Isaiah 61:1




In Isaiah 61:1-3 we are told about God calling someone to preach and teach the Word of God to other people in this world. You should not preach unless you are called to preach. It says in Isaiah 61:1-3, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified One of the first truths to notice about this passage is that Jesus Himself quoted Isaiah 61:1-2 in Luke chapter 4 when Jesus went into the synagogue in Nazareth at the start of His work of preaching in the cities of Galilee. Jesus translated the Hebrew words for “good tidings” to the word “gospel” in Greek. The Bible says about Jesus in Luke 4:16-21, “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 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 brokenhearted, 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. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” What Jesus did in Nazareth when He stood up in the synagogue to preach also shows the right method to use to preach a sermon. He read from the word of God, and then He explained what it meant. That is a sermon. 


In order to preach the gospel, a person must be called and gifted to do that work. That is what it is talking about when it says, “the LORD hath anointed me.” And it makes it very clear in Isaiah 61:1, “He hath sent me.” Every Christian has a gift of some kind that Jesus has given to that Christian in order to do the work and in order to fulfill the responsibilities that God has given to that Christian. It says about Jesus in Ephesians 4:8, “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” Romans 11:29 mentions both gifts and a calling in the same verse and says, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Concerning the unique gifts that the Spirit of God gives to each believer, we are told in First Corinthians 12:4-12, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”


Concerning how the Holy Spirit equips every believer to serve Jesus in this world, notice that First Corinthians speaks of “diversities of gifts,” “differences of administrations,” and “diversities of operations.” The word that is translated “diversities” and the word that is translated “differences” not surprisingly comes from the same Greek word that can be translated “differences” or “diversities.” Those two words are synonyms. The point that is being made is that Christians are not the same. We have differences in regards to how we have been gifted. Jesus ascended into heaven, and He gave gifts unto men and women. Not everyone has the same gift, and that is a good thing. We need each other in order to get as much done as possible.


We are told about “gifts” in order to emphasize that what we have comes entirely from Jesus and from the Holy Spirit. No human being should ever be praised for what has been accomplished in their lives or in their work. They were only able to do what they did because they were gifted. Jesus deserves all the praise. It was all His idea, His work, His gospel, and His gift. Salvation is a gift. Service to the Lord is also a gift. It’s a blessing to serve God with the spiritual gift that you have been given.


We are told about “differences” in gifts, differences in ways of serving others, and differences in works. Jesus gives to each person as He so chooses to do what needs to be done. Therefore, the way to serve Jesus in this world is to find out what your gift is, and then to look for opportunities to put that gift into practice. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “Neglect not the gift that is in thee


Isaiah 61:1 tells us some important information about those who receive the gospel. It says first of all: “the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek.” The word “meek” does not mean “weak.” It refers to someone who is pliable. Instead of having a stubborn will against the gospel, someone who is “meek” is receptive to the gospel. That is why Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” This leads us to a good point about witnessing or in other ways presenting the gospel. It says in Second Timothy 2:24-26, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” We do not argue with people. We do not try to get into debates with them. The best thing to do is to try and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to detect if the Lord is working in this person’s heart or not. Sometimes witnessing results in the winning of souls, but at other times witnessing results in the planting of seed so that others will do the reaping at a later date once the Lord has worked in this person’s heart. 


The gospel is to be preached to the meek, and it is also to be preached to the broken-hearted. It says in Isaiah 61:1, “he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted.” Actually this passage in Isaiah chapter 61 talks about those who are in this condition of broken-heartedness more than anything else. Perhaps that is because no human being will be spared their portion of the sorrows of life. The longer that you live, probably it will mean the more that you will suffer. But whatever you have suffered, God can fix it. He can fix it by giving you salvation in Christ, and that salvation is much more important than whatever you have lost. And Jesus can fix it by uplifting, encouraging and comforting you in your sorrows. It says at the end of Isaiah 61:2, “to comfort all that mourn.” The gospel of Christ can comfort more than anything else can. Jesus said, “Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” It continues talking about those that mourn and what will be done for them by the gospel of Christ. It says in Isaiah 61:3, “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” There is no heavier burden than the burden of guilt or of sin. The “joy” of salvation can wipe the sting from any sorrow and can remove the guilt of any life of sin. We do not always know why God allows the sorrows in each person’s life that He allows; but we do know that Jesus can use them to help a person see their need of Him. A person can become so over-whelmed by their sorrows that they have no where else to look, but to the Lord.


The Gospel of Christ is preached to the meek, to the brokenhearted, and to those who have been taken captive. It says in Isaiah 61:1, “to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” Anyone who is not saved by faith in Jesus is a slave to sin. They are in bondage to sin, and they are held by the cords of their sins. That is why you read such horrible things in the newspapers that people have done. Sinners will sin. They are captured. They are enslaved. Slavery is a horrible thing, and the worse slavery of all is slavery to sin. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” That is why the Lord wants the gospel to be preached to everyone: to give everyone a chance to be set free. 


Isaiah 61:1-3 tells us who preaches the gospel, to whom the gospel is preached, and it also tells us when the gospel is preached. It says in Isaiah 61:2, “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” To say that it is acceptable means that it is delightful: the preaching of the gospel of Christ is a favor that is being granted to the human race, and therefore should be accepted by every person on this earth. The word that is translated “year” is the common word for “year” in the Old Testament, and is usually translated that way. But the word also refers to “a period of time.” Of course, that is the meaning here. God did not give the gospel to be preached for just one year. There is an entire age in which the gospel of Christ is being preached. There is an entire age in which the Lord offers people to be comforted from their sorrows, to be forgiven of their sins, and to be delivered from their enslavement. Starting in the first century and continuing to the present day, the Lord has established a period of time in which the gospel of Christ is preached to the world. Some people call this the age of grace or the age of the church. Based upon the emphasis in Isaiah chapter 61, you might call it the age of the preaching of the Gospel.


One of the characteristics of the age of grace is that its time-span has a definite limit to it. Things will not always be the way they are now. God offers His mercy and His love and His forgiveness through Christ, but the day will come when He must punish sin because He is the Judge of the earth. It is interesting to notice that when Jesus quoted the passage from Isaiah chapter 61, Jesus stopped in the middle of verse 2 with the phrase “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” The very next phrase speaks of “the day of vengeance of our God.” The judgment is coming, and no one knows what will happen tomorrow. The message of the Bible is this: take advantage of the opportunity to be saved while you have it. You will not have that opportunity forever. Isaiah 49:8 is quoted and referred to in Second Corinthians 6:2 that says, “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” You might only have today. What will you do today with the opportunity to bow before Jesus and believe on Him for the forgiveness of your sins?




Copyright; 2009 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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