April 20, 2015
Isaiah 61:1, 2
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
In Luke 4:18 and 19 Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1 and 2 in the Nazareth synagogue at the beginning of His ministry. It is a great mission statement describing His work over the next three-plus years. Isaiah was given this prophesy concerning the Messiah about 700 years before Jesus arrived on the scene:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me
to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who
are bound, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance
of our God….
Let’s take this prophecy statement by statement, comparing it to Luke 4:18 and 19, and see how it describes the ministry of the Lord.
• Isaiah 61:1 – “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me….” As the ancient Apostle’s Creed states, “He was conceived by the Holy Ghost….” But at Jesus’ baptism 30 years later, it is recorded in Matthew 3:16:
Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water;
and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God
descending like a dove, and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came
from heaven saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Luke 4:14 says that following Jesus’ temptation which occurred right after His baptism, “…Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit….” Everything He did in His earthly ministry was “in the power of the Spirit”! He said in John 8:28, “I do nothing of Myself….” It was always as He was led by the Holy Spirit!
That is how we are to live our lives as Christians – constantly empowered and led by the Holy Spirit! (See Isaiah 30:21; Acts 16:6-10; Romans 8:14).
• Isaiah 61:1 – “…because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor….” Anointed implies something put upon another thing, as when a king was anointed with oil at his calling (see I Samuel 10:1; 16:13).
But we as Christians have a greater privilege. We are not just anointed by the Holy Spirit, but permanently indwelt by Him when we receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. (See Romans 8:9; II Corinthians 1:22).
And why did God anoint Jesus with the Holy Spirit? And why do we have that same Holy Spirit within us? We are called to preach – to share, to witness – the good tidings (the gospel) to the poor! Who are the poor? In Matthew 5:3 – the first of the Beatitudes – Jesus identified the poor as those who are “…the poor in spirit….” Why are they poor in spirit? Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:1 that those who do not have Jesus Christ as their Savior are “…dead in trespasses and sins….” If you have no hope of eternal life – if you only have the prospect of eternal damnation in hell – then you are indeed poor, no matter how rich you are! As the Lord said in Mark 8:36, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? ”
God loved the whole world enough to give “…His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). He now wants to love the world through you and me! And He wants us to tell others how they can also be saved! You are anointed – you are indwelt – by the Holy Spirit. Will you tell others by the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit about the salvation God has so richly provided us?
• Isaiah 61:1 – “He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted….” We are all brokenhearted before Jesus comes into our lives! But there are many who are brokenhearted over the troubles of life that they experience even after they become believers – issues of health, finances, relationships, addictions, etc. Jesus Christ not only came to give us eternal life but, as He said in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life…more abundantly.” What is the abundant life to which He is referring? Paul gives us the answer in Galatians 5:22 and 23 (NIV): “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” If these nine manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit abound in our lives, what troubles can possibly break our hearts? Is it any wonder that Jesus gives this invitation in Matthew 11:28:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is
We will continue on Wednesday to explore this great mission statement of the Lord Jesus Christ.