“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; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn” – Isaiah 61:1-2
These verses were first spoken as a promise of who Jesus would be and what he would do as the Messiah, the anointed one. Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord promised to us that he would send someone who would come to take care of the poor, the brokenhearted, those held captive, the mourning, the world as a whole. And the craziest, coolest thing about that is that God isn’t limited by time. God sent Jesus physically into the world thousands of years ago, yes, but because he was fully God while he was also fully man, these blessings that have been placed upon him transcend time. These promises aren’t limited to just the people who were on earth while Jesus was alive – God didn’t just guarantee 33 years of healing and justice, then deny everyone else who existed after that point. He promises these things over everyone who has ever and will ever exist. Jesus exemplified these verses in everything that he did – through every miracle, every teaching, every step that he took, he brought comfort, freedom and wholeness.
This anointing isn’t only placed upon Jesus either. Romans 8:16-17 tell us that “the Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
This means that we are coheirs with Christ – we share the inheritance of God along with him. So, these things that God has promised, that he has anointed over Christ, he also gives to us. We have been given this same anointing that is spoken over Jesus in Isaiah. We have the promise of being able to bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim the good news, and set free those held in bondage. I think so often, we get it set in our head that the things Jesus did while he was on earth are things that we aren’t capable of doing – and to a point, that’s right. In our own power, we pretty much cannot do anything Jesus did. But that’s just it – we have the Spirit of God within us, just as the disciples did when the Spirit of God fell upon them in Acts. Therefore, we have the capability to do more than we give ourselves credit for. Paul even goes on to say in chapter 12 of Romans that,
“...we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” (v. 5-6).
Through this anointing that God has placed on our lives, we get the opportunity to use our gifts and talents to make an impact on the world. A week ago, I was asked to write a mission statement for my life. I had to describe why I existed, my purpose in life, who I was with God, and it honestly was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do in a long time. But, as I finally typed out what I believed my mission in life to be, I feel like it largely encompassed the essence of what these verses in Isaiah are saying. I talked about being called to the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives and that I have an anointing to help walk with them into freedom – and I didn’t even know I would be writing this blog post at the time. I think that sometimes we get caught up in Jesus’ ministry being in the past that we at times forget that we aren’t just trying to fit into cultural Christianity. We are still called to radically change the expectations and the experiences of the world. It doesn’t matter if that looks like full-time ministry, being a stay-at-home parent, or working a 9-5 corporate job for the rest of your life, one part of our calling is always the same: to follow the example Christ set by reaching the lost and the hurting with the healing, saving, and freeing grace of God. So, take an example from that little bracelet we all wore at some point in our lives, and ask yourself:
What Would Jesus Do?
Author | Emma Whitmer