The Opened Prison
by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D.
"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." (Isaiah 61:1)
The Lord Jesus appropriated this beautiful verse of the prophet Isaiah to Himself, preaching from it one day in the Nazareth synagogue and proclaiming: "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears" (Luke 4:21). Note that He came to preach the gospel to the meek, not the arrogant, and to bind up the brokenhearted, not the hardhearted.
He also came to set the captives free. This was not, however, to deliver the Jews from Roman bondage as many had hoped, but a far greater deliverance. In the Hebrew, the phrase "opening of the prison" is only one word (a doubled word), and it occurs only this one time in the Old Testament. When Christ quoted it in the synagogue, He actually expanded and interpreted it as follows: ". . . recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised" (Luke 4:18).
The "prison" which Christ came to open is evidently a spiritual prison, a binding of the soul, a blinding of the mind. "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36)—free from the bondage of sin, translated, "out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).
There was also another prison, a very real prison, deep in the heart of the earth to which He came. While His body slept in the tomb, His spirit descended into Hades where the spirits of all who had died in faith were awaiting Him, and "when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and . . . ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things" (Ephesians 4:8, 10). HMM