Exaltation of the Afflicted
Isaiah is prophetically speaking of the Messiah. The Messiah will announce that He is blessed and empowered by the Spirit of the Lord. Jesus delivered these words at His hometown Synagogue in Nazareth. When He was given the opportunity to speak He took the scroll of Isaiah 61 and read these words. (Luke 4:16-22) Jesus read the first verses and the first line of verse two. As He sat down He told the listeners that on this day the Scriptures had been fulfilled. Jesus was the one described in verses 1-3 and He is the one who the Spirit of the Lord was upon. If Jesus who was fully man and fully God needed the Spirit of the Lord upon Him, then how much more we do.
Jesus also announced that He had been anointed by the Lord and thus identifies Him as the Messiah. That is the definition of Messiah, “Anointed One.” The Priest Samuel referred to the Messiah as the anointed One.
The word anointing means to have been rubbed or sprinkled on. When we anoint ourselves it is usually an ointment or oily liquid. Jesus was anointed by the Spirit of the Lord. Priests were anointed for the special service they were assigned to. (Exodus 28:41) Oil would be applied as a sign of the Holy Spirit working in their lives. The oil was only a symbol of the actual work of the Spirit in the inside of the one who received it.
In the New Covenant times, Christians have an anointing from the Holy One “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.” (1 John 2:20) In the New Testament, anointing has the idea of being filled with or being blessed by the Holy Spirit. This is a common property of the Christian and it is something that we should be submitted and responsive to.
The Messiah has come to heal the damages that sin has caused. The great damages of sin call for a great work of redemption. Because sin causes great poverty He will preach good tidings to the poor. Sin breaks the heart and He will heal up the broken-hearted. Because sin traps men in bondage He will proclaim liberty to the captives. And to those who under the oppression of sin He will proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Sin is a crime that must be avenged and He will proclaim the day of vengeance of God. Jesus had stopped reading before the proclamation of vengeance as this is relevant only to His second coming.
Sin brings grief and He will bring comfort those who mourn. Instead of the ashes of mourning, He will bring beauty. Instead of the mourning, He gives the oil of joy. To the heavy-hearted, He gives a garment of praise.
The restoration of God’s people will be glorious. They will be as strong and beautiful as the trees, and trees of righteousness at that. These will be the trees that the Lord has planted.
God is always willing to restore the ruins. God wants His people to rebuild and restore the things that have been broken down. With the empowerment of the Spirit and the ministry of the Messiah, the people of God will rebuild. Even with the rubble of past generations God can use His people to rebuild. A partial fulfillment is Nehemiah who took decades of rubble and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.
God’s people will have a holy calling under the ministry of the Messiah. They shall be the priest of the Lord and servants of God. God will provide others to care for the flocks and plow the fields.
The Spirit and the ministry of the Messiah will bring a great change and His people will no longer have shame. The people will have honor and a double portion. There will be order and no confusion and they shall rejoice in their portion.
Burnt offerings and sacrifices are really a robbery if the heart of man is not right. It is justice that the Lord wants and loves and the sacrificial system is not enough. The alternative is that God will direct their paths in truth and He will make an everlasting covenant with His people.
The Lord will bless His people so greatly that they will be known throughout the Gentile world. They will be so well known that all who see them will acknowledge them. The Writer of Hebrews pronounces this blessing of the everlasting Covenant. “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)
The joy of the blessed is not in the blessing but in the Lord. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) The blessings of salvation and righteousness are as a garment for God’s people. The blessings will be a garment of ornaments on the bridegroom and Jewels on the bride. These are garments that the Lord has given.
The blessings of the Lord are not made but grow as the earth brings forth its bud. The Lord will cause the righteousness and praise to spring forth for all the nations to see.