The Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news. Isaiah 61:1
One evening in 1964, the Great Alaska earthquake shocked and writhed for more than four minutes, registering a 9.2 magnitude. In Anchorage, whole city blocks disappeared, leaving only massive craters and rubble. Through the dark, terrifying night, news reporter Genie Chance stood at her microphone, passing along messages to desperate people sitting by their radios: a husband working in the bush heard that his wife was alive; distraught families heard that their sons on a Boy Scout camping trip were okay; a couple heard that their children had been found. The radio crackled with line after line of good news—pure joy amid the ruin.
This must have been something like what Israel felt when they heard these words from the prophet Isaiah: “The Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor” (61:1). As they looked over the wasteland of their wrecked lives and grim future, Isaiah’s clear voice brought good news at the very moment when all seemed lost. God intended to “bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives. . . . [To] rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated” (vv. 1, 4). In the midst of their terror, the people heard God’s assuring promise, His good news.
For us today, it’s in Jesus that we hear God’s good news—this is what the word gospel means. Into our fears, pains, and failures, He delivers good news. And our distress gives way to joy.
Where do you need to experience good news? When has God’s good news replaced your fear and worry with joy?
God, I need some good news. I hear bad news all the time. I need to hear what You say about things. I need the joy You bring.
Jesus read from Isaiah 61 not long after He began His public ministry (Luke 4:18–19). Then He proclaimed to an astonished synagogue audience in Nazareth, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (v. 21). Interestingly, as He read Isaiah, Christ stopped before the last part of Isaiah 61:2, which reads, “and the day of vengeance of our God.” This omission was surely intentional. Jesus was likely signaling two things: He was declaring Himself to be the long-awaited One, and He was informing the people this wasn’t a time for judgment. It was the time for proclaiming good news, setting captives free, and comforting the brokenhearted. Salvation had arrived.