Isaiah 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 broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour 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 splendour.’ Isaiah 61:1-3

The Year Of The LORD’s Favour

This chapter tells us of the cause for a great Change.

It begins by telling us the mission of the servant, that is, the Messiah, Luke 4:18. Christ applied this verse to Himself, Luke 4:21, thus Christ is pictured as the speaker in this chapter. Christ alone possessed the Spirit of God without limitation, John 3:34.

Christ, the Anointed One comes to preach the good news of deliverance and judgment, Mark 1:1 / Mark 1:14. He comes with a message of hope for the humble, comfort for the broken-hearted, and freedom for those in bondage, Matthew 11:3-4. In place of these ashes of mourning, Christ brings the gladness of salvation.

‘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.’ Isaiah 61:4-7

Here we read of the many blessings which come as a result of the work of the servants. When the Israelites returned from captivity, the cities of Judah, which had been laid waste by the Assyrians, were rebuilt. This is but a faint picture of the blessings which Christ would bring to all mankind, Acts 15:16.

The ‘strangers will shepherd your flocks’ is probably a reference to the fact that the salvation of Christ was preached to the Jews by Gentiles.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The idea is that it would be a time of signal spiritual prosperity and that it would be so great and glorious as if foreigners were to come in among the people and take over the whole labour of attending their flocks and cultivating their fields.’

God originally established Israel as a nation of priests, though there was within Israel the Levitical priesthood that ministered to the nation of priests.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘If there had been any doubt of this chapter’s application to the reign of Messiah, the question would have been settled here. Only the members of the Church of the firstborn were ever designated collectively as ‘priests of God’, 1 Peter 2:5 / 1 Peter 2:9 / Revelation  5:10. Neither will there be a clergy distinct from the laity, for all will be called the ministers of our God.’

‘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.” Isaiah 61:8-9

God loves justice but hates robbery and wrongdoing, Proverbs 6:16-19. In His faithfulness, He blesses His people and both Jews and Gentiles are to be one new man under Christ, Galatians 3:28.

McGuiggan, in his commentary, says the following.

‘We need to bear in mind that this is all a description of the glory of the Jew. In fairness, we do not know exactly what was meant by this but it should be remembered that in the Dispensation of the Love of Christ, ‘there is no distinction’ between Jew and Gentile, none whatever. If, by the Jew, one means racial Jews, nothing could be further from the truth. Race has no bearing whatever upon salvation, neither guaranteeing it to anyone whomsoever, or denying it to anyone whomsoever!’

‘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. 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.’ Isaiah 61:10-11

These words are the words of those who have been converted, whether Jew or Gentile, Matthew 28:19-20. The attractiveness of a faithful people is described, they will be adorned in their salvation.

The fruit of the Gospel is seen in the pure and happy lives of Christians. God’s people, the church, would attract those of the world who are seeking the salvation of God.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘These verses also must be identified with the New Covenant in Christ. Only ‘in him’ is there salvation. The only true righteousness this world ever knew is ‘in Christ’ and those who wish to share in it must do so in the way God has directed. For any who hope to be clothed with the garments of righteousness mentioned here, there is one way for it to happen, ‘As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ’, and ‘putting on Christ’ is equivalent to putting on the righteousness of Christ. The righteous life pledged in the ceremony is also required.’

Go To Isaiah 62