Advent - What Jesus Comes to Bring - Isaiah 61:1-3
According to the dictionary ‘Advent’ is an arrival. It’s the coming or arriving of someone or something. For the church, the four weeks leading up to Christmas are referred to as Advent and it’s a time set aside for us to think about the meaning of the coming of Christ. He came first to accomplish salvation and He’s coming again to bring the final results of salvation. Just as generations and generations of the people of God waited for His first arrival, we now wait for Him to come again – we wait with hope.
A Better Sermon on Isaiah 61 (Luke 4:16-21)
One day near the start of Jesus’s ministry He was given the opportunity to read and teach the Scriptures in the Synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth. On that day Jesus stood in front of a group of Jewish people – people who had spent their lives hearing and clinging to God’s promises to send the Messiah.
On that day Jesus read from Isaiah 61 and said something no one would have expected – He said that He is the fulfillment of this Old Testament announcement. With one sentence Jesus preached the greatest sermon on Isaiah 61 of all time.
Remembering the Context
When these words were first spoken the original audience were the people of God who had been living in exile. In many respects this announcement may seem like a promise of God to bring His people back into their land and give them the joy and peace they longed for. But both the larger context of Isaiah and the ministry of Jesus help us recognize that this is primarily an announcement about how God will rescue His people from sin and the effects of sin – bringing healing, comfort, freedom and joy.
The One Who is Sent (61:1a)
- The Son is sent by the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit
The Heart of His Mission (61:1b)
- Good news for the poor – This part of verse one summarizes the mission. Jesus comes into the world to bring good news to people who are in need and to help people are unable to help themselves. We are the poor – Christ brings hope.
The Work of His Mission (61:1c-3a)
- Jesus came to mend broken hearts – Hearts broken by sin and the effects of sin
- Jesus came to free imprisoned people – People imprisoned by sin and the effects of sin (Romans 7:15-19; 24-25).
- Jesus came to announce salvation and judgement – Salvation is offered during this age of grace, but a day is coming when God will judge all who reject Christ (John 3:16-17).
- Jesus came to comfort those who mourn – Jesus came to comfort us as we mourn our sin and the effects of sin (Isaiah 25:6-9).
- Jesus came to give joy in the place of mourning – Three vivid metaphors help us recognize how Jesus came to move us from mourning to joy. Tears are replaced by praise (Job 2:12-13).
The Results of His Mission (61:3b)
- Jesus forms a people who are strong and steadfast – Like a large and healthy oak, God plants and grows a people who are able to stand even in storms (Jeremiah 17:5-10).
- Jesus’s work is for the glory of God – All that Jesus does is so that God will receive the praise and the glory (Luke 2:10-14).
A Final Word on Advent – Over four weeks we have considered four announcements from Isaiah. In each of these announcements we have recognized things that were foretold that have already come to pass in the first coming of Christ. And yet, there are many promises that remain. As we celebrate the birth of Christ, we should rejoice in knowing that just as God kept His promise in sending His Son, all of His promises will be fulfilled. Let’s wait with hope (Isaiah 61:10-11).