The Anointing: Isaiah 61

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on me,
He has anointed me to preach good news to the [poor]*;
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 the 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…”


 

At Elim this morning, the sermon was on the topic of “The Anointing”, based on Isaiah 61:1-2a, the first part quoted by Jesus in Luke 4:18,19, with the exception of “the day of vengeance of our god”.

I’m just going to copy up my notes without comment to begin with, and then comment at the end.


Notes:

• This passage is a ‘key scripture’ for Jesus’ life and ministry (and has been adopted as a key scripture for our church in particular).

• The anointing is crucial for ministry

• Oil, or fat, represents the Holy Spirit

• Like the armour of God, you can’t attain it by your own efforts, it has to be given by the Anointed One, ie, Jesus.

• Anointing breaks the yoke of slavery.

• Anointing can’t be lost, but it can be exercised, it must be developed.

• For the Anointing to flow, you need to live righteously.

• The Anointing is ‘attracted’ to righteous living.

• The first step towards righteous living is honesty with God, confession, truth.

• Then, the anointing will bubble up and flow over.

• The Anointing desires intimacy with the Father.

• Oil is for healing.

• We must exercise the anointing by doing the following:

-Proclaim the Good News
(not negativity) because Life and death are in the power of the tongue.

-Proclaim Liberty

-Release the prisoners

-Give Sight to the Blind

• This is the agenda for Jesus’ life, and must be the agenda for the church.

• It is the plum line for all church programs – if they don’t meet the agenda, it’s not worth doing.


Comments:

I suspect, from the sermons I have heard in this church, that this is the standard way that scripture is handled here, and I have to say that I’m feeling a little bit uncomfortable about some aspects of it.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with what was said. It was a pretty ‘fire and brimstone’ sermon, and I quite like the passion of that. The speaker is fond of shouting “Wake up, Church” when he thinks we’re not listening.

But I wish that there was a bit more careful exposition – it’s obviously a Messianic passage, but again if you look at the whole passage you can see the mention of Zion again, and there is a lot more to the whole chapter but only the first 2 verses were addressed (see previous post on Isaiah 2).

Who is the passage addressed to?
Who or what does Zion refer to in this context?
When is the prophecy to be fulfilled?

Does the fact that Jesus stopped prior to “the day of the vengeance of our God” mean that there are multiple, partial fullfillments to this propecy?
When is the Day of Vengeance?
Is it significant that some of the good things come after the Day of Vengeance in the passage?
(Again, this was not mentioned at all. Does it matter?)

The speaker said that, in the Old Testament, one individual was specially anointed (like Isaiah or Ezekiel), whereas in the New Testament, every believer is anointed (Acts 2). Therefore, you (as a Christian) already have the anointing, you just have to exercise it.

So, is the Pentecost infilling of the Holy Spirit the same thing as Anointing?

This is interesting to me, because previously I have heard sermons saying the opposite, ie that the Anointing is something special, particularly for ministers, who have a particular, perhaps temporary anointing for a specific task or work of God.

Perhaps both are true. I’m not sure, I would like to know on what basis the two different claims are made (ie, more thorough scripture proofs), as they don’t seem to mean quite the same thing.

The very word Messiah, Mashiach in Hebrew, actually means ‘anointed’. Is that relevant at all?

I have a book on my shelf (or, I suspect, currently in storage with the rest of my books) called ‘The Anointing’ by R T Kendall, which I haven’t yet read, but I would like to. I don’t know whether it covers the first or second meaning or both, or takes a different view altogether.

*Where the KJV has the word ‘meek’, the NIV has the word ‘poor’.


I don’t know whether I am being unreasonably or unduly critical, or whether that may be due to my state of mind because I’m not well, as it takes a lot out of me to get to church.

I was a little bit heartbroken today to hear that the church had purposely decided to abandon their ministry websites, so there is no longer any provision for those who are housebound to download and listen to sermons online. As far as I could see, the sermons are no longer recorded so it doesn’t look like there’s a tape/cd ministry anymore either.

I really think that churches are unaware of how devastating the isolation from the community is for people who become housebound, and that really, really makes me sad.

When I had a relapse in 2014, I had no visits whatsoever from anybody in the Anglican church in more than six months, despite requesting one, and despite every level of the church being aware I was ill. (It’s not the first church that has happened in either.)

At some point I will put together a list of resources for people who need to worship from home, as that seems to be the only option for a lot of people. But it is really not the same as feeling that you are welcomed and included in your own physical, local community.

***This, church, is part of the ministry of the Anointing, to “proclaim liberty to the captives”, and you’re not doing it.***

Wake up, Church!

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