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Jesus: Our Everlasting


Peace: Good News for the Afflicted

Friday, December 15 | by Dr. Aaron Son

Today's Reading

Isaiah 61:1-3

Throughout life, we inevitably encounter moments of affliction, sorrow, and pain. During these challenging times, we may find ourselves encircled in darkness, devoid of hope for a brighter future. Within the depths of our afflictions, however, we discover a glimmer of light and a promise of restoration and renewal within the words of the Prophet Isaiah.

When Isaiah spoke these words, the Jewish people were enduring severe hardships. Their cities were repeatedly plundered, their young men, wives, and children were carried away into captivity, and their hearts were crushed and burdened by sorrow (During Isaiah’s lifetime, the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians, and the southern kingdom Judah was constantly threatened). To this afflicted community, Isaiah announced the arrival of the servant of the Lord, who would bring good news to the afflicted and restoration to the desolate land.

The mission of the Servant of the Lord is a divine exchange wherein God will take our sorrow and pain and offer us His grace and peace in return, all for His glory.

The mission of this servant is to bind up the brokenhearted, to set free the captives and the prisoners, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and to comfort all those who mourn. He will trade mourning for the oil of joy and despair for the mantle of praise. It is a divine exchange wherein God will take our sorrow and pain and offer us His grace and peace in return, all for His glory.

Scholars often debate whether the servant of the Lord represents Isaiah himself, Israel, or Jesus. In the mind of Luke, the Evangelist, it is clear that the servant of the Lord refers to Jesus. He, therefore, reports that Jesus, during his visit to a synagogue at Nazareth, read Isaiah 61:1-3 and declared that Isaiah’s prophecy had been fulfilled on that very day (Luke 4:16-21). This is what we celebrate each Advent and Christmas: God anointed His Son and sent Him as His servant to bring good news to the afflicted, redeeming the broken hearts and restoring the broken world.

We live in a tumultuous world. We are inundated each day with a constant stream of distressing news of wars, natural disasters, and tragic accidents. We hear about the people who are suffering in afflictions, enduring the weight of oppression, captivity, and poverty, and carrying the heavy burden of profound sorrow. It often appears that our world has descended into chaos and disorder, leaving little room for hope for the future.

However, there is a glimmer of hope for those who place their trust in the goodness, sovereignty, and unwavering faithfulness of God, who sent His Son as His servant to redeem His people and to restore His world. This servant of the Lord will bring forth beauty from ashes and nurture oaks of righteousness. Peace has come with Christ, and its fullness will come as promised - He will complete the work of redemption and restoration when He returns. As we celebrate the Advent of the Servant of the Lord, may the Lord give us a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of despair!

Dr. Aaron Son serves as a Professor of Biblical Studies at Dallas Baptist University.

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