Do you have some favorite Christmas passages? I do. This week I am celebrating Christmas by meditating through several of my favorites. Isaiah 61:1-3 is one of mine.
In this passage, Isaiah writes about the Messiah and what He would do. He had already written about how the Messiah would come (Isaiah 7:14 – a virgin shall conceive and bear a son); who the Messiah would be (Isaiah 7:14 again – and shall call his name Immanuel); and how and why the Messiah would die (Isaiah 53 – He would bear our griefs, carry our sorrows, be wounded for our transgressions, be bruised for our iniquities, make his soul an offering for our sin – and the result would be that He would justify many!). Consider now what He came to do as foretold in these three verses:
He came to “preach good tidings unto the meek.” In Luke 4:18 Jesus uses the word poor when He quotes this verse. Does this not describe us? In relation to our sinful condition, we are certainly poor and needy. In relation to our inability to merit eternal life, we are as well. The good news of Christmas is that Jesus is more than a baby who has come to inspire a world. He is God and He came to bring the good news of eternal life! As I celebrate Christmas, I am thankful that the gospel has been preached to me. God came into the World. Diety gave His life for mine. Jesus has been raised from the dead to prove He was more than a man and to prove that His offer of eternal life is a valid offer. And my life has been changed as a result.
He came to “bind up the brokenhearted.” How many of you find comfort in these words? Living in a world cursed by sin and death means that all of us are familiar with brokenness. Sorrow. Sadness. Trouble. Disease. Loss. And yet, the baby born in Bethlehem, is more than a mere baby. He is the Messiah. He not only cares, He also wants to heal your broken heart. You are not alone. You are loved. Healing is available. “Cast all your care upon him, for he cares for you,” is how Peter says it in the New Testament (I Peter 5:7).
He came to “proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” Everywhere we look, we find ourselves help captive by any number of prisons. Some are held captive by their past. Some by their anger. Some by their bitterness. Some by their drugs and alcohol. Many by their porn and sexual addictions. Is there help? Is there hope? Yes there is! Jesus has come and “if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Turn to Jesus and He will will open your prison, fill you with His Spirit, and give you His Word. Praise God that we can be delivered from the prisons of our lives!
He came to “comfort all that mourn.” Holidays especially remind us of the loved ones who are no longer with us. They seem to exacerbate our loneliness. Some withdraw, succumb to the sadness of their heart, and spend their days alone. Others smile and keep going, but inside still feel the pain and the sorrow. I want you to know that Jesus came to offer you comfort. You are not alone – He is here. Someone does care – He cares. Comfort is available – He is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15). Run to Him and let Him care for you and carry you through these times of sorrow and sadness. He will. That is why He came.
He came to “give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” Don’t you love this? “Beauty for ashes.” “Joy for mourning.” “Praise for heaviness.” It is nothing less than awesome that Jesus came into this world. Do you have any ashes? Nothing left? No way out? Jesus came to be with you and to bring beauty out of those ashes. Are you mourning? He came to give you joy. Is your spirit heavy? He came to give you a garment of praise. What a wonderful gift from our wonderful God!
Simply put, He came to change our lives and to meet our needs in this sin-cursed world. Aren’t you glad He did? Me too.
Thanks for reading.
Your sincere friend,