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As the calendar turns, we look to Isaiah 61:1-3 and pause to celebrate the wonders of God's work of redemption in the past and more particularly in the present. The text from Isaiah is also what our Savior quoted and fulfilled in the synagogue in Nazareth. The words of the prophet really were the words of the Spirit of Christ speaking through the prophet about the coming Christ (I Peter 1:10-12) and that the coming Christ was anointed to preach, anointed to proclaim and anointed to appoint.
The Lord Jesus Christ was anointed to preach two things: good tidings to the meek and the binding up of the brokenhearted. In Isaiah's day, good news meant deliverance from the Assyrians and the Babylonians. But that good news was merely a precursor to the greatest news - the deliverance from the bondage and penalty of sin. Of course, if we do not see ourselves as needing good news, or in need of the binding up of our broken heart, then we will not hear the preached message of the Savior with anything approaching joy and thanksgiving. (Psalm 34:18, 19)
But if we receive the message of good news, the Savior has proclaimed five blessings for us: liberty to the captives, freedom to the prisoners, the acceptable year of the Lord, the day of vengeance of our God, and comfort to those who mourn. Captives and prisoners have no power and are subject to the control of their masters, but in the message of good news, that which held us is overcome. This liberation and blessing happens in a time that is acceptable to God, is according to His plan, and is accomplished in the pouring out of divine vengeance upon our sin-bearer. This alone is a glorious truth, but the proclamation goes further in promising comfort to the liberated captives. That is to say, we are not freed and then merely left to our own devices. We are given all that we need and especially, we are given comfort.
The promised comfort is pictured as what we would call an "extreme make-over." It is, beauty for ashes, oil of joy for mourning, and new clothes. These are not outward and cosmetic changes. Rather, they are substantive and internal. They also speak to our condition apart from the gift of salvation in Christ. In Him we are not only forgiven, but truly blessed. Indeed, the promise of Exodus 15:17, 18 is fulfilled in us. We are planted and made fruitful and strong according, again, to God's plan and for the purpose of His glory. For the Christian, every day is truly a new year's day.
So, in this New Year celebrate not merely the relative position of the earth and sun to the rest of the galaxy, but celebrate the Christian New Year every day. And celebrate your liberation from sin; celebrate your freedom from condemnation; celebrate your blessings in joy and gratitude.