Week of Monday, January 11 ­– Saturday, January 16
Good News – Man as an Instructor

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn” — Isaiah 61:1-2

Have you noticed that it is a whole lot easier to deliver good news than bad news? I don’t know of anyone who enjoys giving bad news. Think about it. Employers would rather tell their employees about a pay raise than tell them about a layoff. Doctors would rather give their patients a clean bill of health than a diagnosis of disease. Parents would rather tell their children that a new brother or sister is on the way than to announce, “Mom and Dad aren’t going to live together anymore.” We all would rather give (and get) good news.

Isaiah’s job as a prophet was to deliver both good and bad news just like God gave it to him. He had to tell people the bad news about God’s coming judgment in Jerusalem’s destruction and the exile to Babylon in 586 BC. But he also got to tell them the good news about God’s salvation coming decades later as the Babylonian invaders would fall to the Persians and then Old Testament heroes such as Ezra and Nehemiah would lead the exiles home to rebuild the Lord’s Temple, the walls around Jerusalem, and restore the faithful remnant of God’s people.

Yet with many of Isaiah’s prophecies, there is an ultimate fulfillment in the Lord Jesus. That is especially true with the text we are considering. In fact, the Gospel of Luke records how Jesus went to His hometown synagogue on the Sabbath, as was His custom, and He was asked to read from the Scriptures. In the providence of God, they handed Him the scroll containing Isaiah and Jesus chose this very passage to read in chapter 61. Taking on the role of a rabbi, after standing in honor of God’s word, He sat down to teach. With every eye fixed on Him in anticipation, He declared: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21).

Jesus revealed that God’s Spirit had anointed Him to bring the good news just as Isaiah had predicted. He came to preach this good news to the poor. He came to heal the brokenhearted. He came to proclaim freedom to the captives—those imprisoned by sin. He came to set the oppressed free. He came to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (see also Lev. 25:10-17). When He finished teaching, the synagogue crowd was blown away: “all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words…” (Luke 4:22). There’s more to the story, but we will leave it there for now.

As you know, it was my privilege and honor to command the Army Special Forces or Green Berets. This elite fighting force for good all over the world is motivated by the motto: “De Oppresso Liber,” which is Latin for “To Free the Oppressed.” That’s what Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would do and that is what Jesus said He came to do. Jesus saw broken people, oppressed in their prison-like circumstances, and proclaimed that God sent Him to set them free, and then He did it. He went to the cross and died to take our place and our punishment but rose in triumph over sin, death, and hell.

There is a lot of bad news in this world. We expect it and are conditioned to it. Bad news is the norm. Just watch about five minutes of the evening news if you don’t believe me. But if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you have good news to give in your role as an Instructor. It is our honor to inform people that Jesus is still on His rescue mission to liberate. He came to heal hearts, break chains, open prison doors, and set the oppressed free. Isn’t it time we deliver that Good News to a confused and hurting world?

  • Would you say that you give more good news or bad news to the people who know you? How so?
  • What would it look like for you to follow in Christ’s mission from Isaiah 61:1-2? How can you serve as one of the Lord’s “Green Beret” liberators?
  • Thank Jesus for being the liberator of the oppressed and thank Him for the Good News that He brings. Ask God to give you opportunities to give that Good News to others.