Good News

Friday, March 07, 2014, 4:25 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “Songs in the Night” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 61 (NIV).

To Proclaim Freedom

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news

What is this “good news”? Jesus Christ, the one to whom this passage is referring as being anointed of God to proclaim the good news, is the Son of God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human flesh, suffered as we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are tempted, yet without sin. He was despised and rejected of humankind, a man of sorrows and acquainted with suffering (See Is. 53). He was hated so much by the religious leaders of his day that they had him hung on a cross to die, as though he was a criminal. Yet, when he died, he took upon himself the sins of the entire world. He crucified and buried our sins with him, and when he rose from the dead, he triumphed over Satan, hell, death and sin. Amen!

… to the poor.

So, who are the intended recipients of this “good news”? This passage indicates that they are the poor, but did Jesus come only for the poor of this world? – No! God so loved the world (that is everyone) that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him might have eternal life (See Jn. 3). God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (See 2 Pet. 3:9). As well, in the book of Hebrews we read over and over again that Christ died “once for all.” Jesus died for the sins of the entire world, not just for a select few. So, who are these “poor”? The word translated as “poor” here literally means “meek” – humble, afflicted, needy – i.e. those who recognize their need for God. Did Jesus preach only to the humble, though? – No! Yet, it is those who are humble and meek of heart, who know they are in need of help, who will be the ones to receive the gospel of salvation, so in that sense, those are the intended recipients of the “good news.”

… He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…

Jesus was also sent to bind up the brokenhearted. This word literally means “broken; crushed; in pieces; shattered (in heart).” If something is broken it can be lacking parts necessary to be complete; lacking order or harmony; imperfect; not whole; not in working condition; lacking continuity; destroyed, etc. (See Encarta Dictionary). Truly this is a picture of all of us when we are still in our sin. We are destroyed, split apart, separated from God, not in harmony with him, and spiritually devastated without him. Jesus came to heal us, to make us whole, to restore us to himself, and to secure us in Christ Jesus unto salvation from our sins. And, he continues to encourage, strengthen, help, guide, nurture and comfort those of us who are his in our times of sorrow, grief, and in times when our hearts are broken - hurt by the sins of others, or even by our own sin and rebellion against him; hurt by death or illness of loved ones, by injustice or betrayal, or over the sinful condition of mankind, or the adulterous condition of Christ’s church, or just generally by the trials of life.

to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners…

He was also sent to proclaim freedom and release for captives; for those who are prisoners to sin, who are still walking and living in darkness, and who have not yet come into his light. This message of freedom and release is the essence of the gospel of our salvation. Jesus Christ did not come just to give us the hope of heaven, but he came to set us free of bondage (slavery) to sin, so that we may be free to walk in victory over sin, and be free to walk in fellowship with him, in obedience to his commands, and in his righteousness and holiness daily, while we still walk the face of this earth. If we are not getting this message, i.e. that the purpose of our salvation is not just to give us the hope of eternal life in heaven, but it is to release us from our prisons to sin while we are still here on this earth, then that is truly not the “good news” we are hearing, but is a false gospel and a false hope, too.

… to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God…

When Jesus quoted this passage of scripture, during his time of ministry on the earth, he left out this last sentence concerning vengeance (judgment), yet he did not leave that subject out of his teaching. He spoke of it often, warning the people that false religion, commitment to forms of religious practice only, good works only, hypocritical faith, and/or no faith at all would land them in eternal punishment or in the lake of fire, without God, and without hope if they did not come to him in true faith, forsaking their lifestyles of sin, and if they did not give HIM their lives in submission to his will, surrendered and obedient to his commands (See Mt. 6:13-14, 24-27; 11:20-24; 12:38-45; 13:36-43, 47-50; 15:1-20; 18:1-9, 21-35; 21:33-44; 22:1-14; Mt. 23-25, Jn. 9:23-25, etc.). And, there are many more passages of scripture, where he gave similar messages, which are not listed here.

So, when people tell you that Jesus went around just “loving on” everyone, and that he accepted everyone right where they are, for who they are, and that his message was all love and grace, don’t believe them. Jesus told his brothers that the world hated him because he told them that what they did was evil. That is why the people killed him. His message was grace to the repentant and to the humble of heart (good news to the poor), but it was a message of judgment to the religious hypocritical liars, to those following the gods of humankind, and/or to the unbelieving. And, that is still his message today.

For Those Who Grieve

…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 splendor…

Now, this is truly Good News! When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, by God’s grace, and we allow the Spirit of God to transform our hearts away from lifestyles given over to self and sin to lifestyles given over to following after Christ and his righteousness, he changes our repentant sadness to joy, our grief over sin to peace in Christ, our darkness to light, our gloom to praise, our despair to hope, and our weakness to strength, endurance and steadfastness; and our bondage to freedom. We now live our lives, no longer for the praise of humankind, but for the praise, honor and glory of our creator, Jesus Christ. Amen!

Priests and Ministers

And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God…

This is awesome! Not only does Jesus save us from our sins, give us the hope of eternal life with him, free us from our slavery, turn our sadness to joy, and our weakness to strength, and put a new song in our hearts – a song of rejoicing over his great salvation – but he then makes us into his kingdom priests and ministers of his love and grace. The Spirit of the Lord is now upon us, and is inside us, and is welling up inside of us unto eternal life. Now we have been anointed by God to preach (share) the good news with those willing to listen; to bind up the brokenhearted, to preach freedom to the captives, and to tell about God’s grace. We also must warn of judgment and hell, because his salvation from sin also means deliverance from eternal punishment.

In other words, we are to do what Jesus did. We are to give much the same messages as what he taught. We are not God, but we are his representatives here on this earth, thus we are his witnesses, commanded by God/Jesus to go into the entire world, and to make followers of Christ of the people of all nations, baptizing and teaching them to obey Christ and all that he commanded us. So, this is what we must do.

And, all the glory and praise and honor are to go to God; to Jesus Christ, for all that he has done! Amen! He is our Savior, our Lord, our healer, our comforter and our joy!

Songs in the Night / An Original Work / December 18, 2013

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,
And the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84

Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.

I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!

Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.

I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!

Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.

Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!