“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach 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 favor 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 gladness 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.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)
Today’s Lectio Divina is one of the clearest descriptions of what the Messiah would do when He came. In fact, when Jesus came, He quoted part of this passage in His home town Synagogue one Sabbath day at the beginning of His earthly ministry. Luke tells us that after He read it “… 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, and He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” Luke 4:20-21 (NIV)
I can’t wait to see the video of that moment one day in Heaven! I can only imagine the impact of His words in church that day as He declared Himself to be the Messiah. As you meditate on this passage consider the ministry of Jesus in your life. In many traditions, today is called “Ash Wednesday” beginning the 40 day journey to Easter. For some the emphasis is on what they are to “give up” for Lent. As you read this passage over several times you will notice what I like to call “The Great Exchange.” The Good News is in what we receive in exchange for what we are giving up! In the world, bartering works only when two people exchange goods of relatively equal value. But God offers to trade His righteousness for our sin – something of immeasurable worth for something completely worthless! Read the passage over several times and take note of the exchange God offers you today. What is it He wants you to release so that you may receive His offer?
How grateful we should be for God’s kindness to us! When all we had to offer Him was brokenness and strife, He makes something beautiful out of our lives! Relax and rejoice in all He has done for you and receive it today!