The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is On Me

61: 1-2a

   DIG: Why did ADONAI anoint Jesus Christ? What does it mean to bind up the brokenhearted? To proclaim freedom for the captives? To release the prisoners from darkness? To proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor? What is the Good News?

   REFLECT: Who does Me refer to in 61:1? Why? How do these verses relate to your experience of the Good News? Do you have to have the gift of evangelism to preach the Good News? Saint Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach the Good News at all times . . . and if necessary, use words.” Are you good news to others?

    On the timeline of human history, there are four pivotal events that stand out and shine above everything else because of the tremendous impact they have had or will have on the world. Each of these most significant events in history has marked or will mark the end of an age or era of time. The first three events are the Creation, the Flood, and the First Coming of Christ, including His death and resurrection. The fourth event is the Second Coming of Yeshua Messiah. While many important events have taken place in history, none are of equal significance to these four.

    Much of what we read in the Bible has to do with the history of man on earth. The Bible says very little about ages past or the ages to come. Nearly 50 percent of the Bible’s 66 books cover man’s history, about 25 percent of the Scriptures contain instructions on how ADONAI wants us to live, and about 25 percent of the Bible is prophecy, some of which has already been fulfilled. It’s interesting to note that each of the four pivotal events is part of a titanic conflict between God and Satan for the devotion of mankind. The first three events made a significant impact on the generations that followed. The fourth event, Christ’s return, will do the same.

    The first two chapters of Genesis highlight the creation of Adam and Eve, who were composed not only of a body and mind but also an eternal soul. Right after creation, we have the fall, or the sin of Adam and Eve. They were created holy but were given a free will with which to choose to obey or disobey the LORD. Their disobedience plunged the world into sin and corruption, and over the next thousand years, the world became so corrupt that God used the Flood to destroy everyone except Noah and his family, a total of eight souls.

    The third pivotal event was Christ’s First Coming and His death on the cross. The cross, which is easily the most famous and recognized symbol in the world, speaks of more than just Christ’s death. It also points to His sinless life and more importantly His resurrection, which has made our salvation possible. When Jesus gave Himself to die on the cross for the sin of the whole world he ended the Dispensation of the Torah (see my commentary on Exodus Da – The Dispensation of the Torah), and introduced the Dispensation of Grace (Acts 2:1 to Revelation 19:21). That age will end with the next pivotal event, the Second Coming of the Messiah.244

    It is also important to know that the TaNaKh contains four types of messianic prophecies. The first type deals with the First Coming only (7:14). The second type deals with the Second Coming only (63:1-6). The third type combines the First and Second Coming into one picture without indicating any gap of time in between (here in Isaiah 61:1-3 and Zechariah 9:9-10). A fourth type spells out the entire redemptive ministry of the Messiah. It includes the First Coming, the gap, or the Church Age (which the Bible says was a mystery to the righteous of the TaNaKh in Ephesians 3:1-10); the Second Coming, and the messianic Kingdom (Psalm 110). Here, in 63:1-3 we have the third category that blends the First and Second Coming into one picture.

    The Spirit of Adonai ELOHIM is upon Me because ADONAI has anointed Me (61:1a CJB). Here, the entire Trinity is evident (also see 42:1, 48:12-16 and 63:7-14). This is the third example of the Trinity in the TaNaKh: The Spirit (God the Holy Spirit) of Adonai ELOHIM is on Me because ADONAI (God the Father) has anointed Me (God the Son). Again, there are three Persons and no more. He has sent Me to preach the Good News to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor (61:1b-2a). Here, He combines statements that He made earlier in the book (11:2, 42:1, 49:8 and 50:4-5) all into this verse. Christ has been anointed for five reasons.

    The first reason is to preach Good News to the poor (40:9, 42:1, 49:2, 50:4 and 61:1b). The Hebrew word basser, to preach the Good News corresponds to the Greek word for Gospel. This verb occurs at critical places in Isaiah (49:9, 41:27, 52:7, 60:6), dealing with the hope of the nation. But here, Christ brings the Good News that only He is able to do. The poor are the downtrodden and disadvantaged, helpless in themselves and at the mercy of powerful people and adverse circumstances. But also in a larger sense, it describes all those in trouble for any reason, including sin (Psalm 25:16-21). As Yeshua would say later (Matthew 9:12-13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31-32), He had not come to preach Good News to those who were comfortable and in control, but to those who were lost. To such persons, ADONAI’s victory over all those that is holding them in bondage is Good News indeed.

    The second reason is to bind up the brokenhearted (61:1c). To bind up means to bandage. The reason He came was to deal with the sin issue in our lives. Brokenhearted covers any and every human breakdown, emotional prostration, or conviction of sin (57:15). Messiah would gather the brokenhearted and bandage them together. The same word, habas, figuratively speaking of Israel’s sick and injured condition earlier in the book, Isaiah said: From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness – only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil (1:6).

    The third reason is to proclaim freedom to the captives (61:1d). The captivity is that of sin. The words He uses here are similar to that of the Year of Jubilee, in which the Jewish slaves were to be set free (Leviticus 25:8-13, 27:17-24). Now while Jewish slaves were to be set free, this was one of the areas of the Torah that Israel was found to be in disobedience (Jeremiah 34:8-11). Only a King greater than all the other kings who hold their subjects captive could make such a decree.

    The fourth reason is to release the prisoners from darkness (61:1e). The verb release, paqah, means to open the eyes. The repeated form here, (peqah-qoah), would mean wide-opening of the eyes, or the bringing of spiritual prisoners out of the dark dungeon of sin into the light (42:7). Speaking of the Messianic Kingdom earlier, Isaiah had said: In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see (29:18, 35:5). Therefore, before the Messianic Kingdom starts, all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26), during the Millennium He will free millions upon millions of Gentile prisoners from their sin.

    And the fifth reason is to proclaim the year of ADONAI’s favor (61:2a). The repetition of to proclaim indicates that Isaiah is dealing with the same subject from a different point of view. In 61:1 the declaration touched on the human side - freedom, release – but now it has implications on the divine side. The Hebrew word to proclaim means to announce beforehand. This is what we see in Matthew 13 and the parables of the Kingdom. When Yeshua read this passage to His hometown synagogue in Nazareth, He stopped in the middle of the sentence after the word favor (see my commentary on The Life of Christ Ch – The Spirit of the LORD is On Me). He said: The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:18-19).

    By doing this, He was showing that His ministry would be divided into two advents, or two comings. In His First Coming He did the things mentioned in Isaiah 61:1-2a and John 3:17. In His Second Coming He will do the things mentioned in Isaiah 61:2b-3, John 5:22-29 and First Thessalonians 1:7-10. When He returns as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5), He will bring judgment on unbelievers (Micah 5:15; Revelation 19:15-20). It will be the day of vengeance (Isaiah 34:8, 35:4, 61:2b, 63:4). But Jesus Christ will also comfort Israel, for she will have undergone great persecution during the Great Tribulation in the preceding years (Dan'iel 7:21-25; Rev 12:13-17).


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