Isaiah prophesied about the coming days of the Messiah, when the Lord’s favor would be poured out upon His creation. Jesus used these very same words to launch His public ministry in Luke 4. In Isaiah 61, we read:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61.1-3)
What strikes me on a Monday morning is the amount of despair, captivity, darkness, ashes, and grief there is among God’s creation. Who is to blame for the horrible state of creation, a creation in such need of deliverance and good news? Upon whom will the “vengeance of our God” be unleashed?
To mourn means “to feel or express grief or sorrow.” Is it possible for the feeling of comfort to replace the feeling of sorrow if we are not aware of the reason that grief has filled our hearts in the first place?
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matthew 5.4).