“...to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.” (Isaiah 61:3)
Fall in New England is one of the most beautiful sights to behold. I moved here 17 years ago and I am still in awe of how beautiful the trees are when the leaves change colors. What is interesting about this change is that the beauty of the leaves only comes from the death of the leaves. The leaves change color to show the world they are dying. We all benefit from this because we can gaze upon the beautiful array of colors.
This change to the fall season always reminds me of the death of Jesus. Through the death of Jesus, our mourning is turned into praise. When we put our faith in Christ, we no longer wear the ashes of the heartbroken; rather, we wear the beautiful headdress of the redeemed.
Jesus quoting from Isaiah 61 said in Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Those were some of the first words Jesus spoke publicly during his ministry. He was claiming to be the one the prophet foretold who would turn our ashes and mourning into beauty and praise. The death of Jesus made this possible. His death brought beauty to a world covered in ashes. His death on the cross was a loud proclamation that death does not have to be the end. Death does not have to be a time of mourning. Death can be beautiful because of Jesus.
Question: Have you thought about the death of Christ and what it means to you?
Challenge: Read Isaiah 61 and compare it to what Jesus did for us.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for turning our mourning into praise.
Ryan Reveley, League Coordinator -- Appalachian League