Third Isaiah, whose writing forms chapters 56-66 of the Book of Isaiah, speaks to those rebuilding Jerusalem and its temple after the exile. He speaks God’s compassion and liberation to a broken community. God sends the prophet “to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, to announce a year of favor from God.”
A year of favor is a jubilee year, which Leviticus 25 describes as a year when the rich must forgive the debts of the poor and restore land to those who have lost it.
Third Isaiah calls for justice and rejoicing to mark this age of rebuilding. His vision calls us Advent people to usher in this year as a year of favor from God through all that we do to bring glad tidings and healing to those in need of joy and wholeness. The Spirit is upon us to be good news to the poor and brokenhearted.
This reading includes the passage Jesus says he fulfills when he reads in the Nazareth synagogue (Luke 4). In Luke’s gospel Jesus is the Spirit-filled liberator of the poor.
Make justice spring up.
The Spirit of God is upon me,
because God has anointed me
and sent me to bring glad tidings
to the lowly, to heal
the brokenhearted, to proclaim
liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor
from God, a day of vindication.
I rejoice heartily in the Lord;
in my God is the joy of my soul;
for God has clothed me with
a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice, like a
bridegroom adorned with a diadem, like a bride bedecked with jewels.
As the earth brings forth plants,
and a garden makes its growth
spring up, so will the Lord God
make justice and praise spring up before all the nations.
Isaiah 61.1-2, 10-11
- What are your clothes of joy?
- Whose broken heart is yours to mend?