030 | Time is Now



The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, 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 mighty oaks, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
Luke recorded in his account of Jesus' life that on a Sabbath Day in Nazareth Jesus stood before everyone in the Synagogue and read aloud from this passage in Isaiah (Luke 4:19-20). Notice where he stopped reading. Jesus stopped right after the words "in the year of the LORD's favor." As we can see the passage goes on to say "and the day of vengeance of our God." We will come back to this.

So part of the reason Jesus came to earth was "to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor" and ultimately, "the day of vengeance of our God." Jesus came here to tell us that there will be a time period of grace and a time period for the destruction of evil. These periods of time are described as a year of grace and a day of vengeance. In the light of New Testament Scripture one can not take these time periods literally, only figuratively. A long period of grace and a short period of vengeance.

Ok, vengeance is such a loaded word in our day and one that I still struggle with in the Scriptures. I do not have a complete understanding of why God would describe his justice this way, but I continue to search the scriptures and keep words like these in context of what I have learned about God from the whole of scripture and Jesus himself. To me the day of God's vengeance is simply the point in time when all evil will be destroyed by God. This may be an elementary understanding of what is meant, that in time I will see more clearly, but that is where I am right now.

So why didn't Jesus read aloud the rest of this passage? Why did Jesus stop just before the announcement of the coming point in history that God will destroy all evil?

When Isaiah originally spoke these words it was all about the future. When Jesus repeated these words it was about both the present time and a future time. Jesus spoke these words at the beginning of his public ministry. He quoted the Scripture that corresponded to his first and most immediate time on earth - the first coming. The rest of the sentence "the day of vengeance of our God" corresponds to his second coming. The Messiah's first coming was all about salvation and his second coming will be all about justice and the ultimate destruction of evil.

John Piper summarizes it this way: "...what Jesus says in Luke 4:18-19 at the outset of his ministry is that he is the Messiah and that he is ushering in a day of good news—a day of release and healing and liberation; and for now the day of vengeance is postponed."

The birth of Jesus was the beginning of a new age. It was the beginning of a period in history marked by release, healing, and liberation. A time of grace. We are in this time period right now. We are living during the year of the Lord's Favor. By the mercy of God we are living "in the day of salvation." Now is the time! Today!
For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)
God is listening for our call. God hears us today and God will help us. Our help has arrived in Jesus.



| More on the Essential Jesus journey. |

Photo Credit: The photo above titled "The Railway Station With A Myriad Of Trains And One Clock That Rules Them All" was uploaded to flickr.com by Peter from Wellington.

18 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this. It's really good.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Rita. Happy New Year! I appreciate your visits to my blog and the encouragement in your comments.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good looking site. I have added you to the blogroll at Simply Ecclesia. Thanks for adding me.

    When I get time, which I hope is soon, I will come back and check out your site more thoroughly... which I hope that time gets here soon. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Why do you suppose we struggle with the concept of God's vengence? If I were God (aren't you glad I'm not!?!?) I'd be pretty peeved about all the atrocities that have been committed against me throughout the millennia (ie. every sin ever committed...EVER). Do love and grace preclude sovereignty?

    I tend to believe the vengeance spoken of there is against the forces of evil. Christ conquered Satan, sin and death through His resurrection. Conquered and eliminated aren't the same thing. So, He'll finish the job next time.

    My $2.02.

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Really, really like this blog...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Amen to that. God is our Helper.

    ReplyDelete
  7. God is in control. Of everything. Nothing cathes Him by surprise. There is no such thing as a Plan B with God. He's always on Plan A.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am not sure why I have a hard time with the quality of vengeance being ascribed to God. I hear what your saying Carol and you are completely right. Since Jesus is the "exact representation" of God (Heb 1:3), and knowing Christ and his life here on earth as recorded in the bible it is just so hard for me to describe him as vengeful, God as vengeful. It is not a quality I relate to God at all. At the same time I believe the bible is God's truth so I accept it. Period. Thanks for your thoughts here Carol.

    Thank you Billy for your kind words about my blog. I appreciate it.

    It is great to have you bingkee stop by and comment again. God is the best help we could ever have, without a doubt.

    Thanks PurpleGreenPops (Paul) for stopping by and reminding us of the very important truth that Jesus is not a backup plan. He is the master plan from even before day one.

    I am so encouraged by all your comments.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Just letting you know that I moved my blog "blessings and struggles of single moms" to a new title "desperate for more of Him" on wordpress. Hope you can come by. I will be adding you to my new blogroll. Blessings, Robin

    ReplyDelete
  10. Happy New Year Brad!

    Will be back here once I meditate more on that passage. One thing I know, most of what is passed down isn't true.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This post was such a blessing. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Amen. That was a great Post!!!!! May you be blessed!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Very nice... and you are correct, The time is now.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and provoking mine!

    It is such a blessing, and a responsibility, to be living in this time.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. It is also a pivotal passage in announcing Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy and the Messiah of God.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great blog! Thanks for droppin' by mine and leaving a comment.

    I'm working on my Blogroll. May I add you? It's not a link exchange, so nothing expected in return. Please let me know. Thanks.

    Roxie

    You are invited to sign the Recovery Wall
    http://recoveryrocks.today.com/recovery-wall

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you, I appreciate your site. I'm a new blogger trying to set up a Christian blog and I really enjoy reading yours!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Glad you stopped by WINDI. I just checked your blog out and was excited to see that you added one of my devotional widgets to your blog. Excited and encouraged. Thank you for your kind words about this blog. Look forward to your future visits here.

    ReplyDelete

Popular Posts