Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Book-Ends


In my estimation Isaiah 61 is one of the most beautiful portions of the Old Testament. It is so strongly prophetic of the earth ministry of Jesus, from beginning to end.

It begins with a statement of the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon the messenger of Good News, healing, comfort and liberation. It offers an exchange of joy for sorrow through faith. It closes with a reminder that one must accept freely the offer of the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness. One must come to the wedding. (Revelation 19:6-9)

Jesus in an early address in his home town of Nazareth made use of the early verses in describing his mission as Messiah:

Luke 4:

18The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

19To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.


Then at the close of His ministry He is being questioned by the religious leaders as to the authority for His speaking before the people. He refers to a glorious wedding, and the invitation of a Father figure, a King, the many who opted out for shallow reasons, and the beggarly few who quickly responded to the call.

The parable of the wedding feast (Matthew 22) referred to in the preceding post seems to echo the words of Isaiah:

10.I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Jesus is responding to the inquisition of the Pharisees and Sadducees as a lamb being poked and prodded in examination before the holy sacrifice. He highlights the tragic consequences of refusing the wedding invitation upon its exact terms. He sees Jewish religion doing that very thing. His woes in Matthew 23 speak to the hypocrisy of religion by way of form. His prophecy in chapter 24 speaks to the disastrous fall of Jerusalem for not having recognized her day of visitation and invitation.

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