Isaiah 61: God is After Your Good & His Glory

This last Sunday I preached on Isaiah 61. The chapter is resplendent with how the promised Messiah gives everlasting joy to those in desperate conditions. Luke 4 shows how Jesus is this promised Messiah, and the gospels as a whole testify to how Jesus in the power of the Spirit embodies Isaiah 61:1-3 and brings joy to the depressed, mends broken hearts, comforts the mourning, liberates those in captivity, and proclaims the good news of the kingdom in word and action.

Therefore the ultimate goal of the joy and restoration that Jesus brings to the broken is the glory of God.

The mission of Jesus brings restoration to human brokenness in all its forms–physical and spiritual. He helps the helpless, makes the weak strong, the unrighteous righteous (Is. 61:10), and proclaims good news to those with nothing but bad news. In other words, Jesus’ aim is to usher in God’s goodness and favor and increase the happiness and joy of sinful humanity.

But the big sentence of verses 1-3, accelerating with God’s goodness to humanity, culminates in the phrase that he may be glorified. God’s gracious goodness in putting the world to right and imparting joy to sinful people in the person and work of Jesus are a means to his glory. This means that God isn’t only after your good (though he is pursuing that)–he’s after his glory. Therefore the ultimate goal of the joy and restoration that Jesus brings to the broken is the glory of God.

Jonathan Edwards, doing what he does best, elaborates on how God seeks the good of sinners and the glory of himself:

God in seeking his glory, seeks the good of his creatures…And in communicating his fulness for them, he does it for himself; because their good, which he seeks, is so much in union and communion with himself. God is their good. Their excellency and happiness is nothing, but the emanation and expresion of Gods’ glory: God, in seeking their glory and happiness, seeks himself: and in seeking himself, i.e. himself diffused and expressed, (which he delights in, as he delights in his own beauty and fulness,) he seeks their glory and happiness. [A Dissertation Concerning The End for Which God Created the World, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 1 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, reprinted from an 1834 edition in January 2003), 105.]

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