ANOINTED TO PREACH, HEAL & DELIVER
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
This passage here is called the Nazareth manifesto; here Jesus was speaking at a synagogue in Nazareth, which was His hometown. He went to the synagogue on a Sabbath day and as was the custom He stood up to read, and the scroll of Isaiah was handed over to Him and He read this particular passage, which is found in Isaiah 61 and announced the fulfillment of this prophecy. Here Jesus through the words of prophet Isaiah is declaring to the Jews the purpose of His call and ministry on this earth. Immediately after Jesus finished speaking in the synagogue the people who heard Him, who were in fact his own people from His own hometown got furious with Him and drove Him out of the town and brought Him to the edge of the hill to throw Him down from the cliff but Jesus just walked through the crowd and went on His way.
The key word in this passage is “anointed”. The word anointing comes from the Hebrew word Mashach from which we get the term Messiah. Anointing is the act of rubbing with oil, to be smeared, to consecrate. The purpose of anointing as per Jewish culture was to show in a theocratic society that the anointed individual was separated for God’s service and chosen by Him for a particular task.
When we look into this passage carefully we will find two reasons why Jesus was anointed and we can take these two reasons and apply them into the lives and ministry. I would like to concentrate on these two reasons.
- ANOINTED TO PREACH
The first reason for being anointed is to preach, and being anointed to preach is further classified into three aspects:
- Anointed to preach the GOSPEL TO THE POOR (v. 18 … to preach the gospel to
Jesus was anointed by God to preach the gospel to the poor and so are we. Now who are these poor people? What is the actual meaning of the word translated as poor in English? The Greek word that is translated as poor is “ptochois” which means to be reduced to beggary or in other word a beggar. So we are anointed to preach the gospel to beggars or in other words, we are anointed to preach the gospel to the needy or those who are in need, for a beggar is a needy person. God has anointed us to preach the gospel to those poor people who are looked down upon, to those who are shown contempt, to those who are poor in spirit, to those who are meek and humble…
Preach the gospel to the poor i.e., to the beggars… The word beggar need not reflect only to a person’s financial standing, but also to his/her spiritual standing as well. Preach the gospel those poor people who are poor financially as well as spiritually, preach the Gospel to those in financial and spiritual poverty. Because poverty of any kind is not the will of God and God wants to deliver people from poverty, Jesus came to give us life and life more abundant so that we can also enjoy the life He came to give us, John 10:10 says “…I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” (AMP). Spiritual and financial poverty is no way enjoying the life God gave us and is not living life in abundance. Is that abundant life just for us when we get up into heaven? No! God wants to bless us here on earth, just as He blesses those who are already in heaven. Some say that we are called to a life of poverty and suffering. Poverty and sickness, no!, but persecution, yes!. Many times, Christians walk around with the sickness and poverty (which is not God’s will for them), yet they never see persecution (which God said would come to all of His followers). The truth is that we are called to endure persecution just as Jesus has, but that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t want us to be blessed and taken care off at the same time. Mark 10: 29-30 says ‘Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.’ (NLT). What was Jesus saying when He said “will receive now”? Few other translations like KJV and NKJV says “now in this time”. It simply means here on earth! When He asks us to give up homes and relationships with those whom we love, then He has in mind to bless us with much greater blessings right here on earth. He has planned a hundredfold blessings now here on earth for us His children. Many Christians today downplay the importance of life on earth and cling on the phrase “this world is not my home, heaven is my home”, and forget to understand the fact that God created us and placed us on earth, even the millennial reign of Christ is going to be on earth. To find out God’s master plan, just look at the Garden of Eden! When God first made man, everything was the way that He wanted it. No sickness, disease, lack, poverty, shame, or sin. That was God’s great plan for man, but it was usurped when the first Adam sinned. Before sin entered the picture, there was perfect health, provision, and all the good things a person could want. And Christ, the second Adam, came to restore that master plan of God. God created mankind to be blessed, and His plan hasn’t changed!, that’s the Good News we are called to preach and which will deliver people from spiritual and financial poverty.
- Anointed to preach DELIVERANCE TO THE CAPTIVES (v.18 … to preach
deliverance to the captives…)
The Gospel is a proclamation of liberty, like that to Israel in Egypt and in Babylon. It is a proclamation of deliverance to the captives. Now who are these captives, what are they captive to and who is holding them captive?
Captives are those people who are captive to sin or those who are bound in sin by Satan.
