The Year of the LORD’s Favor (Isaiah 61)

Scripture Text:

Isaiah 61

(Click the Scripture text to open the text in a new window.)
Additional Comment:
When Jesus was ready to announce Himself and His mission, He began with a dramatic quotation of verses 1 and 2 of today’s passage (Luke 4:18, 19). Notice that He stopped in mid-sentence, before He reached the phrase “the day of vengeance of our God”. Jesus taught that this day of vengeance would indeed take place, but at the time of His second coming, not His first.
 
1. In your family chores or in your work situation, what is the dirtiest job you have to do? What clothes do you wear to do it?

2. When you celebrate special occasions, what clothes do you wear? How do these clothes affect your mood?

3. When you were very young, what did you expect adulthood would be like?

4. What good news is the prophet bringing to the poor, broken-hearted and grief-stricken?

5. During times of grief, people would put on sackcloth and cover themselves with ashes as a sign of their mourning. With what will God replace these garments?

6. Are the promises in verses 4 – 7 primarily material or spiritual in nature? Why? Priests were supported by the gifts of the worshipers, so what is the implication in verse 6?

7. How extensive is this priesthood? Who are the worshipers? Why is God going to do this for the people (verses 8 and 9)?

8. Verses 10 and 11 present the people’s response to the Lord’s promises. In what way are they like a bride? A garden? What emotions are these images meant to convey?

9. Who does “me” refer to in verse 1?

10. What stories from the Gospels Jesus’ ministry in terms of verses 1 – 3? (See Luke 4:18, 19 – for example.) How do those verses relate to your experience upon hearing the good news?

11. Do you feel as though you are “wearing ashes” or are you “trying on new clothes”? Why? In what way do you especially want to see God bring this freedom to you?

12. How do you feel about being called a priest? What would it mean for you to live like a priest this week? What is one specific way your small group or church could pray for you in this regard?

13. In your response to God’s promises, are you like a person preparing for marriage, or one wondering whether to go out one a second date? Why?

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