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FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah 61: The year of the Lord's favour


[Preliminary notes: Although scholars normally only consider there to be four ‘Servant Songs' [see Contents in Introduction] the fact that Jesus took the first two verses as his opening proclamation in the synagogue in Nazareth [see Lk 4:18,19] and we consider that he as well as Israel is represented as the Servant of the Servant Songs, there is a case to be made for this to be the fifth Servant Song revealing his ministry of proclamation AND of deliverance [v.1,2] to bring joy and praise to his people [v.3a], to transform them [v.3b,4]. The outworking of his work will be even bigger in that it will result in people coming to be part of, and to serve, the people of God [v.5] and provide for them while they act as intermediaries to God for them [v.6]. He will thus bring complete transformation to his people [v.7.8] and blessing for future generations [v.9]. He concludes by rejoicing and praising the Lord for what He has done [v.10,11].



v.1,2 Threefold proclamations of the anointed servant

v.1  The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
[i] proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,
[ii] proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,

v.2  to [iii] proclaim the year of the Lord's favour
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,


v.3a His ‘replacement ministry'

v.3  and [i] provide for those who grieve in Zion –
[ii] bestow on them a crown of beauty
     instead of ashes,
[iii] oil of joy
     instead of mourning,
[iv] a garment of praise
     instead of a spirit of despair.


v.3b,4 The outworking in his people

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendour.

v.4  They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.

v.5 Foreigners will serve the people of God

v.5  Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
    foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.

v.6 Provided for by the world, they will be their intermediaries to God

v.6  And you will be called priests of the Lord,
    you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
    and in their riches you will boast.


v.7 Further ‘replacement' transformations

v.7  Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.


v.8 The Lord's nature that will do this

v.8  ‘For I, the Lord, love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.

v.9 Their future generations will reveal the Lord

v.9  Their descendants will be known among the nations
    and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
    that they are a people the Lord has blessed.'


v.10 The servant rejoices…

v.10  I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has
[i] clothed me with garments of salvation
[ii] arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

v.11 …for he sees the Lord's outworking of all this

v.11  For as the soil makes the young plant come up
    and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
    and praise spring up before all nations.



Continue to Chapter 62