Captives are those friends and family members of ours who have not known Christ. Captives are all those people whom we find walking in the streets without the touch of Christ in their lives. I hope if we could literally see those chains and shackles of sin which have bound their hands and feet and Satan holding those chains and dragging them one after the other into the eternal fires of hell.
We have been anointed to preach to them that by Christ they can be delivered from the bondage of sin and guilt. We are anointed to preach to these captives just like Jesus was Himself anointed to preach that by his Spirit and by God’s grace they can be delivered from the bondage of Satan and corruption. This deliverance is from all kinds of sins, but only those captives who are willing to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior will be the ones to be set free.
Beloved, it is easy for us to preach and work among Christians but the real task is to go outside the four walls of the church and get those captives walking on the streets into the fellowship of God and His people. And for us we need the grace of God, for salvation is by grace alone not by any human act.
- Anointed to preach the ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD (v.19 … to preach
the acceptable year of the Lord)
“The acceptable year of the Lord” is a reference to the year of Jubilee, a feature of the Mosaic Law, its provisions are described in Leviticus 25. For the Jews every seventh year was ‘a year of release’, during this year of release every Hebrew who had become a bondservant could go free (Ex. 21:1-11), it was also the time to let the land rest. Then after 7 times 7 i.e., after 49 years on the 50th year there would be a special event, the ‘50 years of Jubilee’. During the year of Jubilee, possessions which had been sold, were returned to their original owners, debts were cancelled and bondservants both male and female were released. It was a time of great festivity. But this has to do with Judaism and how do we make it relevant to Christianity today.
What is the acceptable year of the Lord?
Jesus came to proclaim and to give salvation, He came to restore life back to the original plan, every time a sinner responds to the call of salvation that becomes his day of salvation, on the day of salvation he who was a slave to sin is set free and all of his debts are cancelled, on the day of a sinner’s salvation there is a great festivity in heaven where the angels rejoice and sing praises to God for the saved soul. Hence the day of salvation is the acceptable year of the Lord, the moment of salvation is the acceptable moment of the Lord. Beloved, every time you and I stand up to preach the Gospel and every time a sinner responds to the gospel that is the acceptable moment to the Lord. What a great privilege you and I have to proclaim the day of salvation.
- ANOINTED TO HEAL (v.18 … He hath sent me to heal the broken hearted… and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised)
Here Jesus speaks through the words of prophet Isaiah about the ministry of healing and confirms that God has anointed Him to heal. Miracles and healings are very much prominent in the Bible; indeed, miracles are an integral part of the gospel proclamation.
However, most of the Christians today have a very wrong understanding of the ministry of healing. We tend to think that healing has to do just with the physical body. But from the words of Jesus it is quite clear that healing involves the total well being of the person both physical and spiritual. Just as Jesus was anointed to heal the broken hearted so are we anointed to comfort those in pain.
We are anointed to heal by touching the hearts of sinners for Jesus.
We are anointed to cure the consciences which are torn apart by the weight of their own sins.
We are anointed to bring peace to those who are troubled and humbled because of their sins.
This passage goes further to state that Jesus was anointed and sent to bring recovery of sight to the blind and thus involves both the physical and the spiritual aspects of healing.
- Jesus was a great miracle worker who healed the blind, the lame, raised the dead, commanded the nature, etc… just by the words of his mouth. Even His disciples did the same, they were a bunch of timid people but after the day of Pentecost they did great and mighty miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit and through the name of Jesus. If they can do it, so can we, because we are anointed by the Holy Spirit. I personally believe that we as simple men and women have no power to give sight to the blind or heal sickness but at the same time I do believe that by the power of God and through the spirit of God working within us and through us we can bring sight to the blind and heal all kinds of sicknesses on the face of this earth.
- The spiritual aspect of bringing sight to the blind is to bring light to those who are in the dark. This is basically what we are called and anointed to do, to take the light to those in the dark for only the light of Jesus can conquer the darkness. It is to open the spiritual eyes of those blinded by Satan; it is to heal their blindness so that they might see the truth of God’s gospel.
Beloved, let us understand that we have been anointed to serve in order to preach and heal just as Jesus was, and this is not an easy task. It is not as easy as we sitting within the four walls of our church and home enjoying the best comforts of life. The world out there is a hard ground and the most important ingredient in our life and ministry is to have the Spirit of the Lord upon us. Even Jesus declared in the beginning of v.18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…’ if Jesus Himself needed the Holy Spirit, how much more do you think we need the Holy Spirit? For it is not us who can change hearts, it is God who does it, we are the mediums through which He accomplishes it.