The Only Way Ministry Works: Anointed By the Spirit & Governed By the Father

Today’s selected reading continues in and concludes the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah the son of Amoz which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah kings of Judah. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters sixty-one through sixty-six of this Old Testament book. When you come to the words found in this particular passage of Scripture you will come to and approach it by reading words which Jesus Himself would read in the synagogue of Nazareth where He had spent the first thirty years of His life growing up and living. The words found in the sixty-first chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah are perhaps the single greatest description—not only of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within the life of Jesus the Christ, but also the power of the Spirit within His life. If you read the words found in this particular chapter and you had not read nor known the narrative that is found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the beloved physician Luke you would have absolutely no clue that these words were read by Jesus in the hearing of all those present in the synagogue of Nazareth, and then followed by Jesus’ declaration that on that day and in that generation these words of the prophet were fulfilled in their sight and in their hearing. If you are one who has started reading the Bible from beginning to end—starting with Genesis and continuing through Revelation—and you had never read any of the Scripture before, you will read these words and think they are solely applicable to Isaiah the prophet. It would be very easy to read these words and think of them solely as a declaration of the prophet Isaiah concerning the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within his life. In all reality—even if this was a personal declaration which Isaiah the son of Amoz made, it would be quite a remarkable declaration in the hearing of all those would have heard those words. Stop and consider what it might have been like for the people of Judah and Jerusalem to hear and listen to Isaiah the son of Amoz prophesy and proclaim these words in their hearing, and speaking of the Holy Spirit who was perhaps not as widely known and spoken about during the days of the Old Testament and the Old Covenant. We know from the words which are written and found within the New Testament gospel of Luke that Jesus declared how these words directly applied to and were fulfilled by Him in that generation. These words seem to take on an entirely different meaning when you take the time to consider that they were spoke during a time when men’s understanding of the Holy Spirit would have been very limited.

Perhaps the only other passages found in the Old Testament that provide a wonderful understanding concerning the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit are found in the eleventh chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah, as well as the second chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Joel. What makes this even more intriguing and captivating when you think about it is when you consider that the words and passages which are found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah speak of the Spirit’s presence and power within and upon the life of the Messiah and Christ, while the words which are found in the second chapter of the prophetic book of Joel speak to and reveal the fact that the Spirit would be poured out upon all flesh. As you approach and have this conversation concerning the Holy Spirit as it was mentioned and spoken of in the Old Testament prophetic books of Isaiah and Joel you must recognize the absolutely awesome reality that the Old Testament not only spoke of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within and upon the life of Jesus the Christ, but it also spoke about the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within and upon the lives of the people of God. It’s important for us to understand that while the Old Testament doesn’t seem to have a lot that is spoken of concerning the person and presence of the Holy Spirit, however, within the prophetic books of Isaiah and Joel we find a wonderful and powerful declaration concerning the Spirit’s presence within the hearts and lives of the people of God. The prophet Isaiah saw the Holy Spirit’s presence and power within and upon the person of the Messiah who was to come in the midst of the earth, while the prophet Joel would foresee and speak of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within the lives of the people of God. How truly wonderful it is to think about and consider the fact that both the prophet Isaiah, as well as the prophet Joel saw and spoke of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within and upon the earth, while one would see the presence of the Holy Spirit within the life of the Messiah, and the other would see the presence of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the lives of the offspring and people of the Messiah. With this in mind I invite you to consider the words which are found in the eleventh and sixty-first chapters of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah, as well as the words which are found in the second chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Joel:

“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 broken-hearted, 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; 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. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: Men shall call you the Ministers of our God: Ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boat yourselves. For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: Everlasting joy shall be unto them. For I the. LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed” (Isaiah 6 1:1-9).

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; and shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: but with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the bridle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins” (Isaiah 11:1-5).

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and als upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible days of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: For in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be d deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call” (Joel 2:28-32).

