NAS Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners.
The little phrase “to bind up the brokenhearted” has a great wealth of meaning. Jewish readers study Isaiah 61 and see a reference about the coming Messiah. Christians reading Luke 4 recognize Jesus quoting the same passage at the beginning of His public ministry; fulfilling Messiah’s first coming. What’s most fascinating? As He finished presenting the text in the synagogue He didn’t end with a message or exposition of meaning, He just closed the manuscript, made the announcement, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” and sat down. Without much fanfare the truth of that passage had just been accomplished before every eye in the house of worship.
For humanity today that action means that the binding of the broken heart is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Healing is immediately available for use in treatment. Let’s take that little phrase and isolate a couple of the words used in the ancient Hebrew language. The word bind means to tie something up. In the context of Isaiah 61:1 the idea is of a physician wrapping up a wound for the process of healing. The word brokenhearted in Hebrew is the word “shabar.” There are various definitions used for this text: “to break in pieces, rend violently, crush, rupture, to be broken, be maimed, be crippled, be wrecked,” and to “be shattered.” Brokenhearted is more than just a simple breaking of an object into a few pieces. In fact, the meaning is stronger and more serious than the compound fracture of a human bone! In the Hebrew the word is extremely powerful—the thought is that an object has been shatter irrecoverably into a myriad of pieces. When we read, “He binds up the brokenhearted,” the burden of that verse is that Messiah heals the impossibly irrecoverable, shattered into many tiny pieces, life. Jesus is the only one who can apply the wrapping for healing an unbearably shattered (brokenhearted) situation.
J. Robert Hanson