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Summary: Jesus is anointed Messiah and he says it’s for three purposes. First is to proclaim Good News to the poor.

Good News to the Poor

Isaiah 61:1-6

What’s this season really about? Jesus. It’s not so much what he taught as it is about who he is. In Jesus’ first sermon, he chose this Biblical text and in it, he gives his mission. When Jesus read this Scripture, he closed the book and dropped the bombshell and said, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” The people got so mad that they took him and attempted to throw him off the cliff at the edge of Nazareth because of the declaration. We do what we do not because of what Jesus taught but because of who he was and is. When Jesus said, The Lord has anointed me, that fired up the Jews. The word anointed in Hebrew is mashach which means messiah. Mashach indicates the act of taking olive oil and smearing it on a person’s forehead. The remaining oil would be poured over their head so that it ran to their feet showing total consecration or setting apart for God’s purposes. The purpose was two-fold - to set the anointed person apart as holy unto God and to commission them for service unto Him and His people. In the OT times, the prophet, priest, king or even weapons of battle and items of use in the Temple were anointed. This is the nature of the anointing on Jesus.

Now the Jewish people had been looking for centuries for their messiah. In fact, it had been more than 800 years since Isaiah when Jesus arrived. Yet, they still long and hoped for the Messiah because they knew that when the Messiah would come, it would signal the presence of the kingdom of God and the restoration of all things broken.

Now Christianity stands and falls on the identity of Christ. It’s how Christianity is different from every other religion in the world. Every other religion taught a moral code, a way of following God. But the primary core of Jesus’ teaching was his identity, who he said he was. CS Lewis was the first to point out that people can’t just say that Jesus was a good man. He said, that you have to be more than a person of moral character. If Jesus wasn’t the Messiah then he lied about his most important teaching. So CS Lewis said we have only three options. Jesus was either who he said he was, the Messiah, or he was a liar or a lunatic. And if he was not the Messiah, then he was not a good man but a fake. Yet the core of Jesus’ teaching for was, “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life. No one can come to the Father but through me.” Everywhere you look, it’s about his identity. He said, to see me is to see God. To know me is to know God. To love me is to love God. To obey me is to obey God. To deny me is to deny God.

Jesus is anointed Messiah and he says it’s for three purposes. First is to proclaim Good News to the poor. The poor are those who lack knowledge, food or physical provisions or opportunities for for a better life. This often means there is a lack of hope in their life that the future will hold anything better than what today held for them. The poor are often those who are despised by affluent society yet Jesus centers his minsitry on the poor. Too often we think that if people can just get their physical needs met they will be all right. But notice that Jesus doesn’t say he came to clothe or feed or provide shelter for the poor. He came to proclaim Good News.

Too often we view the poor as those who are lack knowledge, food or physical provisions. Sadly, this leads us to think that if people can just get their physical needs met they will be all right. However, the poor are more than those who are economically challenged. The poor are also those who are not rich toward God. Let us realize that the poor are people who are more than those who live in human poverty. Those who are really poor are the ones who are yet to be enriched with all the spiritual blessings of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Second is to proclaim freedom to the captives. When the people of Judah were taken captive by the Babylonians it was a very traumatic thing. They lost their homes, their loved ones, their beloved city and temple. They lost everything! In captivity, they longed to hear that the day of their freedom is at hand. The picture Isaiah paints is of a King – God Himself coming to fight and take back His people from the enemy. The King will be victorious and so He sends His messenger to tell His people that their freedom has been won. The enemy is utterly vanquished. It is a message that God loved them enough to fight for their freedom and save them. This is the good news that they are favored by God. And the greatest thing is that this Messenger whom God uses as His Servant also happens to be the very One who won the freedom for you with His own blood.

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