“THE SPIRIT of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound,
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion--to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit--that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
This recording from the Amplified Bible in Isaiah sixty-one is fulfilled by Jesus in Luke chapter four. Simply put, the reason Jesus came was because we were held hostage by an enemy bent on our destruction and by our own sin. It is the mission of the Christmas story. Though probably not the one you’ve traditionally heard of, or thought.
We picture cute little figurines portraying a peaceful Mary and Joseph, with quiet onlookers, gift-bearers, and a few animals. The weight of the moment is a bit lost in our “safe” little world. Much more is going on than meets the eye. Just why was this little baby sent to us? Read the passage from Isaiah again.
If you have lived a few years on this earth, you are well aware that life here includes affliction of every kind, broken hearts, various forms of captivity, mourning, and dreams that have crumbled to ashes. No one escapes unscathed in this world. We have all sustained injuries.
And our God is angry. Huh? Look at verse two in the second paragraph: He has come for vengeance! To destroy our enemies and make right what has been wrong!
Back to the sweet little manger scenes we have sitting on our coffee tables or see in front yards. Jesus wasn't found in a warm, cozy house, or even in a busy hotel. He came in a cattle stall! Dirty. Smelly. Cold and dark. Sometimes our lives are like that cattle stall. And we still find Jesus in those most unexpected places...
We began exploring the topic of healing and freedom in the past couple of weeks. You need to know up front, this is not “12 Steps to a Better You.” Jesus is not aiming to make you better (that would be only sin-management). He wants to make you whole.
But first, we need to know that we are broken in order to see our need for healing; and to accept God’s healing. In order to accept His healing, we need to know and trust the God who longs to give it. Believe me, He wants to give it more than you want to receive it. The series on “God’s Love,” beginning in the August archive, unveils the mystery, adventure, and rescue of the story that God is telling and we are now living. It gives a clear picture of who this God is, and promises to captivate our hearts.
If you haven’t read it or would like a refresher, do so over the next couple weeks. It will prepare your heart and awaken your God-given desires. Both of which are needed before we move forward.
I am taking a break from writing over the holidays, and will return to the blog the first week of January. Then we will gently begin to venture into deeper territories to see what it might look like to experience the healing we secretly long for. Jesus is the only proven offer. He comes to where we are, even if it is dark, ashy, or smelly. And He must have seen that we are worth coming for.