December 15 🌟 God’s Favor (Isaiah 61:1-11)

Read Isaiah 61:1-11

A girl holding a cardboard sign that reads "BLESSED"

We may recall Jesus reciting the opening words of this passage in Luke 4. Jesus ends with these words before sitting down, “the time of the LORD’s favor has come.” Isaiah prophesied about the LORD’s favor, and then Jesus proclaims the words had been fulfilled that very day.

Certainly, we do see Jesus as the one appointed to bring good news to the poor. We think of Jesus’ earthly mission as a care ministry, bringing peace and wholeness to those he encounters. What do we see when we read these same words with our Advent eyes?

Jesus said the LORD’S favor has come, and then he closed the scroll. Did Jesus bring that favor with him? He was mid-sentence when he finished reading. Why? The words that follow are a bit gloomy, “and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.” So, what does that mean, “with it” being God’s favor?

Are we still living in a time of God’s favor? Certainly, we have not witnessed God’s wrath in the same way generations before us did in the Old Testament. Is God’s wrath yet to come? What will it be like to see God’s anger burning against our enemies?

We can look forward to the coming Christ, realizing that on that day our enemies will be left quaking in their boots. Their hay-day will be over. Judgment will befall everyone, not just the righteous. That’s why it is so important to be ready for Jesus’ return.

Resurrection is promised for all people, too. Everyone will be raised physically from the dead on the last day. (Acts 24:15) The difference is that Christians will be raised to everlasting glory; those who don’t trust in Christ will have a different experience.

Jesus said following Lazarus’ resurrection in John 11, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.” It is trusting a promise like this that sets us apart as Christ followers. We have the confidence in our future that those living in darkness can’t even imagine. Our eternity with Jesus is a gift to behold.

We don’t need to wait until that final day when Jesus returns. We can live our lives now in alignment with God’s will for us. How much better God’s plans for us could ever be! We don’t have to worry, only trust. Our focus should be on Jesus and living a life that honors and pleases him. It’s not a duty. It’s a privilege.

Think about how it would feel to spend eternity with anyone other than Jesus! What can you be doing to ready your heart for Jesus’ coming during this time of God’s favor?  

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray. Lord, thank you for a new day and a new opportunity. There is so much potential laying ahead of me. How are you going to use me today? Help me set aside all distractions so I can spend quality time with you and truly relish your presence. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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