Has 2018 Already Found You Wanting?

Has 2018 Already Found You Wanting?

I don’t know about where you live, but in the world outside my window it’s c-c-c-cold. These days we’re happy if the temps rise above zero. Our landscape is covered in white, with fresh coatings usually once or twice a week. And on the days the sun shines, the angle of its rays results in mood-elevating brightness for about eight hours.

Maybe it’s this fresh clean look that stirs hope this time of year.

For at least the first few weeks of the new year, we grab hold of the fresh start, grateful to let the regrets and disappointments of the old year disappear into the past.

So here we are at two weeks in and some of us are already feeling the let-down. The real world has begun to hint that what we hoped 2018 would bring, may not show up.

Do you think we may have forgotten what—or Who—it is the satisfies our real longings?

Jesus made quite a statement in Luke 4:21 when He proclaimed that He was the fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1-2. In doing so, He undeniably identified Himself as the Messiah.

And you know what’s interesting? Most people thought He wasn’t qualified. And most of those that initially did, ended up greatly disappointed within three short years.

But we know now. Don’t we? Jesus, the Son of God, the fulfillment of all the prophecies, satisfies all our needs.

We know. But do we believe? Really?

I had wanted to do a short series on the things Jesus promised He came to do based on the passage He read that day.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Luke 4:18-19 (ESV)

I thought there were only a handful of items to study. But as I looked at Luke’s passage, and took a closer look at Isaiah’s prophecy, I found a few problems. Though I believe it’s all true, it doesn’t match up exactly. Furthermore, Isaiah’s list of promises the Messiah would deliver is much longer than what Jesus read. I assume Jesus only needed to read a small portion to get His point across.

So then I thought I’d dig into Isaiah 61. But it is such a rich passage that giving the passage justice would require months of discussions.

So, I decided to make a simple verse-by-verse outline for you.

In the outline, each verse mentions those things we so desperately need, followed by the ways Jesus, the Messiah, meets those needs. Each promise made in Isaiah 61, and the promise Jesus made in Luke 4, is consistent with other promises in Scripture, some of which I’ve included in the outline. So the outline, given at the bottom of this post, follows this format:

For those who are _____
Jesus, the Messiah will/has _____
Additional references

Here’s how you can use the outline:

Skim the list, identify your own needs, and then check out the verses that reveal the ways God promises to meet those needs. The list of references is by no means complete.

If you’d like, you can also comment or send me a personal message, letting me know if you’d like me to dig deeper into any particular area.

Frankly, seeing these needs met, requires a bit of faith on our part.

That really shouldn’t surprise us if we’re honest. How many times have we doubted God’s ability or interest in meeting those needs? Furthermore, some of these needs will not be completely addressed until we enter our eternal home.

And just like the people of Jesus’ day, I have a feeling most of us expect God to fill these needs in ways quite differently than how He plans to fill them—ways He knows will truly satisfy us, even when it makes no sense to us.

For example, God has deep feelings for the poor and those who suffer injustice. He has strong words for those who inflict this kind of suffering on others. Yet, He never puts an end to it. He promises an end, but He seems to do little to bring it about. I have some thoughts on this, but this is not the time to discuss them. I am curious what you think about this, though.

I think what it all boils down to is whether or not we believe that Jesus is the fulfillment of our every need.

Do we trust Him to take care of us—and our children?
Do we look at the news reports and truly believe He’s got it all under control?
Do we live each day in peace and confidence that Our Shepherd will never leave us in want?
Do our choices reflect that we believe He is who He says He is?

If you have found yourself already this year wanting something else—something more—take some time and look at the outline below. See if any of the truths Jesus promised to personally deliver will lighten your world.

Like a fresh new coating of snow.

Isaiah 61 says …

For those who are _____
Jesus, the Messiah will/has _____
Additional references

Isaiah 61:1

Proclaim Good tidings (the Gospel)
Luke 4:18-21; Matthew 5:3, 5, and 6; 6:11; and 14:13-21; Philippians 4:19

Heal/bind up wounds
Psalm 34:18; 147:3; Luke 4:18-21; Matthew 5:4

In Bondage/captivity
Luke 4:18-21; John 8:36; Romans 6:18; Gal 5:1

Isaiah 61:2 …

In Debt
Proclaim acceptable year of the Lord; Forgiveness; Release from obligations
Luke 4:18-21; Leviticus 25:8-55

Mourn/In Sorrow
Luke 4:18-21; Matthew 5:4; Psalm 30:11

Isaiah 61:3 …

In Ashes/Loss/Ugliness
Exchange for Beauty
Psalm 30:11; and 34:5

Give Oil of joy
Luke 4:18-21; Matthew 5:4; 1 Peter 1:8;

Spirit of Heaviness
Exchange for a Garment of praise
Psalm 42:11; Matthew 11:28-30

Bestow new names – Trees of righteousness, Planting of the Lord
John 15:5; Psalm 1

Isaiah 61:4 …

Dealing with Desolation/Destruction/Ruin
Isaiah 58:12; Ezekiel 36:33-36; Acts 1:6-8; Psalm 23:3; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 2:4-5

Isaiah 61:6 …

A Sinner/Rebel
Give additional new names – Priests of the Lord and Servants of God
1 Peter 2:9-10; Ephesians 2:13

Isaiah 61:7 …

Give double honor
Psalm 34:5; 1 John 1:9; Romans 9:33; and 5:4-5

Lacking /Insufficient
Give everlasting joy
Matthew 5:5, 6; Ephesians 3:20; Philippians 4:19

Isaiah 61:8-9

Victims of Injustice
Establish an everlasting covenant
Matthew 5:10; Luke 4:18-21; Isaiah 55:3; 1 Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 8-10

Isaiah 61:10

Cover us with garments of salvation and a robe of righteousness
Ephesians 6:13-17; 2 Corinthians 5:21

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