Within these passages—not only are you presented with a wonderful and powerful picture concerning the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within and upon the Lord Jesus Christ, but you will also find the wonderful truth of the same person and presence of the Holy Spirit being made available for, unto and upon the saints of the living God. The prophet Isaiah saw the Spirit of the LORD coming and resting upon the Messiah and Christ, while the prophet Joel saw that same Spirit coming and resting upon the saints of the most High God. What I can’t help but wonder and ask myself is whether or not the prophets Ezekiel and Jeremiah saw a similar reality of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit coming upon—and not only coming upon, but actually dwelling in the midst of the people of God. When the apostle Paul wrote the second epistle unto the Corinthian saints we find Him quoting the Old Testament prophets and how the living God declared that He would dwell in the midst of His people. The apostle Paul—when writing unto the Corinthian saints—would not only speak of and refer to the people of God as the temple of the living God, but would also go on to quote the prophet and the LORD who declared that He would dwell in His people, would walk in them, and would be their God. What’s more, is that in the first epistle which was written unto the Corinthian saints you will find the apostle Paul making a similar declaration concerning the saints and people of God, for he would declare that their bodies were the temple of the Holy Ghost which was in them, which they had of God. Centuries earlier the prophet Jeremiah would emphatically declare and proclaim the word of the LORD when he declared that the LORD would put His law in the inward parts of His people, that He would write it in their hearts, that He would be their God, and they would be His people. We must not lose sight and miss this awesome reality, for to do so would be to miss the message of the Messiah and His people, and the Spirit who directly links and connects the two. It’s worth noting that in the New Testament gospel narratives we find the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus the Christ in the bodily form of a dove as he emerged from the waters of the Jordan, and that John the Baptist saw this Spirit descending upon Him. Before we even delve into the narrative of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within and upon the life of Jesus as He proclaimed in the synagogue of Nazareth, it is first necessary that we consider the words which John the Baptist spoke concerning the Spirit descending upon Jesus the Christ, as well as the actual Spirit descending upon Him in the bodily form of a dove as He emerged from the waters of the Jordan. Consider if you will—first and foremost—the words and declaration which John the Baptist proclaimed concerning Jesus the Christ, and the Spirit descending upon Him:

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto Him, and saith, Behold. The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for He was before me. And I knew Him not: but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore and I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:29-34).

“John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: He that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what He hath seen and heard, tat he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand. He that believeth one the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life: but the warmth of God abideth on Him” (John 3:27-36).

With each of these passages we encounter John the Baptist not only speaking of Jesus Christ as being the Messiah who was prophesied and spoken of, but we also find him speaking concerning this Messiah and the person and presence of the Holy Spirit not only coming upon, but also resting upon Him. John the Baptist declared concerning the Messiah—not only that He was the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, but also that he saw the Spirit descending upon Him, and remaining on Him. It would be the manifestation of the Spirit descending upon this One—and not only descending, but also resting on Him—John the Baptist would know and discern that this was truly indeed the Messiah. What’s more, is that not only did John the Baptist see the Spirit descending and resting upon Jesus, but also how the Father had given the Spirit unto Him without measure and without limitation. When John the Baptist spoke unto those whom he declared Jesus being the Son of the living God, He declared that he saw the Spirit descending upon that One who would be the Messiah, would remain on the Messiah, and would be a firm confirmation that this One had truly and. Indeed been sent by the living and eternal God. What’s more, is that John the Baptist would also directly link the Spirit descending and remaining upon the Messiah, but also that this One upon whom the Spirit would descend and rest would be the same One who would baptize with the Holy Ghost. Although the apostle John was the only gospel author to record the words of John the Baptist concerning the Spirit resting upon Jesus, and that Jesus was given the Spirit without measure by the Father, the apostle Matthew, John Mark, and the beloved physician Luke would all speak of Jesus baptizing with the Holy Ghost and with fire. John the Baptist not only saw the Spirit descending and remaining on that One who would be the Messiah, but also that unto that One the Father would give the Spirit without measure. When we speak about Jesus baptizing with the Holy Ghost and with fire, it is imperative that we understand that during the three and a half years He engaged in full-time public ministry among us the person and presence of the Holy Spirit would rest upon Him, and He would not yet baptize His saints and His people with that Spirit. It wouldn’t be until Jesus ascended unto the right hand of the Father that He would send the same Spirit which descended upon Him into the upper room where the one-hundred and twenty were gathered together and praying—and ultimately unto His saints and believers. With this in mind, please consider the words which the synoptic authors recorded John the Baptist proclaiming concerning Jesus baptizing with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

“O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:: and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: For I say unto you, that God is able of these stones two raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose f an is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:7-12).

“And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; and preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost” (Mark 1:6-8).

“Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O Generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Luke 3:6-9).

“And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable” (Luke 3:15-17).

