Sermon Text | Matthew 3:13-17
Devotional Reading | Isaiah 61:1-3 (below)

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
   because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
   to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
   and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
   and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion-
   to give them a garland instead of ashes,
to oil of gladness instead of mourning,
   the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
   the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.


The reading for the third week of Advent provides a job description and a mission statement about God's intention. The themes of justice, hope, anticipation, and deliverance are spoken to the people as a reminder that God has not forgotten about them. Moreover, this job description and mission statement are fulfilled as Jesus repeats Isaiah's words (Luke 4:16-21) and proclaims that he is the one who will bring transformation and redemption to a broken world; he is the one who was baptized by the Spirit and anointed to declare good news to the oppressed and brokenhearted. As the church, we are now called to continue this mission of healing and restoration in our local context and throughout the world. We share our own testimonies of brokenness and redemption as we reach out with compassion to those in need.


1. What was Jesus "anointed" to do according to Isaiah 61:1-3?
2. How do we carry out this mission today as the church?


We thank you, O God, for all those in Scripture who have pointed to Christ: for your prophets Elijah and Isaiah, for other prophets, and for John. We thank you, too, for those in our lives who have pointed us to Christ: pastors, teachers, and friends.

Give us eyes to see him today among those who are oppressed, imprisoned, brokenhearted, or beaten down, and we will give our testimony too: how Christ releases and sets free; how he turns ashes into garlands, how he repairs and builds up what was ruined. We, too, will point others to Jesus, the Light of the world. Amen.


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