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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Moseley

Beauty for Ashes - Garments of Righteousness

Updated: 7 days ago


Early in Jesus's ministry, he made his first visit back to the town where he grew up, Nazareth.


There in the synagogue on the Sabbath day, he stood and read a short passage from Isaiah 61.


Afterwards, he sat down, and as everyone there stared at him, he told them that this 750+ year old prophecy had been fulfilled that very day.




This is what he read:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me;
because the Lord hath anointed me
to preach good tidings unto the meek;
he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,

Aren't you glad that Jesus didn't come seeking the perfect and righteous?

Jesus didn't come to applaud those that have it already all figured out.


No, he was anointed by the Father to come and declare good news to the poor, humble, meek, broken, distressed, captured and imprisoned.


Our sins have bound us.

We are imprisoned by them.

We have no righteousness to plead before a Holy God.

We are, at best, poor beggars who need mercy.


We are exactly the ones that Jesus came to seek, find, and deliver.


If you can see that you are sinner today,

then you have something to rejoice about . . .

because your eyes have been opened to the reality that you are not sufficient

and that you need deliverance from your sins,

which Jesus has already provided on his Cross.


Isaiah 61 continues explaining the Christ's purpose:

to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,
to give unto them beauty for ashes, Isaiah 61:3

Back then, it was common to put on rough clothing (sackcloth) and sprinkle ashes on your head as outward signs of grief. The beauty being given in exchange for the ashes is an ornamental head dress like something a bride or a groom would wear for a wedding.


he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation,
he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments,
and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10

Jesus, who is the God of all comfort, came to comfort those that are grieving

 and to change mourners into a people prepared for a great wedding.


Your clothes of grief and shame have been exchanged for a robe of Jesus's own righteousness.


Let us rejoice in the Lord and in his mighty work of mercy today.



Today's Reading


Isaiah 61:1-3 & 10-11

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me;

because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek;

he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,

and the day of vengeance of our God;


to comfort all that mourn;

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,

to give unto them beauty for ashes,

the oil of joy for mourning,

the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

that they might be called trees of righteousness,

the planting of the Lord,

that he might be glorified.

. . . .


I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,

my soul shall be joyful in my God;

for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation,

he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,

as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments,

and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.


For as the earth bringeth forth her bud,

and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth;

so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.


Learn More:

Elder Jonathan Moseley - Sermon: Beauty for Ashes & Isaiah 61

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