Even as Moses had to put a bronze snake on a pole and the people had to look up at it, trusting that by doing that they would be saved, just so have I been lifted up on the cross so that people, anyone, can look to me in trust and I will save them. Yet they first have to understand they need to be saved – it is as simple as that – this message is often made unnecessarily complicated. The very fact that the person has come to the point of recognizing their need and calling out, means they have started repenting from their trust in themselves. It is as simple as that, but not always easy because mankind does not like to be told they are inadequate and need salvation. Yes this is the key element of the Christian faith – the crux as it is called. However, as many people as there are in the kingdom, their personal experience of this moment is unique – yet equally precious.
Jesus stood up in the synagogue and read the first verse from Isaiah 61 (Luke 4:18), ending by saying “today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”. So we know that this prophecy was looking way ahead of Isaiah’s time. However it must have been a great encouragement to the Israelites in Babylon, who had left a war ravaged land behind them 70 years before. 70 years of suffering for the disobedience of a people over the centuries before. Now it was promised that it would be reversed. A rebuilding and restoration not only of their cities and lands, but of their internal spiritual state. “A crown of beauty instead of the ashes of mourning” etc vs 3. we know now that that promise was not nearly fulfilled when the Israelites returned to Zion, way back then.
As I read this passage I found myself thinking of Eukrane. There will be an end to their war, but what will be left of their beautiful country and cities? Much more serious though, will be the mental and spiritual damage to each person who has survived. Their lives will never be the same again.
That is, in fact what sin has done to the world. The picture of war and destruction is a physical reminder of the consequences of the sin which pervades the world. Now Jesus came promising a restoration. A spiritual restoration (vs 1). Looking back in history we see that as much as that promise is real and wonderful, it has not been fulfilled completely, yet. Yes individual people are healed, spiritually and emotionally on a continual basis as they experience Jesus’ work in their lives but, there remain the scars that sin has caused.
What is the answer to this enigma? It lies in the next verse after where Jesus stopped at the end of vs 1, when He read the passage in the synagogue. He did not read vs 2 “to proclaim the year of God’s favour and the day of God’s vengeance; to comfort those who mourn.” the ultimate time of the fulfilment of that prophecy lies ahead in the future when there will be a day when all this will be totally fulfilled. That is why we speak of the “now but not yet”. We have much of the benefit of Jesus’ work of salvation and restoration now, but the ultimate day of the complete restoration of God’s favour and at the same time of judgement, will still come.
So what is Jesus saying to me from this passage? I should not be discouraged as I look at all the evil in the world, because this promise still holds. Instead I should continue to share the promise of the ultimate fulfilment through salvation, with anyone whom God sends to me. The second thing that really speaks to me is the whole question of God’s timing. 70 years had passed before God brought back the Israelites to their land. His time is not ours. This speaks to my impatience to see things happening now, people changing, events working themselves out etc. I must learn to relax into God’s time and trust Him, while I do every day what I feel He wants me to do. Taking one step with the Spirit at a time, with the reassurance that His plan will be accomplished in my life as well as the whole world.
- Hallelujah - the New Age has come.
- The spirit of the Pharisees, Lives on in the Church.
- The Glory of the Lord.
- Eternal Loss or Better Things.
- Streams in the Desert
- The True Gospel Affirmed.
- Let Us Hold Firmly to the Faith we Profess.
- God's Purpose for His People.
- Jesus' Transfigured Glory in a Crooked and Faithless World.
- Assyria Attacks