What I find so absolutely captivating about the life and ministry of John the Baptist is that not only did he see the Spirit descending and remaining upon the One who would be the Messiah, but he also saw this Messiah as being given the Spirit without measure by the Father. What’s more, is that as you read the synoptic gospels—and even the gospel narrative written by the apostle John—you will find the apostle John recording John the Baptist as speaking of baptizing with the Holy Ghost and with fire. When we read and consider the life and ministry of John the Baptist we must recognize and understand that he was one who both saw the Spirit’s presence upon the Messiah, and saw the Messiah baptizing with that same Spirit. It would be John the Baptist who would see, discern and recognize Jesus as the Christ and the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world, and it would be John the Baptist who would also see the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within and upon the life of Jesus. It’s truly something spectacular and awesome to read the words which John the Baptist spoke of and consider how he both saw the person and presence of the Spirit descending upon Jesus, and after descending upon Jesus that same Spirit would remain with and upon Him. This same reality would also be seen in the lives of the early church and all the saints who would come thereafter, for the Spirit would descend once more on the Day of Pentecost, and would remain upon the believers. The same reality which would take place within the life of Jesus would be the same reality that would take place within and upon His church with the exception that the Spirit would not rest upon the saints of God and the church after descending upon them, but would actually abide within them. On the Day of Pentecost there were cloven tongues of fire which would rest upon the one-hundred and twenty in the upper room, however, the Spirit would do more than simply rest upon them, for He would actually abide and dwell within them. It was this reality the apostle Paul would speak about when he wrote unto the Corinthian saints that they were the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the temple of the living God. With this being said, we must understand that after the Spirit descended upon Jesus in the bodily form of a dove He would be actively involved in the life and ministry of the Messiah and Christ. In fact, you will read how it would be the Spirit who would lead Jesus into the wilderness where He would be tempted of the devil. Moreover you will find Jesus Himself declaring that He would cast out demons and unclean spirits by the Spirit of the living God.

Before we can even seek to understand the words which the prophet Isaiah prophesied and declared concerning this anointing of the Spirit, and Jesus’ declaration that his words would be fulfilled during His generation, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the Spirit’s descent upon Jesus as He emerged from the waters of baptism. As you read the narrative surrounding Jesus and His baptism you will find Him going down into the waters of baptism to fulfill all righteousness, and as He came up in the waters, and ultimately came out of the waters the heavens were opened, the Spirit descended upon Him in the bodily form of a dove, and the voice of the Father was heard. How truly captivating it is to read the narrative of Jesus’ baptism there at the Jordan River, for at the river we see the full and complete triune Godhead on full display. Within the waters of the Jordan River you will find Jesus the Son of the living God, while within heaven you find the eternal Father who spoke concerning and unto the Son, and descending from the Father and resting upon Jesus would be the Holy Spirit. What a glorious experience it must have been for John the Baptist, as well as those who were present on this day to not only behold Jesus emerge from the waters of the Jordan River, but also to see the Spirit descend upon Him, and hear the voice of the Father speaking unto Him concerning His divine pleasure. What a tremendous testimony it must have been to see Jesus emerge from the waters of the baptism and to not only see the Holy Spirit in the bodily form as of a dove, and hear the voice of the Father speaking from heaven. I can’t help but think about what that encounter would have been like and if John the Baptist was the only one who saw the Spirit descending and resting upon Jesus, or if those who were present on that day also witnessed the same sight. What’s more, is whether or not it was simply John the Baptist who heard the declaration that Jesus was the beloved Son of the Father in whom He was well pleased, or if all those present heard it. The very declaration of the Father seemed to suggest that His words were spoken concerning the Son in His hearing, but were meant to be heard and taken to heart by those who were present. The declaration that was given was not “You are my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” but rather “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” This is an important distinction to consider, for it brings us face to face with the reality that the Spirit would descend upon Jesus after the heavens were opened, and the voice of the Father spoke unto all those who were present declaring unto them that this was the eternal and only begotten Son of the Father. With this in mind, consider if you will the narrative as it as written and recorded by the synoptic gospel authors as they sought to describe the baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River by John the Baptist:

“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of Him. But John forbad Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered Him. And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:13-17).

“And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him: and there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:9-11).

“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (Luke 3:21-22).

