Isaiah 61:1 | World Challenge

Isaiah 61:1

February 16, 2020

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.

Devotional Thoughts

By Jim Cymbala

In the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, a remarkable thing happened in the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth. Acting as the designated reader of the Old Testament passage for that Sabbath day, the Lord read these words:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor, he has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).

Jesus then followed his public reading by these astounding words: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). This famous passage from Isaiah 61 was spoken of the Messiah for whom Israel was waiting. Jesus declared himself to be that Promised One. By this he explained to his own townspeople that he was much more than merely the son of the carpenter they thought him to be.

Carefully note why Jesus was anointed by God and why the Spirit rested on him in power. His purpose was to bring good news to poor people with little earthly hope, to proclaim spiritual freedom to those bound by sin and Satan, to deliver the message of salvation that God wanted everyone to hear and experience. That is why the Holy Spirit empowered Christ so amazingly — to help sinful, needy people find their way back to God. He was not given so we Christians could have exciting meetings and moments of spiritual ecstasy, as wonderful as that might be.

The Holy Spirit was sent to accomplish many divine purposes, but at the top of the list was the empowering of God’s people to reach the world with the gospel of Christ. If we lose sight of God’s heart of love for the world — including our own cities and neighborhoods — we will experience little of the Spirit’s power, since we are on a different page from the one our Lord is on.