The Old Testament book of Isaiah is the third longest, complete literary work in the Bible – only exceeded by Jeremiah and Psalms. Commentators get a bee in their bonnets because they feel this book is neglected by the regular reader of the scriptures. Why? Because they feel like this book gives such a complete presentation of Christ. It presents a view of Jesus that is majestic and moving. There is one chapter that the commentators of old considered a “servant song” and Jesus quoted from it at the outset of his ministry. These verses present a view of what it looks like to be anointed by the Spirit of God.
The Lord God’s spirit is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me
to bring good news to the poor,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim release for captives,
and liberation for prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and a day of vindication for our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 to provide for Zion’s mourners,
to give them a crown in place of ashes,
oil of joy in place of mourning,
a mantle of praise in place of discouragement.
They will be called Oaks of Righteousness,
planted by the Lord to glorify himself.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins;
they will restore formerly deserted places;
they will renew ruined cities,
places deserted in generations past. Isaiah 61:1-4 CEB
It has been bitterly cold in Virginia this winter. One weekend Pete and I were out running errands and there was a guy sitting on the side of the road begging for money. I told Pete I just wanted to scoop him up and take him to The Healing Place – a wonderful resource for guys on the street. Any man who is cold and hungry is offered a place to sleep at night at THP, but even better – they are invited to stay and enter into the recovery process. Who wouldn’t choose this? No cost to the client, long term recovery – an opportunity to start over. I have been spectacularly unsuccessful at getting guys who really need The Healing Place to give it a chance. But Isaiah 61 does’t say the Lord has anointed me to bring all men to The Healing Place – he’s said, “bring good news to the poor”. I will keep bringing good news to the poor by telling guys about The Healing Place. We as a community support The Healing Place so that the poor can go for free. I’m glad Isaiah didn’t tell me that I had to succeed at something in order to be anointed.