It’s actually worth taking a look at these words, for when you find and read each of these narratives you will find two distinct accounts of the baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River by John the Baptist. The apostle Matthew would write and record how a voice spoke from heaven declaring “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” while John Mark and the beloved physician Luke would write concerning this voice saying, “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” There is not a doubt in my mind that there was indeed a voice which came from heaven, and that the Spirit descended upon Jesus in the bodily form of a dove, and yet we must come face to face with the reality that John the Baptist heard the voice of the Father in heaven declare concerning Jesus that He was His Son in whom He was well pleased. There would not only be the physical and tangible confirmation of the Spirit’s presence within and upon Jesus, but there would also be the verbal and audible confirmation concerning Jesus being the eternal and divine Son of God. We must recognize and understand this particular reality, for it helps shine a tremendous light on the person, the presence and the power of the Spirit within the life of Jesus the Christ. Each of the synoptic writers and authors wrote concerning Jesus’ coming forth out of the waters that as He emerged from the waters the Spirit would descend upon Him in the bodily form as a dove, and would rest upon Him. It’s necessary that we understand and consider the baptism of Jesus, for it is there at His baptism where we find the first mention of the Spirit’s presence within and upon Him as an adult. There at the Jordan River the Spirit’s presence would manifest Himself upon Jesus, and it would be from that point on Jesus would fully trust and rely upon Him for the ministry that was before Him. When we think about the ministry which Jesus would engage in, we must recognize that not only did He do nothing apart from what He saw and heard the Father doing and saying, but He also didn’t do anything without and apart from the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. When we think about the ministry of Jesus it is necessary for us to recognize that there was not a single thing Jesus did without the person and presence of the Spirit, and without seeing and hearing from His father. This is something we must take to heart and take into consideration when thinking about the ministry of Jesus, for within and throughout the ministry of Jesus the triune Godhead was fully and actively engaged working with each other as through Jesus the work would be manifested, however, the work would not be done without and apart from the person and presence of the Spirit, and without and apart from the divine will of the Father.

What makes the words which the prophet Isaiah spoke so absolutely and incredibly powerful is when you consider the fact that he would prophesy these words concerning the Spirit’s anointing centuries and generations before the Messiah would even be manifested within the earth, and it would be Jesus Himself who would not only read these words in the hearing of all those in the synagogue at Nazareth, but would also declare that they were fulfilled in their hearing and midst. Pause for a moment and think about what these words would and could have sounded like during the days of Isaiah the son of Amoz as his audience would have heard him speak of the person, presence and power of the Spirit. We know from the Old Testament that the Spirit came upon Samson, and it was through the Spirit Samson was endowed with supernatural strength—not only to kill a lion with his bare hands, but also to engage in a path of devastation and destruction against the Philistines. We also know that the Spirit came upon David from the time he was anointed by the prophet Samuel through the rest of his days. I firmly believe that it was the Spirit of the LORD which enabled David to strike down and kill both the lion and the bear, for it was the Spirit that enabled Samson to strike down the lion during his generation. There are various references of the person and presence of the Spirit in the midst of the Old Testament and Old Covenant, and how the Spirit would come upon men and women, however, the language which Isaiah prophesied and spoke of was completely and altogether different from what they would have experienced. The prophet Isaiah would speak of the Spirit, yet he would speak of the Spirit in direct connection and relation to the person of the Messiah, and of the Christ. Isaiah first spoke of the Spirit in the eleventh chapter of this Old Testament prophetic book, and would later speak of the person and presence of the Spirit in the sixty-first chapter. We dare not miss this truly important reality, for Isaiah not only spoke of the presence and power of the Spirit, but also the purpose of the Spirit and what the Spirit’s anointing would do. The prophet Isaiah would speak unto the people of Judah and Jerusalem and would declare that the Spirit anointed him to preach good tidings unto the meek, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. Consider once more if you will the words which are found in this particular passage once more, as the words listed here provide us with a powerful declaration of the Spirit on the pages of the Old Testament:

“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 broken-hearted, 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; 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” (Isaiah 61:1-3).

