16 He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. As usual, he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him, and unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written: 18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. 20 He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.” 22 They were all speaking well of him and were amazed by the gracious words that came from his mouth; yet they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
As I was meditating on today’s scripture passage, an old hymn came to my mind. ’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus was written in 1882, and still familiar to us today. It starts this way:
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word,
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
In our devotional text today, Jesus stood up in the synagogue to read a passage from Isaiah 61. This scripture is full of hope for God’s people: proclaiming good news to the poor, freedom to those enslaved, recovery of sight, and God’s favor. Jesus then sat down and said to all who were listening, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” In that moment, He took those words written hundreds of years earlier by the prophet Isaiah and applied them to Himself and His mission. He would bring the hope of the gospel to God’s people, including both spiritual restoration and physical healing.
But we live in a world where we are painfully aware of the brokenness that still exists, and we have illnesses that are not healed in this life. What do we do with the hope Jesus offers when we are confronted with suffering?
Isn’t it a blessing that the Bible doesn’t shy away from these questions? In Luke 7:18-23, John the Baptist—the one who had baptized Jesus and proclaimed Him to be the lamb of God—even John eventually found himself in prison questioning if Jesus truly was the One. John sent his disciples to ask Jesus about this, and Jesus responded with words that echo Isaiah 61. “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor are told the good news.”
There is mystery in the way God works, and His plans often don’t look like ours. But He can be trusted, and His mission will prevail. We may doubt, but that’s why I love the chorus of that hymn:
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er,
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
My prayer for all of us today is that we would remember those times when He was faithful to care for us and to answer our prayers. Then through that moment of remembrance, may He grant us the grace to trust Him more.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Think back to a time in the last five years when you trusted the Lord. What led you to trust Him in that circumstance? What was the result, both in your circumstances and in your spiritual condition?
- Consider those in your life who have been examples of trusting in God in all times. Where has their faith led them? What have you noticed about their ability to weather the storms in life?
- Trusting in God will naturally lead us on mission. Pray about the passage in Isaiah and how God would involve you in His mission to bring spiritual restoration and physical healing to His world.
Pray for the unreached and unengaged today—those who have no real chance of hearing the gospel. They have no Bibles, no churches, and know no believers. This short video unpacks the challenge and opportunity.