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Beginning January 1, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs for the next 31 days. The new year is a great opportunity to invite your friends, families, and Life Groups to read along with you in 2023. 

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Read Isaiah 61

The Year of the Lord’s Favor

61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
    foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
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.

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.

“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.
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.”

10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and 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.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
    and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
    and praise spring up before all nations.

Go Deeper

We are sixty-one books into Isaiah, and many chapters are hard, depicting rebellion or judgment with what seems like only a few hopeful verses thrown into the mix. Leading up to today, we read about all the things separating us from God. Isaiah 59:2 literally reads, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” The passage grows darker before we get to Isaiah 60 which describes the glory of Zion. 

Now today, we celebrate! This chapter, titled “The Year of the Lord’s Favor,” is full of promise and rejoicing! It is redemption from evil! What sounds better than that? 

 In Luke 4, Jesus Christ himself quotes this passage. Before His ministry begins, He spends forty days in the wilderness being tempted. Sometime after this, He goes to the synagogue on the Sabbath day and reads the scroll of Isaiah. Try to imagine the scene Luke describes. 

Luke 4:17-21 tells us, “and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: ‘The Spirit of the  Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them,  ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” 

 Even if we get lost in the judgment and genealogies of the Old Testament, it ALL comes back to Jesus! He is the fulfillment of every promise in Scripture. Jesus brings good news to the poor. He frees the oppressed and gives sight to the blind. Jesus brings us God’s favor. God is a promise-keeper, and Jesus redeems us from every evil thing that tries to separate us from God. It is why He came to earth, our Emmanuel. God is with us, and He is for us. Come, let us adore Him!   


  1. In what parts of the Old Testament is it hard for you to see Jesus? 
  2. Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah because they did not have printed Bibles in his day. Scrolls were handwritten, and only a few important people had copies and/or access to them. People had to work hard to memorize Scripture to keep the Word of God with them. Do you ever take for granted that you have access to Scripture 24/7? How can you cultivate a heart of gratitude for the privilege of accessing the Bible?
  3. When was the last time you rejoiced in your salvation? What does that look like? 

Pray This

Today, let’s try praying through this passage. Jesus fulfills all of these promises, and as His disciples, He allows us to share in His work. Start here and continue on your own from what you read: 

“Lord, you are sovereign. You anoint Your people to proclaim good news to the poor. You send them to bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…”

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4 thoughts on “Isaiah 61”

  1. Isaiah issues the greatest exchange in all of history through the Savior of the world! The poor get good news, the broken-hearted are covered with hope, captives & prisoners are freed, the mourners are comforted with beauty, those who despair a garment of praise, and the disgraced an inheritance of everlasting joy. These remarkable, unprecedented acts are to display the splendor of our God who delights in rebuilding, restoring and renewing. What hope and victory await the believer who participates in the great exchange!

  2. Isaiah 61:1 – This is what God did for me in His grace and mercy 14 years ago on October 13, 2008. He liberated and set me free from the bondage of my sin.

    The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners, Isaiah 61:1

    At age 50, at the apex of my self righteousness and hypocrisy – my world fell apart (Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked, you reap what you sow…) and Jesus met me as I stood up to my neck in my sin and and wretchedness and told me He loved me…He forgave me…and He wanted a relationship with me.

    That day I was set-free. The freedom and liberation I experienced has been like NOTHING else I’ve experienced in my entire life. His love and mercy that I so – did – NOT – deserve flowed over me and set me free. Amazing thing is, I didn’t even know I was in bondage. I didn’t know that I was obsessed with pleasing man before God; I didn’t know my entire identity was caught up in being a rock-star at work and gaining the approval of others. I was blind, and now I see.

    What timing that this, the day before we celebrate His birth – we read what He was born and anointed to do. Lord God, continue to set the captives free…

  3. BUT GOD so rich in mercy “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) …” Ephesians 2:4-5. He made the way because of that Hesed loved!!! So amazing!!!

    Thank You God for how much You love!! Thank You for providing a way so that I can be with You for all eternity. Thank You for giving me eyes to see others as You want them seen, ears to hear You and a heart to love those that You place in my path. I thank You for fruit hanging from my tree love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Thank You for an amazing day of rejoicing with others about Your Son’s birth so that all of this is available in Jesus name amen.
    WOOHOO!!! 1000 hallelujah and 1000 more!!!!!

  4. v7 you will receive and inherit a DOUBLE portion…I am all about DOUBLE blessings, how ‘bout you??!!! 🙌🏻
    What a phenomenal passage for the eve celebration of our Savior’s birth!! If this reading today doesn’t stir gladness and joy into your heart, then go find William Daly and hear his testimony in person!! Just WOW!!! WOOHOO, Amy!! Such a great commentary and testimonies of joy and excitement!
    May you all have a wonderful celebration today during your gatherings at HC! I’ll be listening! Merry Christmas! 🎄🎁 👼 🙏🏻

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