The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him, and unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written: 18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. 20 He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”
— Luke 4:17-21
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then the lame will leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute will sing for joy,
for water will gush in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
— Isaiah 35:5-6
The Spirit of the Lord God is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and freedom to the prisoners;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of our God’s vengeance;
to comfort all who mourn,
3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion;
to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning,
and splendid clothes instead of despair.
And they will be called righteous trees,
planted by the Lord to glorify him.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins;
they will restore the former devastations;
they will renew the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
5 Strangers will stand and feed your flocks,
and foreigners will be your plowmen and vinedressers. 6 But you will be called the Lord’s priests; they will speak of you as ministers of our God; you will eat the wealth of the nations, and you will boast in their riches. 7 In place of your shame, you will have a double portion; in place of disgrace, they will rejoice over their share. So they will possess double in their land, and eternal joy will be theirs. 8 For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and injustice; I will faithfully reward my people
and make a permanent covenant with them. 9 Their descendants will be known among the nations, and their posterity among the peoples. All who see them will recognize that they are a people the Lord has blessed. 10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord,
I exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness, as a groom wears a turban and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth produces its growth, and as a garden enables what is sown to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.
— Isaiah 61

Friday, December 15

Born to Heal

Scripture Reading: Luke 4:17-21; Isaiah 35: 5-6; Isaiah 61

Part of the reality of Christmas is that underneath all the lights, laughs, and gifts galore, for many people there is pain. Life hurts but God heals.

In Luke 4, Jesus stood before a crowd of Jewish worshipers and publicly read sections from the book of Isaiah. What hope was Jesus giving them? These were familiar and hopeful Scriptures for people under the thumb of ancient Rome or enslaved Jews in exile, as in the time of Isaiah. Also, if you were blind, deaf or paralyzed there is hope of future healing; which was a big deal in a culture without hospitals and modern medicine. There was even hope of healing for the brokenhearted, financially struggling and enslaved. However, if these Jews were honest, maybe a future hope seems a little too distant? Don’t we want healing now? Maybe you can relate?

They longed for God to send His messiah to bring healing and rescue asap, but they conditioned themselves to trust God in his timing. We can learn from that; as today we still live in the now and not yet of the Kingdom of God. In other words, Jesus has already come, raised from the dead, is building His Kingdom through His church but he has not yet come back. We’re stuck in the middle. That is important for us to remember, however that is not the point of the passage. Look at what Jesus does next; something jaw-dropping to everyone in ear shot.

20 He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”

Essentially, Jesus declared that He is the Christ; the long awaited answer to their prayers. The hope of heaven was sitting right in the room with them! They all knew Jesus as Mary’s son, or the carpenter’s boy who became a Rabbi, but not as the Savior of the world. Jesus took those old prophetic words, which were a distant dream and turned them into a present, living, breathing reality. Everyone in the room had to make a decision that day, ‘Do I believe Jesus is the Christ or not?”

How about you? If not, then humble yourself before God and admit you are a sinner in need of a Savior. If are a Christian though, do you realize that Jesus is with you right now in your pain; literally in the room with you as you read this? His Spirit indwells His people (Rom. 8:11)! Your Savior is close, comforting you, able to heal and has already taken care of your greatest need; the forgiveness of sins. You have real hope that no matter what pain you are now facing, it is temporary and pails in comparison to the eternal salvation secured by Jesus through his life, death and resurrection. This is Christmas hope!


Reflection Questions:

  1. What pain or struggle are you facing right now that you can present to God for healing?
  2. What are some ways you would think or feel differently if you realized Jesus is not only in the room with you, but inside you through His Spirit? What hope does this give you in the midst of sadness, pain or anxiety?


Listen To: