Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Year for Divine Favor

King Jesus the Messiah has fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 53. Now we are in the time described in Isaiah 54 and these things are true for all who follow Jesus. The days of the King have begun. Therefore:
Enlarge the place of your tent,
And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;
Do not spare;
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your stakes.
For you shall expand to the right and to the left,
And your descendants will inherit the nations,
And make the desolate cities inhabited.
(Isaiah 54: 2-3)
One day Jesus came preaching in the synagogue at Nazareth, His home town. They handed Him the scroll of Isaiah. He looked for a particular passage and read it aloud:
The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.
(Luke 4:18-19, quoting Isaiah 61:1-2)
This was a declaration about the great Jubilee. An announcement about the Messiah. A proclamation about the coming kingdom of God. After reading these words, Jesus handed back the scroll and sat down to teach, saying
Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. (Luke 4:21)
The time of Jubilee, the time of Messiah, the time of the kingdom was no longer just coming — it was now at hand, breaking into the world in the person of Jesus. He was the Messiah, the one God anointed to be King. The “acceptable year,” the year of the favor of the LORD had now come into play.

In terms of eschatology (the doctrine of final things), we have been living in the year of God’s favor ever since. All authority has been given to Jesus in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18), God has “seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet” (Ephesians 1:20-22). This means that Jesus is, even now, King over all.

Some people are hoping they can just stay afloat or keep their head above water in 2012. But the people of God should be learning how to walk on water. This the year of the favor of the LORD, and the year for it to be revealed in your life. Enlarge, stretch, lengthen, strengthen, the prophet says. So here is what I say (and you can say it, too):
I enlarge my expectation, I strengthen my anticipation, I stretch my thinking and I believe the favor God has for me this year. I receive it, laying hold of it by faith. The economy, the political climate, the social situation — these are all just circumstances. But Jesus is King over every situation, and the favor of God is greater than every circumstance. And He is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power [His power, the power that raised Jesus from the dead] that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20). In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.

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