What is a garment of praise (Isaiah 61:3)?

Isaiah 61 talks about a garment of praise worn by God's people. The garment of praise is a metaphor for being clothed in thankfulness and praise for the Lord. A garment of praise is visible to all who see you, and it covers everything you do. Imagine the joy that lives inside the person who so glorifies his Savior that it clothes him like a garment!

This passage is essentially Jesus' mission statement, describing what He has come to earth to accomplish and giving us a glimpse into His heart for His people. Within this passage is a promise that Christ will give His people "the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit" (Isaiah 61:3). This phrase is among a list of similar phrases, proclaiming how Christ will bring life to His people. This passage reveals that Jesus is working to bring healing and restoration to our hearts: He wants His people to be joyful and whole.

Jesus gives us a better understanding of this passage when He went to teach in the synagogue in Luke 4. Jesus reads,

"'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good new 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.'

"And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, 'Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing'" (Luke 4:18–21).

Jesus identifies Himself as the Anointed One who would bring good news, proclaim liberty, comfort the mourning, and give the oil of gladness and garment of praise. However, He makes an important distinction between His purposes in the first and second coming by pausing in the middle of verse two of Isaiah 61. Jesus' ministry on earth brought in "the year of the Lord's favor," and we have yet to see "the day of vengeance of our God." This also means that we do not see the perfect fulfillment of Isaiah 61:2b–4 until Christ's second coming.

Today we get a taste of the comfort of our Savior, the beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit, but these promises will only be completely fulfilled when Jesus comes to the earth again.

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