Isaiah 61:1-3


The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.


One of the things I have learned through the years is to let the Lord speak to me how He wants to instead of the way I expect Him to.  This morning, as Vicki and I were walking together, we were following a group of students.  They were all wearing letter jackets from their high school.  I noticed that one girl had something embroidered on her letter that was missing on all the others.  When I got close enough to read it I saw that it said: Isa. 61:1-3.  Now that was unusual enough to get my attention.


Isa. 61:1-2 has been an important passage for me for a long time.  When I first started studying music composition, I had an assignment to find a verse or two from the Bible and set it to music.  I chose this passage.  After the teacher took his first look at my setting, he pointed out that I had placed the text within the meter of my song in such a way that it kept emphasizing the word "me."  The Spirit of the Lord is on ME, the Lord has sent ME to preach good news, He sent ME to comfort the brokenhearted . . .  you get the idea.  My composition teacher thought that was wrong until I showed him in Luke 4 how Jesus chose that very passage to describe his own ministry.  I believe that when Jesus read it to the congregation in the synagogue that day he would have read it in such a way that everyone would understand that the passage was about HIM.  I got an A on the project and my teacher got a new appreciation for God's Word.


But friends, maybe we still haven't uncovered the whole truth, so let's dig in a little deeper.  The Father sent the Holy Spirit to anoint Jesus for His ministry.  And Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to you and to me.  Because of that, we should say with confidence that the "Spirit of the Sovereign LORD" is upon us.  But why?  Why has Jesus sent us His Spirit?  The answer is simple; it's so that WE can preach the good news, WE can comfort the brokenhearted, WE can proclaim freedom from bondage and release from oppression; so that WE can proclaim the truth about God's grace and judgment, and help those who mourn.  


If I still had the song, I would have to add another verse.  Live and learn . . .


--- Pastor Keith Andrews