Isaiah 61





words of our Lord in Luke 4:21, “This day is this Scripture fulfilled in

your ears,” preclude the application of this passage to any other than the

Lord Himself.


v. 1 – “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me” -  literally, the Spirit of

the Lord Jehovah (Adonai Jehovah) is upon me . In the original announcement

of “the Servant” it was stated that God had “put His Spirit upon Him”

(Isaiah 42:1). The sanctification of our Lord’s human nature by the

Holy Spirit is very explicitly taught in the Gospels (Matthew 1:20; 3:16; 4:1,  

Mark 1:10, 12; Luke 1:35; 2:40; 3:22; 4:1, 14, 18-21; John 1:32, 33; 3:34).

The Lord hath anointed meThe “anointing” of Jesus was that sanctification

of His human nature by the Holy Spirit, which commenced in the womb of the

blessed Virgin (Luke 1:35), which continued as He grew to manhood (Luke 2:40,

52), which was openly manifested at His baptism, and never ceased till He

took His body and soul with Him into heaven.


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vs. 1-3 - "to proclaim the acceptable year of the

            Lord... the day of vengeance comfort all

            that for ashes...the oil

            of joy for mourning...the garment of praise for

            the spirit of heaviness"


What better tidings?


Of all the immediate consequences of our Lord's mission

the gift of the Spirit is the most precious, embracing

regeneration, sanctification, comfort, strength & gladness!


To give the Holy Spirit to Christians was the main object

of His coming.


"the planting of the Lord that He might be glorified"


Nothing gives so much glory to God as the proved

righteousness of saints!





A company of faithful men, who persistently and

determinately "eschew evil and do good", who lead

holy lives and "shine like lights in the world",  "adorning

the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things" and are the

"salt of the earth"


v. 2 – “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. An “acceptable

year,” or “year of acceptance,” is a space of time during which God would

be pleased to accept such as repented and turned to Him. It is, of course,

not intended to limit the space to a “year.” The space is rather the term of

our sojourn here below – “The day of vengeance” - The “day” of vengeance

is contrasted with the “year” of acceptance, to indicate God’s long-suffering

and patience towards sinners (comp. Isaiah 34:8; and see also Exodus 20:5, 6).

To comfort all that mourn”; i.e. all who “sorrow after a godly sort”

(2 Corinthians 7:11) — all who mourn their transgressions and shortcomings,

theirsins, negligences, and ignorances,” with a hearty desire to be rid of them,

and to serve God truly in the future.


v. 3 – “To appoint… to give” -  The latter expression is a correction of

the former, which was not wide enough. Messiah is sent to give to the

godly mourners:


  • “beauty for ashes”; or “a crown for ashes,” i.e. a crown of glory in lieu

      of the ashes of repentance which it was customary to sprinkle upon the



  • “the oil of joy for mourning”; or the anointing of the Spirit in lieu of

      that plenteousness of tears which naturally belonged to mourners; and


  • “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” - or a glad heart

      inclined to praise God, in lieu of a heavy one inclined to despair. Christian

      experience witnesses to the abundant accomplishment of all these purposes.



“That they might be called trees of righteousness” -  literally,

oaks of righteousness, or strong and enduring plants in the garden of God,

planted by Him, in order that through them “He might be glorified- Nothing

gives so much glory to God as the proved righteousness of His saints. The

planting of the Lord; i.e. “which He has planted” and caused to grow, and

rendered righteous. The righteousness, though it is their own, an indwelling

quality, has nevertheless come from Him (comp. Isaiah 60:21).










ISRAEL. Having proclaimed the objects of His own mission, “the Servant”

proceeds to declare God’s gracious purposes towards Israel. Taking the

Captivity period for His standpoint, He promises, first, the restoration of the

cities of Judah (v. 4), and then a flourishing time in which Jews and

Gentiles shall dwell together in one community peacefully and gloriously,

Israel having a certain pre-eminence (vs. 5-9).


v. 6 – “But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord” -  By the

covenant made at Sinai, Israel was to be “a kingdom of priests, and an holy

nation (Exodus 19:6). Had they risen to the height of their calling

when our Lord and His disciples offered them salvation before offering it to

the Gentiles, they might have “been in the midst of the heathen who had

entered into the congregation of Jehovah and become the people of God,

what the Aaronites farmerly were in the midst of Israel itself”


v. 7 - "everlasting joy shall be unto them" -The speaker passes on in his

thought to the time of the “new heavens and the new earth,” which he

regards as continuous with that of Israel’s return.


v. 8


v. 9 - "they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed" - The blessing has

passed in the main to “the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16).





v. 10 - "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall

            be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with

            the garments of salvation, He hath covered me

            with the robe of righteousness"


God clothes Israel with “righteousness” derived from Himself” –

(see Isaiah 54:17)


There is rejoicing for the plan of salvation - Atonement, forgiveness,

reconciliation, renewal of the Divine image in man, the hope of eternal

life "incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away,

reserved in heaven FOR YOU" – I Peter 1:4





v. 11 - "the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise

            to spring forth before all the nations"


"the Lord is good, His mercy endureth for ever"s




                                    ADDITIONAL NOTES



v. 2 - THE COMFORTING OF MOURNERS. It was indicative of the

tenderness of Jesus, that in His life on earth He had ever such great

compassion for mourners. In His Sermon on the Mount He assigned to them

the second Beatitude, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be

comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Thrice only in His ministry does he seem to

have come across actual death, and then each time He had such pity on

those who mourned their dead, that He worked miracles on their behalf,

and comforted them by raising their lost ones to life again (Mark 5:22-42;

Luke 7:12-15; John 11:32-44). After His resurrection, He hastened to comfort

the women who mourned Him, by special appearances to them (Matthew 28:9;

Mark 16:9). These, however, were but samples of His power and of His good

will. Through the long ages that have elapsed since He founded His Church,

mourners have ever found in Him a true and potent Comforter. Through Him

it is that Christians “sorrow not as they that have no hope” (1 Thessalonians

4:13); through Him that they have resignation, and are able to say, “The Lord

gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the Name of the Lord;”

Job 1:21 - through Him that they look to receive their dead again raised to life

(Hebrews 11:35), and to be joined with them in a land where there is no parting.





  • Such rejoicing is good for Christians themselves. It makes them realize

            their blessings and their privileges, and take as it were a firmer hold on

            them. It helps them to make light of the small trials and hindrances that

            more or less beset every one, and that, if dwelt upon exclusively, may be

            magnified until they assume very undue proportions. It actually increases

            the feeling of joy, and so the feeling of happiness, for every active

            principle within us is strengthened by being exercised.


  • Such rejoicing has a beneficial effect on others. It attracts them to

            Christianity in the same degree that a gloomy presentation of the

            Christian religion repels them. It wakes responsive echoes in their hearts.

            It stirs up latent and undefined longings in their souls. It leads sometimes

            to inquiry and conversion.



  • Such rejoicing is, further, for the glory of God. God wills that His saints

            should praise Him and rejoice in Him. Such rejoicing sets forth His power

            and His goodness. It is a proclamation to angels and to men that “the Lord

            is good, and that his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 136:1). It is

            borne through the empyrean, and enters into the courts of heaven, and

            wakes angelic sympathies and intensifies angelic devotions. It is an

            offering of a sweet savour to God.