Isaiah 61:1-7

             All of Scripture is God-breathed and his self-revelation.  Yet, there are some passages of the Bible that, although not any more significant, control other parts of Holy Scripture.  I call these “boss” verses; they are sections that bring light and authority to the entirety of the Bible.  Today’s Old Testament lesson is a “boss” section of Scripture.  It both encapsulates the message of the Bible as well as projecting an intentional focus of life and ministry for us.
            “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… to comfort all who mourn.”  The Lord Jesus picked up these verses and read them in the inauguration of his ministry to his fellow Jews in the synagogue.  He did so because God’s message would be fulfilled in the person of Jesus.  This, then, is an overarching message which is like a big tent idea that controls all of Holy Scripture.
            There ought really to be no doubt, of even the casual reader of the Bible, that God is deeply concerned with the poor, the needy, the grieving, and the spiritually destitute whose souls require hope and rescue.  Jesus proclaimed the year of the Lord’s favor; he preached the good news of God’s kingdom.  He blessed the poor in spirit and those who mourn.  Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, Christians have a message of good news to proclaim.  Just as Jesus came in the flesh to rescue the needy, so we who have been delivered from sin’s prison, are to embody the message of redemption to others in desperate need of rescue.
            Who is in need of God’s good news in your relational sphere of influence?  How might you bring Christ to them both in speech and in the flesh?  What needs are in their lives which Jesus might fulfill?  Will you intentionally and fervently pray for them every day for the next two weeks?


            Merciful God, your grace has saved me from myself and an empty way of life.  May I never lose sight of what you have done for me.  Anoint me to proclaim the good news of Jesus so that many others might be rescued from their desperate plight.  Amen.

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