This passage finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Luke 4 tells us that on a Sabbath day, Jesus stands up and reads from the scroll of Isaiah (specifically Isaiah 61:1-2). And afterward “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’” (Luke 4:20-21). Jesus is the one anointed by
the Spirit (Luke 3:22). Jesus is the one who brings good news to the poor (Matthew 5:3). Jesus is the one who liberates the captives (John 8:32), and who proclaims the year of the Lord’s favor (John 16:26-27).
Father, thank you for the hope we have in Jesus. Help us to hold on to that hope, even in times of mourning.