Ten Looks at Christ: A New Year’s Meditation on Isaiah 61:1–3

Ten Looks at Christ: A New Year’s Meditation on Isaiah 61:1–3

Robert Murray McCheyne said famously and wisely: “For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Jesus.” On this last day of 2017, we spent our Sunday considering the person and work of Christ from Isaiah 61:1–3.

This sermon wraps up a three-part series on Isaiah 59–61 and encourages us to look to Christ as we enter the new year. Indeed, whether we are coming off a great 2017 or a horrible 2017, we need to remember the gospel as we enter 2018. And today’s sermon aimed to help us do that.

You can listen to the sermon here or read the sermon notes. Discussion questions and additional resources can be found below. May Christ grow large in your eyes and your hear in 2018.

Isaiah 61:1–3

1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion— 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; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

Discussion Questions

  1. What have been your chief encouragements and/or questions from Isaiah? How does knowing the background to the coming of Christ help you know, worship, follow Christ?
  2. Read Isaiah 11:1–2, 42:1, 61:1–3. What is the relationship between these three Spirit-anointed figures? (Cf. Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 10:1)
  3. Who is the person anointed by the Spirit here? How do we know? Read Luke 4:18–19 and Acts 8:32–40.
  4. What do we learn about Jesus in this passage? In what ways does Jesus ‘fulfill’ these words (see Luke 4:16–21)? In what ways are we awaiting further fulfillment?
  5. From Isaiah 61:1–3, what do we learn about the gospel? What promises most encourage you as you reflect on 2017 and look ahead to 2018?
  6. How will you grow in 2018 in your knowledge Christ?

Additional Resources

On the New Year

On Isaiah 61

On Robert Murray McCheyne

Here are a few resources from and about Robert Murray McCheyne.

You can also find McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan here, along with a devotional by D. A. Carson keyed to McCheyne’s plan.

Soli Deo Gloria, ds

Video by Gunnar Gunnarsson