Raising kids. Keeping House. Choosing joy, every day.

The Ministry of Jesus: Preach, Heal, Deliver

“The God of the Old Testament is angry, but the Jesus of the New Testament is love.” That’s the faulty view of God that some take. They almost breathe a sigh of relief that Jesus came to save us from the God of the OT.Nothing could be farther from the truth and we see this in Isaiah 61. The prophet is foretelling of the ministry of Jesus and the job He was sent by God to do. (Jesus himself makes it clear that this prophecy was fulfilled in Him when He stood in the synagogue in Nazareth in Luke 4: 16-21 and proclaimed “This day is the scripture fulfilled in your ears.”)

starry night

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

The Lord God Jehovah sent Jesus to preach, heal, and deliver:
Preach the gospel to the poor, or poor in spirit as He tells us in the Beatitudes.
Heal the brokenhearted. Just like tightly wrapping a wound (binding) stops the bleeding, eases the throbbing pain, and helps for broken bones and skin to begin to mend itself, Jesus binds up our broken hearts.
Set captives free. Before Christ, we are “under sin”–slaves to it, by birth (original) and by choice (have you ever sinned?). Jesus satisfied the laws demands on our account, by living a perfect life, free of sin, and then dying as the sacrificial lamb. He offers to pay our debt, if we’ll accept the free gift.
In short
For those who trust Christ, He offers these exchanges:

  • Beauty instead of their ashes (laying in ashes was an outward sigh of mourning in the OT times.)
  • the Oil of Joy instead of mourning (like we apply moisturizer to make our face glow, the oil of joy makes our face shine!)
  • A Garment of Praise instead of a heavy heart (festive garments are worn on special days like birthdays and holidays, and a garment of praise reveals a rejoicing heart!)

Not only does God release us from bondage, cure our wounds, comfort our sorrows, but he then PLANTS us, “the planting of the Lord,” “trees of righteousness.”

I don’t know about you, but the idea of symbolically being planted like a tree wherever the Lord is exciting. I embrace my ministry with joy when I know that God has gifted me with certain gifts, responsibilities, and sphere of influence.

And though each of us has different jobs and abilities, just like trees (ornamental, flowering, fruit, boundary line trees, shade trees) the purpose of our planting is plain: that God be glorified.

That means whatever you do, wherever you are, your job is to live in righteousness, reflecting the image of God. No complaining that you aren’t as flowery as the next tree or as sturdy as that one over there. God plants. Bloom where you’re planted for His glory and our good.

Herein is our Father glorified, when we bring forth much fruit.

************I totally forgot to tell you that I was guest posting over here yesterday….talking about how to have a Christ-Focused Christmas!