Luke 4:17-21 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. 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 began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
After being tested for 40 days by the devil, Jesus came out of that test filled with the power of The Spirit. Luke tells us in chapter 4 that Jesus has ministered in the power of The Spirit elsewhere, for the hometown crowd is going to say to Him, “Physician, heal thyself” (v. 23). When Jesus opened the scroll in His hometown, He quoted from Isaiah 61:1-2: “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…”
Jesus stopped in the middle of the second verse. We are living in the day of the Messiah’s comma. Jesus stopped where He did in His reading of Isaiah to emphasize His servant role in His first coming. But in Isaiah 61:2b we find His messianic role as judge being emphasized, which will certainly be the case when Jesus returns in His second coming. This “distinction” reflects what theologians call the “already, and not yet” understanding of the New Testament. Already the day of salvation has come, already the kingdom of God has been inaugurated, but it is not yet fully realized, it is not yet fully brought to completion. In other words, what Isaiah sees is a double-phased ministry of the Lord Jesus at His first and second comings – the work of the Servant and of the Anointed Conqueror. At His first coming, Jesus Christ inaugurated the “year” of the LORD’s grace and favor. At His second coming, Jesus will bring in the “day of vengeance of our God”.
It should be duly noted that there is a time gap between the first line of verse 2 and the second line of verse 2, and we’re living right now in that interval. Today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). These Isaiah verses that we are looking at this morning reveal the divine mandate The Father has given to Jesus. We could call them His great commission, His mission statement, His Father’s heart for lost man.
Isaiah 61 is a servant song, and proclaims that the Messiah will bring relief to those who are poor in spirit, broken-hearted, blind both spiritually and physically, captive to sin and darkness. But what we see here is also the Church’s commission. Upon His ascension into heaven, The Lord Jesus have His Church the power of The Holy Spirit, and Jesus still works in and through His church to bring good news, proclaim deliverance, restore sight, and free the oppressed. It is also our commission. It is indeed a year of jubilee. Jesus calls his Church to love the unlovely and to serve the undeserving in His Name. It is not a comfortable discipleship, but it is for us the Great Commission. Selah