The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations. Foreigners will be your servants. They will feed your flocks and plow your fields and tend your vineyards. You will be called priests of the Lord, ministers of our God. You will feed on the treasures of the nations and boast in their riches. Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the Lord, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them.” (Isaiah 61:1-8)
As recorded in Luke 4:18-19, Jesus quoted part of this passage. As he read to the people in the synagogue, he stopped in the middle of Isaiah 61:2 after the words, “the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” Rolling up the scroll, he said, “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” (Luke 4:21). The phrase he didn’t quote in Isaiah 61:2 will come true when Jesus returns to earth again.
Because Jesus came to fulfill this prophecy, we can have a new status. Under the old covenant, God ordained the priests of Israel to stand between him and his people. Under the new covenant, all believers are priests of the Lord, reading God’s Word and seeking to understand it, confessing their sins directly to God, and ministering to others.
You can minister to someone today by praying with or for that person. You can also take time to share God’s message of hope with someone who feels lost and alone.