“The LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. . . . to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and . . . to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor . . . and everlasting joy will be yours.” (Isaiah 61:1–2, 7, NIV, emphasis added)
News headlines and images highlight a world in need of everlasting JOY.
Oppression. Poverty. Hunger. Disease. Cruelty to children. The list goes on and on. We seem helpless to stop the tide of evil and despair.
What does the Lord think as He watches what happens to those who are helpless and vulnerable—many of them children—as they endure what no one should? This is not what God created us for. Before sin entered our world, God knew He needed to make provision for the lost and brokenhearted.
Scripture reveals God’s heart for the disadvantaged and oppressed with numerous instructions for Israel to care for the poor, the orphans, the widows and strangers (Deuteronomy 10:18–19). He is the helper and defender of the fatherless and oppressed (Psalm 10:14–18), our Rock of Refuge (31:2; 71:3) and Strong Tower (61:3). He rescues, protects, provides, and saves.
So, in “the year of the Lord’s favor” Christ stepped down to earth to be our provision. JOY-filled hallelujahs rang throughout the hillside, for our Savior was born (Luke 2:10–14).
Christ spent much of His earthly ministry touching and healing the broken and hurting. While in Nazareth, Jesus read from Isaiah announcing that He had come to bring “good news to the poor” and to set the captives free (Luke 4:18–19). Ultimate provision came through Christ’s death on the cross for all who believe.
But what of today? Because injustices still exist, Jesus calls us to comfort and care for those who are often overlooked (Matthew 25:40). This Christmas, as we celebrate Christ’s provision for us, what are some ways you can respond with compassion to those who are needy and help carry their burden?
One day, Christ will return again to right all wrongs and everlasting JOY will be the song of our hearts!