"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me to preach 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,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion--
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor."
What a wonderful Savior. He brings good news to the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives, the prisoners, the mourners, the grievers. Our God is not a God of the strong and self-sufficient. He is a friend to the meek and poor in spirit. In Mark 2:16-17, "When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Are you a sinner? Do you feel like you don't have it all together? Is your soul nearly at the point of despair? Remember that Jesus is SAVIOR. He was not sent to the world to be the great recruiter, looking for the most religious, and most talented. He was sent to the poor, the broken, the despairing, the sinner - to save us, and turn us into "oaks of righteousness" for "the display of His splendor."
I am thankful that Jesus is a Savior. That when I see my sin, and laziness, and faults, the Bible doesn't turn me away.... God's word turns me to the cross, it turns me to the Savior. I think it was John Newton who said, "I am a great sinner, but Jesus is a great Savior."
I have passed the half way point at seminary recently (47 hours down, 44 to go). I have read a ton, kind of learned Greek, and have learned a lot of good stuff. But over the past year and a half, the biggest thing that I've learned is that I still desperately need a Savior. I still need the cross, I still need a "compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6). I am still a broken sinner, needing a perfect Savior. I pray that as I cling to Christ and His cross, that my life will display His grace and kindness toward me - a great sinner.