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, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and a day of vindication for our God, to comfort all who mourn, 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.
We most often hear or read parts of this scripture from Luke 4:18-19. Jesus read these verses in the synagogue at Nazareth, his hometown, on the Sabbath. When we hear the verses from Luke we see that Jesus is describing himself. But when we read the scripture in Isaiah, we get a sense that the words are more applicable to us.
While the prophet, Isaiah, may have been talking about himself, we get a feeling that the scripture is talking to us and inviting us to let the Holy Spirit lead us to proclaim, bind up, liberate, comfort, provide, and give, to people that are hurting and in need.
In Luke, Jesus was talking about himself, but as Jesus’ disciples we are to join Jesus in these pastoral ministries to people. We live in a world in which there is pain, sorrow, fear, and imprisonment. The Holy Spirit invites us to join with Jesus and minister to the needs and concerns that people have in life.
Let us remember, Jesus is not only our Savior, but also our model for mission and ministry. After all, the highest form of flattery is imitation.
Holy Spirit, as I seek to follow Jesus, give me eyes to see and ears to hear opportunities to be like Jesus, so that I may proclaim, bind up, liberate, comfort, provide, and give to people and enable them to become “Oaks of Righteousness.” In the Holy name of Jesus. AMEN.
The Rev. Dr. Ron Brown
Spiritual Formation Team, Tennessee Conference