What Jesus Came to Do - Isaiah 61

Isaiah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →
Copyright October 2, 2022 by Rev. Bruce Goettsche
One of my pet peeves when going to a movie (apart from the ridiculous price of popcorn) are all the movie trailers you have to watch before you finally get to the actual movie. I feel a little like I am held hostage to what amounts to a bunch of commercials.
I have no intention of holding you hostage today. The text we are going to look at today is a very important passage in the book of Isaiah. It is important because it is a preview of coming attractions. The people did not know this at the time, but these words were pointing to a future day. How do we know this? Because Jesus is the one who told us. In Luke 4:16-21 we read these words,
16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lordis upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. 21 Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”
Jesus is quoting the first words of Isaiah 61 where we read,
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lordis upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
3 To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
Most scholars believe there is a gap between the first part of verse 2 and the last part. The announcement that the “time of the Lord’s favor has come” is about His first coming. It is when the grace of God was offered to us through Christ. The second part of the verse “the day of God’s anger against their enemies” is when Christ comes the second time as the victor and Judge over all the world. This text in Isaiah helps us understand what Christ came to do in the world.
He Came to Comfort
We are told the Savior came “to bring good news to the poor, comfort the brokenhearted, and proclaim that captives will be released, and prisoners freed.” As you read the gospel accounts, you can readily see that this is what Jesus did.
He brought dignity to those the world rejected. Jesus raised the status of women, the Samaritans, and the outcasts in general. Jesus did not cater to the rich and powerful, He appeared first to shepherds, He healed lepers, gave sight to the blind, and restored mobility to the lame. Jesus welcomed a tax collector and a Zealot into His disciples. It was impossible not to feel Jesus had come for everyone. Jesus did not attack prejudice and rejection with threats and force, He did it with compassion and understanding.
This is still what Jesus does. His offer of grace is to any and all who will receive it. His grace knocks down barriers of race, gender, income level, and any other barrier. The world around us sees the church as bigoted and the perpetrators of racism, but they don’t know what they are talking about. Jesus eliminates these barriers not by separating people or labeling them, He knocks barriers down with His love and His grace. We all come to salvation in exactly the same way: through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior.
He brought hope to those who were brokenhearted. These broken hearts may have come from loss or from the wounds of others. It may have been abusive behaviors, debilitating words, or the simple indifference that says to someone, “you don’t matter.” The Lord came to bring hope to all of these people. Look at the examples of Mary Magdalene, Zacchaeus, the Samaritan woman at the well, and others. He is still doing this today.
He does this first by letting people know they are seen. We all matter to God. Others may treat us as if we are nothing, but the Lord treats us as if we are everything to Him. We matter so much that He sent His Son to die to rescue us.
It is easy to feel anonymous in this world. We often feel unseen or overlooked. We believe no one cares about us and no one wants to understand us. This is why so many young people (and others) commit suicide. They feel no one cares, and they just can’t bear it anymore, so they act out of their great loneliness and feelings of the seeming indifference of those around them. It is sometimes like people are saying, “please notice me now . . . please say that my life mattered.
If you have ever felt this way . . . please do not keep this to yourself. Talk about it with others and even more importantly, hear the message of the gospel. YOU matter to God!
He also gives us hope by letting us know that He has prepared a place for us. You may not feel like you belong anywhere in the world, but the Lord says, “I am preparing a place for you.” Yes, for every one of us!
He also gives us hope by showing us that this life is not all there is. Jesus not only died, He rose again! He wanted us to see that the door to eternal life has been kicked open. Those who dare to trust Him, will “live even though they die.”
He Came to Announce Release
He came to announce freedom to those who were imprisoned. Jesus offers to free several groups of people. First are those imprisoned for their faith. There are people all over the world who are prisoners because of their profession of faith in Christ. There are many who are heading down that same road in our own country. Our constitution says we have the freedom of faith and faithful expression, but we are being shouted down, threatened, and misrepresented. There may come a day when there will be a steep cost to being a follower of Christ. Here’s the thing to remember: the Lord doesn’t promise we will never face consequences for being His disciples (in fact, He says the opposite) but He does promise He will set us free.
