06/30/W – The Spirit of the Lord

Isaiah 61:1-62:5; Philippians 2:3-18; Psalms 2:3-18; Proverbs 18:6-7

OT: “The Spirit of the Lord God is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the Lord to glorify him. They will rebuild the ancient ruins; they will restore the former devastations; they will renew the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.” (‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭61:1-4‬ ‭CSB)

The word Messiah (mashiach in Hebrew) means anointed one. This proclamation from Isaiah was written in the voice of the Servant of God, the promised Messiah and Anointed One. In Luke 4:16-21, Luke recorded the account of Jesus standing up, finding this passage in the scroll of Isaiah, reading it out loud, and then claiming that He was the fulfillment of this scripture. One interesting thing about Jesus’ reading of this passage is that He purposefully did not read the full proclamation. The Isaiah passage says, “the Lord has anointed Me to… proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance.” When Jesus read the passage, He said that He was anointed to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor… and then He stopped and put away the scroll. Basically, what Jesus was alluding to by not completing the proclamation was that in His first coming, He was anointed to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. He was not there to bring God’s vengeance. The day of our God’s vengeance will come and Christ’s 2nd coming, at the end of this age. Currently, we are in the “year of the Lord’s favor.” This time of the Lord’s favor will last until the Great Commission is fully completed, then the end will come.

What is the year of the Lord’s favor? As legislated in Leviticus 25, at the end of seven cycles of seven years (49 years in total), the ram’s horn would be sounded announcing the year of Jubilee. At the beginning of Jubilee, the year of the Lord’s favor, all prisoners and captives were set free, all slaves were released, all debts were forgiven, and all property was returned to its original owners. It was a year of universal redemption. According to Isaiah’s prophecy, the Messiah, through the filling and empowering of God’s Holy Spirit, would be anointed to proclaim the Year of Jubilee, a time of universal redemption, freedom, forgiveness and restoration. When Jesus said, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled,” He was saying that He was the anointed Messiah and that He had come to proclaim Jubilee. His jubilee, however, was a spiritual jubilee that we are still living in today.

Those who come to Christ in faith and abide in Him by faith are filled and empowered by the same Holy Spirit of God, and share in the same Messianic anointing. As we remain in Christ by faith and obedience, all that was true of Christ is available for us to walk in. We, too are anointed to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. How do we do that? By proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom. In Christ, we are anointed and empowered to bring good news to the poor, heal the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners. Those who respond in faith to the message of the gospel that we preach will be declared righteous by God, and their old sinful nature will be replaced by a new life in Christ.

NT: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others. Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow  — in heaven and on earth and under the earth  — and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose.” (‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:3-13‬ ‭CSB)

In this passage, Paul charges the Philippian believers (and us as well) to adopt the same attitude and spirit as Christ. Jesus did nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit (empty pride and vanity), but always humbly considered the needs of others before His own. Interestingly, the Greek word that is translated here as “selfish-ambition” actually means a contentious or partisan spirit. Oh how the church in our day has devolved into contentious partisanship. Christ, before His immaculate conception and birth, was in all things equal with God. He was omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. But out of His love for us and His desire to obey the Father, He did not consider that limitless nature something to be held onto for His own exploits. Instead, He emptied Himself of His divine transcendence, put on limited mortality, and subjected Himself completely to the will of God the Father to the point of death on the cross. That is the kind of life that disciples of Christ are called to live – not the contentious, partisan, self-promoting lives that so many have rightfully accused Christians as having.

Just as Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient, Paul wrote that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. While salvation is freely received by grace through faith, there is an obedience aspect to faith. Faith that does not express itself into works is dead. There is a quality of walk that all disciples of Christ are called to walk in out of faith-filled love and obedience. Christ isn’t going to do the walking for us. We have to do the walking ourselves. Thankfully, as Paul wrote, God actually works in us both to will and do the things that He has called us to do which bring Him pleasure. When we abide in Christ, not only do we come under His anointing – we are also filled with His Spirit. The same Spirit that led Christ to humble Himself completely for the sake of others will reside in us and give us that same passionate motivation as well. We just need to put on Christ by faith and allow God, by His Spirit, to grace us for obedience. Then, just like Christ, God will lift us up and glorify us before men.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You have shared Your anointing and Your Spirit with me. I know by faith, that as long as I remain in You, I will be full of Your Spirit and covered in Your anointing. My responsibility is to humbly walk out the things that You have anointed and empowered me to do. Therefore, I submit to You and open my life to the Father’s work in me to will and do His good pleasure. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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