Thoughts on Isaiah 61

As the Babylonian exile of God’s people ends and their hope of returning to the promised land begins to be realized, the word of God through the prophet Isaiah promises hope, joy, freedom to the captives and restoration of life. But just what did that mean? What does it look like? When the messiah comes to bring these great gifts will it finally be a time for Israel to be restored to glory? Will they finally get all that their hearts desire and all the power, riches, and honor they deserve? With the Spirit of the Lord upon the messiah will there be any stopping them? Imagine the disappointment that awaited when Jesus Christ showed up as messiah. Instead of elevating Israel with power and riches, he proclaimed the kingdom of God’s forgiveness and mercy, so that all that Isaiah had spoken had to be rethought. Really, however, the gifts of God in Christ - forgiveness, life, salvation - are priceless and beyond all worldly value so that they are far more precious than power and wealth. These gifts cannot be bought, but can only be given in Christ through the Holy Spirit.