“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;” (Isaiah 61:1)
When we hear this verse, people who have been around the block in church a few times often are brought forward in time from the prophet Isaiah to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. It is this passage that Jesus reads in a synagogue and then declares that in his reading, the prophecy has been fulfilled. He is the one upon whom the Spirit rests. He is the one who will bring good news to the oppress and freedom and healing to the world.
But we should not stop there. While we can read Isaiah’s words and picture Jesus sharing them in his time, we often forget that in our baptisms we believe that God has anointed us as well. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon us as well.
This means that part of our identity in Christ is that we are “sent” people. In John’s gospel Jesus will breath the Holy Spirit on the disciples and charge them with the words, “As the Father has sent me, so now I send you.” With the gift of the Holy Spirit comes the promise of life for us and also the charge to go forth and bring life to others.
A text like this has its origins hundreds of years before Jesus. It finds it fulfillment in the person and ministry of Christ. And it shapes the lives of followers of Jesus like you and me each day of our lives. We are anointed. We are sent. People who are hurting are counting on us to share in the mission of Jesus and bring life to the world in which we live as well.