Jesus also promises to free those imprisoned due to injustice. The system doesn’t always work and isn’t always fair. Our Lord exercises justice that is fair and unbiased. He does not view us in terms of race, color, or gender. We are all loved and cherished the same. There is nothing that fights harder for equality than the message of the gospel. The majority of hospitals, orphanages, aid centers, and women’s shelters were founded by Christian people trying to demonstrate the love of Christ.
Jesus frees those imprisoned in their past. The phrase “those who mourn” may also denote those who mourn because of their sin. You may feel you have made too many mistakes; that your sin is too offensive to ever be forgiven. The announcement of our Lord is, “It is Finished!” The debt was paid on the cross of Christ. “He who knew no sin, became sin for us, that we might be the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5.21)
We know we do not deserve forgiveness. However, we ARE forgiven because God poured out His wrath for our sin on Christ. It is a staggering thought and an unfathomable truth. But truth it is, nonetheless. We are forgiven by the One we need forgiveness from. Don’t miss the incredible words of verse 10:
10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding
or a bride with her jewels.
This is the way we should respond to the message of the gospel. Sometimes we can become so used to the words that we miss the power and beauty they possess. It is somewhat like a husband and wife; you can be so used to being together that you forget the real treasure it is to find someone who will love you in such a way.
He Came to Transform our Lives
Jesus did not merely come to rescue us from sin and to rescue others from their bad situations. He came to transform lives. When we talk about the new life in Christ, much of the time we hear this as teaching Heaven will be a good place. But Jesus also came to transform our lives here and now.
He will bring Beauty from ashes.Many of us have had these kinds of experiences. Something bad happens to us and as a result, our life is changed in a very positive way. A close call with death awakens us to the cherished blessings of life. A car accident helps us see the important of family. A divorce leads you to someone you can love with a new depth you could not have imagined before the divorce.
Think about how Jesus brought beauty from ashes with Jairus’s daughter who was dead and Jesus brought her back to life, Lazarus and his sisters, the man born blind, the lame and those who were ostracized because of leprosy or demon possession. I like to say God has a way of re-purposing our pain and turning it into a blessing. We don’t always see this immediately, but God does promise that He will cause all things to work for our good when we trust Him.
He will bring Blessing from mourning.We don’t think about this but a funeral is a wonderful opportunity to grow as a person and in your faith. Solomon wrote that it is better to go to a house of mourning (a funeral) than to go to a party. This is because at a funeral all the pretense is gone. We have to face eternal issues and meet them head-on. If we don’t, we must walk away from a grave feeling the emptiness of death and the parallel conclusion about the futility of life. People want hope and the gospel gives them hope. The resurrection is the one thing that can bring blessing from mourning in death.
Righteousness from the stains and addiction of sin. This is a good follow-up to what we just said, Jesus came to take our guilt and pay for it by His own sacrifice. Those things in your past that haunt you are paid for by the shed blood of Jesus.
The word “righteousness” reminds us once again that trusting Christ is not merely “fire insurance” to keep us out of Hell. The grace of God does indeed save us from Hell, but we are also told that from the stain and addiction of sin we are made righteous. In other words, following Jesus should have an impact on our everyday lives right now. I am firmly convinced that the Scriptures teach that a gospel that says no more than “come forward and say a prayer” leads to “conversions” that are often shallow. Most often they are responses to emotional stimuli and these people think they are saved (because they said the magic words) but in fact they are not made new in Christ. The person who says they asked Jesus into their hearts but cannot be bothered with church or holy living, may not be really saved at all. In verse 11 we are told
“His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, with plants springing up everywhere.”
I believe the Lord is saying this righteousness is not just a matter of our standing with God, it also has a practical impact on our lives.
