Mission Defined: Jesus and Isaiah

Mission Defined: Jesus and Isaiah

Mission Defined: Jesus and Isaiah.

“So Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. And when He opened the scroll, He found the place where it was written…” (Luke 4:16-17, paraphrasing Isaiah 61:1-2).

That’s right, the Holy Spirit of Yahweh has anointed me, your home town boy! Yes, I am the Messiah, the “Anointed One.” The Spirit fell on me at my baptism not long ago, and that was my official anointing for this ministry of the Lord. In fact going back to the beginning, I was even conceived by the Holy Spirit, right here in Nazareth! It was a miracle. And so in many ways I have been anointed since birth, and the Father has simply been waiting for the right time to send me on my mission. So the time is now! The year of God’s grace has come! Yahweh has accepted this time period as the one “when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound.” (Amplified Bible).

So this is the time for the spiritual Jubilee. This is the reality of what God hinted at back in Leviticus 25 with the Jubilee year: the time when debts were cancelled and slaves went free. The time when prisoners of war were released and everyone is freed from their oppressive burdens. I am the Messiah, and I have come that you may have your spiritual Jubilee, a time when you are set free by a gracious God to start over with Him in the spirit of redemption and blessing.

The prophet Isaiah has defined my mission well:

  1. To preach the Good News to the poor.” In Isaiah 61:1, “poor” means humble or meek. So I am giving words of hope to the poor in spirit, those who are spiritually bankrupt, hopelessly poverty-stricken in their spirits. In fact, I hereby promise that the poor in spirit, the empty and helpless, will receive the Kingdom of heaven and become spiritually rich. I am here to tell the lowly that they will be held in honor, and will receive all the blessings of God’s new world. I will seek out the humble to tell them that they will be raised up to a new life of fullness and new-found strength.
  2. “To proclaim liberty to the captives.” In Isaiah, “captives” referred to prisoners of war, or by extension anyone in bondage to sin because of our ongoing spiritual war. I will minister unto those who are casualties of our war with Satan and with sin. I will release all those who are battling their demons and those who realize they are in bondage to their sinful nature. I will grant a full pardon to all these victims of hidden warfare, to these prisoners held captive by the enemy. During this time of favor and blessing, all prisoners will be liberated from sin and Satan. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Everyone who sins is a slave to sin. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:32-36). If you are in bondage to sin, you indeed are a slave to sin, you are imprisoned by sin. And in this spiritual Jubilee, I will release the slaves and set the prisoners free.
  3. “To heal the brokenhearted.” Some historical manuscripts omit this phrase from the Luke passage. But the original Isaiah 61:1 reference includes this phrase, so in keeping with some NT translations and the Isaiah reference, this phrase will be included here. As Messiah, I will heal those who have had their hearts broken by rejection, by loss of loved one, by shame or guilt or failure. I will bind up those who are broken by the state of the world and its presence of sin and wickedness and pain. I will mourn with those who mourn, and my heart will be broken by whatever is breaking your heart as I come alongside you. I will personally bring the Good News of salvation and healing, and so we will mourn as those with hope. My tears will absorb your tears as I offer my comforting and healing presence to your misery.
  4. “To proclaim recovery of sight to the blind.” This phrase was added to the passage in Luke, and is in the spirit of the spiritual Jubilee. To all you who are spiritually blind, I will open your eyes to see the truth and goodness of the Lord and His Kingdom. Since you are helpless to take off your blinders by yourselves, I will remove your blinders personally. You simply can’t make yourselves see without my help. I will open your eyes to see the reality of God and His love. And to make sure this important truth is understood, I will heal every physically blind person who comes to me in my ministry. All of these physical healings of the blind will be a sign of what I will do spiritually to those who allow me to do so. I will cure your blindness to the depravity of sin, to the depth of your sinful nature, to the hope of God’s salvation. And then finally, you will truly see and believe. “Everyone who believes in me will not remain in darkness.” (John 12:45).
  5. “To set free those who are oppressed.” The “oppressed” in Isaiah is intended to include anyone who is downtrodden, burdened by life’s difficulties, bruised by the system, broken down by some calamity. I will deliver you from these spiritual bruises, from whatever may be weighing down your spirit. I will come to encourage you and help you rise above life’s travails. If you feel oppressed in any way, I will deliver you and set your spirit free. “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.” (Matthew 11:28-29). So come to me during this acceptable time of blessing and favor, all you who are oppressed in some way, and I will be your liberator.

“Then He rolled up the scroll, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4:20-22).

Thinking Further: Those words from Luke 4 and Isaiah 61 seem ripe for the possibility of evolving into some new beatitudes in the spirit of Matthew 5. Please consider these:

a. Blessed are the poor and helpless. You will shout for joy when you are humbled by life and left empty-handed. For when you are dependent on God, the Messiah is here to offer you spiritual riches. He will give you hope and courage as He replaces your poverty with fullness of life. Congratulations! You are now ready to leave your destitute condition and enjoy the Kingdom of God. The Anointed One will fill your spiritual bank account.

b. Blessed are the captives, for you will be set free. You who are prisoners of war and exiled to another land, I will release you and bring you home. Happy are you who are imprisoned to your sinful nature. I will break those bonds and set you free to follow the goodness of the Lord. How fortunate you are when you are captured by Satan or sin, for I have come to break the enemy’s chains, kick the demons out of your spirit, and liberate you from your bondage. Congratulations! With the Messiah, you are no longer a slave to sin or a prisoner of the enemy.

c. Blessed are the brokenhearted, for you will be healed. You will sigh with relief when you find yourself broken by rejection or loss, by shame or guilt or failure. You are most fortunate because the anointed Messiah is ready to heal your woundedness, to comfort you in your sorrow. Happy are you when you realize you are not alone in your broken grief. He will be present with you in the midst of your pain, He will join you in your despair. The Anointed One will offer his comforting grace and healing presence, and you will revive and be restored to full health.

d. Blessed are the blind, for you will see the truth. You who are unable to witness goodness or beauty will soon see the purity of the Lord. How fortunate you are when you realize you’ve had blinders on. You can now pursue God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. Congratulations! When the scales from your eyes have been removed, you can see a whole new world of light and love. When the Messiah opens your eyes, you can follow in the footsteps of the Master. Happy are you when you accept that you have been looking, but unable to see. The Messiah will heal your eyes.

e. Blessed are you when you are oppressed, for you will be set free from your oppression. How fortunate you are when you are burdened and downtrodden, for you will have your spiritual burdens lifted. You will be released from whatever is weighing your spirit down. Congratulations! When you are feeling the bruises of life’s difficulties, you will experience healing and encouragement in your spirit. Now that the Messiah is here, and His blessings abound, you will find rest for your souls.