ADVENT STUDY: Those Whom God Appoints, He Anoints. { Day 8 }

Advent Study: He is Faithful: Public Entry into Ministry

READ: Isaiah 61; Luke 4

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.”  {Luke 4:18-19}

Just after Jesus was baptized, and his ministry was affirmed and blessed by God in Luke chapter 3, he ventured into the wilderness. It says that the Holy Spirit led him to the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for 40 days.  When the devil tempted him, he used God’s own words to try to deceive Jesus.  He saw a need Jesus had, and made an offer to fulfill it…just in the wrong way. He took what was true and good, and manipulated it to his advantage.

As Jesus returned from the wilderness back to his hometown, quite a stir had been created.  It says, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.  He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him,” {Luke 4:14-15}.  On the Sabbath, he went into the synagogue in Nazareth and as he stood up, someone handed him the scroll on which Isaiah 61 was written.  As he read the words, prophecy was being fulfilled in their midst.

The Spirit of the Lord is on 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 Lords favor,  {Luke 4:18-19}.

This was a moment for which the Jews had been waiting.  These words, which Isaiah wrote by way of prophecy, were now brought to this audience by way of history.  This was Jesus’ entrance into his public ministry.

In these key verses, Jesus gave a full account of the work he came into the world to do.  He also, thereby, gives us a full account of the work He intends to continue through those who belong to Him.  We can read these verses as Christ’s proclamation to the world of what He came to do, and also as the mission He is passing onto us.

  • First, He shows how He was qualified: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” This is also what qualifies us to go out into a broken world and proclaim God’s love and truth.  His Spirit is upon us.  We do not go alone.
  • Second, He told how He was commissioned: Because he has anointed me, and sent me…” Our qualification leads to our commission; those whom God appoints for any task, He anoints as well.   You, my friend, are appointed, anointed, and sent.
  • Third, He explained to what He was called. What would He do, and what was His mission?  To be a prophet, to preach, to bring deliverance, to give sight,  to heal, to comfort, to redeem, and to let the world know that this was “the acceptable year of the Lord.” This alludes to the year of jubilee, or “release”…which was a year in which all of one’s debts were canceled and they got a fresh start.
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What good news is this to the world?  We are broken, lost, captive, blind, and in debt.  And God came in the form of a man to meet every need, to unravel every mess, and to wipe our slates clean.  How do we carry on this ministry?  I know we can all think of someone in this very moment who needs to know this love and grace and freedom.

Where do we begin?  We start back where He started.  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.  He has anointed me.  He has sent me.”  We stop trying to do His work in our strength. 

Rest assured that He will speak to you if you will make time to listen.  He will tell you where to go, to whom to speak, and to whom to just listen.  He will tell you when to pray for someone and when to just hug them.  He will show you who is blind and needs sight, who is in bondage and needs deliverance, and who is broken and needs healing.  He is the answer to every broken heart.  And this, my dear sisters, is the time of year when broken hearts feel the most pain.  But it is through these cracks in people’s hearts that we get to shine God’s love.

I think it’s interesting that when Jesus read the scroll, He stood.  But when He started teaching, He sat.  He got down at eye level.  He became one of them.  He looked into eyes, and not overheads.  He is calling us to do this.  To sit with people.  To look up from our busyness and into their eyes.  To see their needs.  And to shine His love in the darkest places, keeping in mind that the darkest places might be where we least suspect them.  Maybe just right around the corner.

Jesus came to tell the world that He is for us.  He brings peace, love, joy, kindness, and gentleness to all.  Will you bring it too?

 

REFLECT:
  • Ask for God to show you someone who is blind….not physically, but spiritually.  Someone who needs Him and doesn’t see that they do.  Begin praying for this person’s eyes to be opened to His love and truth every day.
  • What does it look like to be a captive?  To be stuck in sin and not know a way out?  Thank God for a sin you were captive to and rescued from.
  • Do you think most people view God in this light, as one who came to rescue them and set them free?  Or do they think of Him as a judge and rule-maker?  How can you show the Isaiah 61 proclamation of who God really is and why He came to earth?
PRAYER:

God, thank you for everything you are.  Thank you for bringing us good news when we were poor, for setting us free when we were captives, for giving us sight when we were blind.  Thank you for your favor and deliverance in canceling out all of the debts we had stacked up against us.  Help us, by the power of your Holy Spirit, to carry on the work you came to do.  We believe in your mission and we join you in it.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Elizabeth Oschwald
Elizabeth Oschwald
I’m Elizabeth, wife to an industrious, handsome fixer-upper {I mean…he fixes things, not he needs to be fixed} and Mom/Stepmom {a.k.a. Imma} to 6 amazing kids. I homeschool the ones I hatched myself, and we live on our family farm in central Illinois. I love to write about our real-life experiences, how Jesus is in everything, and how God can redeem even the biggest messes in the most beautiful, unexpected (and very Brady) ways. You can read more about my crazy crew at www.AddingJoy.com!

2 Comments

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I know what you mean, Deanna- it’s hard for me too! I think that I know when I’m letting go by how attached I am to the outcome of my actions. I don’t know if that makes sense… but when I’m trying to influence things to go in a particular direction, I think that is usually me working in my own strength. When I just love God, love others, and do my best to obey His word…but leave the results of my actions to Him… that’s giving up control. The hard reality is that we can do everything “right,” and still suffer. And sometimes it seems like others who do everything “wrong” don’t reap any consequences. Doing His work in His strength is just obeying, without expectations, and without comparing our choices to those of others. I hope this helps 🙂 Bless you as you pursue Him, sister!!

  2. Deanna says:

    ‘We stop trying to do his work in our own strength.. ‘ I’m finding this hard to do. How do we learn to let go? And how do we know when we are letting go and letting God.. ? I’m finding it hard to let God..

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