The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release for the prisoners.
Isaiah 61:1 (NIV)
Read: Isaiah 61:1-11
Consider: We often forget that God has called us to share the good news of the gospel with all levels in society. God does not want us to restrict the message to those we think should hear the gospel; perhaps if we have pre-decided who is likely to respond positively to God’s call. Isaiah highlights that the message should be shared with the poor, captives, prisoners (61:1), those who mourn (61:2) and the grieving and despairing (61:3). His calling gives us a great responsibility not to decide for ourselves how we will deal with the good news and who it will be shared with.
Let us think about what Isaiah has in mind when he says ‘… preach good news to the poor’ (61:1) The ‘poor’ mentioned by the prophet can be those who are materially poor, but also those who are spiritually poor; perhaps those who have no church connection, or those who have never heard the good news of the gospel message. This might be those in our own nations, or nations where speaking about Christ is very heavily restricted. Spiritual poverty is clearly seen in societies across the world, where generations are growing up with no knowledge of God and what Christ achieved on the cross.
The language used by Isaiah is very visual when he says: ‘… bind up the brokenhearted …’ (61:1). Broken hearts, however caused, carry with it deep wounds that can only be healed spiritually. Don’t be afraid to pray for those who need healing from the deep, painful wounds inflicted by life. Isaiah also speaks of those who are ‘captives’ and ‘prisoners’ (61:1). This may be those who are physically imprisoned for whatever reason, but also those who find themselves bound by an addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling or even the worldly pleasures that they think will satisfy their inner longings and give them happiness. Pray for all those who need freedom from anything that captures their hearts and turns them into captives and prisoners.
Remember to pray for yourself, that the Spirit of God may rest on you so that you are equipped for the task.
Pray: Father, may your Holy Spirit rest on us, equipping us for the task of sharing the good news. May we never restrict the message to particular levels in society, but to share the good news widely. Help us to get alongside those in society who are hurting and those who seek satisfaction in the things of the world. We also pray for those who are imprisoned or persecuted for their faith; grant them inner strength and peace. Amen
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