Verse of the Day Devotion. Isaiah 61:1
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives, And freedom to prisoners.” – Isaiah 61:1
In Chapter 60, Isaiah speaks of the blessings that will come to the city of God that it’s people will enjoy. Now in Chapter 61 he will speak of the one who will bring these blessings. Putting it another way, after having described the city with the light reflecting from it, he now speaks of the light itself. There is a part of this focus verse that helps us understand who the light is. Note the words in our focus verse, ‘The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me’. Specifically the word, ‘me’.
Now, in the Luke’s gospel, Jesus speaks these words in the synagogue. He had arrived in Nazareth where He grew up and because it was the Sabbath, He went to the synagogue. “And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 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 liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.” Luke 4:17-20. There was probably more that was said by Him, but these are the words Luke chose to write in his gospel due to its importance. But the main point is what He was promising.
Now, there is no indication in Isaiah 61 regarding who the ‘me’ was referring to, but the key factor to be noted is that it is God who empowers and directs this person through the Spirit. Thus the Anointed One is doing tasks assigned by God (for he was sent by God), and the power of the Spirit will guarantee that he will successfully accomplish the will of God. And this list given by God is detailed. And what is this list? In our focus verse, the prophet announced the good news of God’s restoration for the people of Israel: “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
We may not see here in our focus verse who the ‘me’ is but seven centuries later, Jesus Christ began His public ministry in the synagogue of Nazareth by opening up the scroll of Isaiah and applying this passage to Himself. And how does He do this? After reading Isaiah 61:1-2, He rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and began His message by saying, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:21b. In essence He was saying, I am the person here spoken of; and at this present time the Spirit of God is upon me; I am anointed with the Holy Ghost, and now preach glad tidings to you as well as and all the good things here mentioned. Also, all the endings proposed in this Scripture has its full accomplishment which has been read unto you; that you have heard this day. And the Jews themselves acknowledge, that these words are spoken of the Messiah.
Jesus Christ, our Messiah, brought the good news of salvation to the poor, the needy, and the spiritually barren, that is, all who were corrupted by sin. Before salvation, sin separated us from God. Without Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we would all be eternally lost. But Jesus came to set us free from the fear and power of death. The corruption of sin that had left us spiritually crushed was overcome by the work of Christ on Calvary. Christ’s redeeming sacrifice opens the way for us to experience His glorious resurrection life. Accepting His salvation is our greatest spiritual need, and that is why it is such good news: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5. We were all brokenhearted, helpless, and separated from God before we received Christ’s gift of salvation. But now we have peace with God because of the Messiah who came to provide us with the peace that God offered to us. And as a final point, we know He is the light for Jesus says He is. “Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.