Commentator John Oswalt wrote,
…what does it mean to be “saved from sin”? In too many circles today, it only means that the believer is delivered from the guilt and condemnation of his or her sin. The idea that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection have as their ultimate goal the breaking of the power of continued sinning has become almost strange to modern Christian ears. Yet this passage makes it perfectly clear that that is the goal. (Titus 2:13–14). [Oswalt NIV Application Commentary]
He Came To Bring Glory To The Father
The end of verse 3 tells us that all the great things Jesus did were for one purpose: to bring glory and honor to the Father. Jesus lived His life for God’s glory, (in order for God to be honored, praised, and deferred to) and so should we. In 1 Corinthians 10:31 we are told. “31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
That sounds noble but how do we do that? We do it by,
· Living according to His instructions
· Pointing to Jesus in all you do
· Testifying of God’s mercy and grace
What an honor it is to point others to the One who made us and saved us by His grace!
So here we have this passage in Isaiah that is surprising (for many), speaking with clarity into our present situation. The Word of God is living and active and when we are willing to listen carefully, the text will speak to us in very relevant ways.
Let’s try to wrap up some of what we learned with some principles to build our life on. First, the coming of Christ into the world was not just to make it possible to live after we die. He came to help us to live right here and now.
I am not preaching what has been sometimes called “the prosperity gospel.” That is a teaching that says the Lord wants us to be happy, healthy, and have material abundance. In other words, God wants for us exactly what we want for ourselves: a problem-free life. That is NOT the message of the gospel. Jesus teaches that there will be hard times, it often will be a struggle and people are going to treat us much like they treated Him.
Most of us can see the shallow nature of such beliefs. We can also see how this hurts struggling people by implying that “if they had enough faith, their problems would go away.” HOWEVER, we must not overreact and say all of God’s blessings are future either. The Lord tells us in Isaiah 61 that He cares about what is going on in our lives. He came to ease our burden, to walk alongside of us in the here and now.
We must not create a separation between our life with God and our life in the world. The Lord desires to impact the way we live in the world. He desires to give us strength in the hard times and wisdom and humility for the good times.
Second, if Jesus desired to impact the lives of people in practical ways, so should we.Being a follower does not mean we just preach to people with sermons and arguments. We should follow the practice of our Savior and try to minister to people in practical ways,
· Support those who are hurting
· Give practical help to those who are in need (babysit for a stressed-out parent or a worn-out couple, sit with an older person and visit and read to them, make a meal for someone, cut someone’s lawn who is on vacation, drive someone to an appointment, sit quietly with one who is going through a very hard time.)
· See past a person’s race, gender, sexual preference, or failures and see instead a person of worth that Jesus died for.
· Pray and find ways to support Christians who are being persecuted around the world.
· Stand up for those who are facing injustice in the world.
Finally, in our evangelism (when we share our faith with others) we must not seek to water down the sense of commitment asked for by the Lord. Sometimes our goal is to get someone to “say the prayer” or to get them baptized, and then we conclude we have effectively won them to Christ. This isn’t the approach that Jesus took. He called people to “deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him.” (Luke 9:23) He told people they had to love the LORD more than anything else in their lives. He told us we needed to change our priorities and “seek first His kingdom” rather than our own. (Matthew 6:33)
I like to say to people, “the Lord calls us to believe His Words and then be willing to bet our lives on them.” Will this turn some people away? It will. But at least they will be turning away from the truth rather than make a “decision for Jesus” that has no impact on their daily living. It is accurate to say that our Lord wants us to be so committed to Him that we are willing to die with Him so that we can live with Him in eternity.
I hope you are excited about these words in Isaiah 61. They show us that Christianity is not only about theology, it is about the way we live our lives in the here and now. We see that our Lord is not just concerned with where we spend eternity but also with our lives right now. Our faith is practical and not simply theoretical. It is time to stop acting like people who are someday going to walk with Jesus and start walking with Him now!
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more