As I sit here today I can’t help but think about whether or not the prophet Isaiah recognized and understood the words he prophesied as having been directly applicable to the Messiah. When these words were being spoken of and prophesied by Isaiah, did he understand, and was he aware of their meaning and implication? Did the prophet Isaiah see Jesus the Messiah standing in the synagogue reading these words and then speaking of their fulfillment? When Isaiah the son of Amoz spoke these words, did he actually see the physical ministry of Jesus the Christ within the earth? We know that Isaiah prophesied these words concerning the Spirit’s anointing for a very specific purpose, however, what we don’t know and what we aren’t sure of is whether or not Isaiah was speaking of himself and the Spirit’s anointing, or whether he was prophesying these words knowing there was a future application and implication. If you read these words for the very first time without and apart from having read the New Testament gospel of Luke you will find yourself asking what meaning and application they had—not only within the generation of Isaiah, but quite possibly in the generations which were come. Stop for a moment and think about these words—not through the lens of The New Testament gospel narrative which Luke wrote, but through the lens of this ancient Hebrew prophet as he spoke of the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit unto those who perhaps did not have an understanding of the Spirit as during the days of Jesus the Christ—and even during the days of the apostles. Think about what it would have sounded like to live during the days of one of the four kings who reigned over Judah from Jerusalem, and hearing of the Spirit. What’s more, is think about what these words would have sounded like—not only considering the Spirit of the LORD being upon the one spoken of, but also anointing that one who was being spoken of. What’s truly interesting to consider when reading these words is that you will not only read of the Spirit of the LORD God being upon, but you will also read of the Spirit of the LORD anointing, and anointing with and for a very specific purpose. It would be Jesus the Christ who would not only read these words in the hearing of all those in the synagogue, but it would also be Jesus who would declare that these words were fulfilled in their hearing and during that day.

The question I can’t help but ask myself and wonder is whether or not men and women had journeyed through the various generations from the time of Isaiah thinking about and meditating upon these words and what possible meaning and application they might have. Were there those who read these words and actively thought about what their meaning and application might have been? Is it possible that those during the generation of Isaiah wondered what these words might have meant—and not only what they might have meant, but also who they applied to? I can’t help but wonder if there were those during the days and times of Isaiah who heard these words and wondered who the prophet might have been speaking about, and whether or not Isaiah was speaking of himself, or someone else. Did they believe that Isaiah was speaking of himself and declaring that the Spirit of the LORD God was upon him, or did they know and understand that he was speaking of someone else. Were there those during Isaiah’s generation, and also those in future generations who would read and hear these words and wonder what the fulfillment might have looked like? We know and understand that the fulfillment of these words came during the days of Jesus the Christ, as they would describe His life and ministry during those three and a half years He was manifested in the midst of Judaea, Samaria and Galilee. Essentially, Jesus used these words to provide the framework for the ministry He would engage in, as He recognized and understood that He would do absolutely nothing apart from the person of the Holy Spirit. The words of Isaiah would serve as the foundation of the entire ministry which Jesus Himself would engage in, for when He came forth out of the waters of baptism the Spirit descended and remained upon Him, and when He returned from the wilderness He would return in the same power of the Spirit who had descended upon Him, the same Spirit which had rested one Him, and the same Spirit which would lead and drive Him into the wilderness.

In the third chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the beloved physician Luke we find the Spirit descending from heaven in the bodily form as a dove and resting upon Jesus, and immediately after that we find the Spirit leading and driving Jesus into the wilderness where He would be tempted of the devil. Moreover, you will find that when the temptation of the devil was over, and when Jesus returned from the wilderness, He returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. Stop for a moment and consider this reality, for in the fourteenth verse of the fourth chapter we read of Jesus returning in the power of the Spirit, while in the eighteenth verse we find Jesus speaking of the anointing of the Spirit. In the first and opening verse of the fourth chapter we find the Spirit leading Jesus into the wilderness; in the fourteenth verse we find Jesus returning in the power of the Spirit into Galilee; and finally, in the eighteenth verse we find the Jesus speaking of the Spirit’s anointing being upon Him. What’s more, is that Jesus would not merely read the words which the prophet Isaiah would speak and prophesy during his generation, but Jesus would declare that what this prophet spoke of and foretold during those days and in that generation would point to the days of the Messiah, and would specifically be fulfilled during the days of Jesus the Christ. It’s actually something quite powerful to think and consider that the prophet Isaiah would proclaim and prophesy these words during this generation—centuries before Jesus the Christ would actually be manifested—and he would see the foundation of the ministry that would be present within the earth. You cannot read the words found in the sixty-first chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah—as well as the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the same prophetic book—and not encounter and come face to face with the scope and magnitude of the ministry of Jesus the Christ. Jesus would come to the Jordan River to be baptized of John the Baptist and upon coming out of the waters the Spirit would descend upon Him in the bodily form as a dove. Immediately following the descent of the Spirit upon Jesus we find that same Spirit leading Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. What makes the person and presence of the Spirit within the life of Jesus so absolutely beautiful is that after Jesus was tempted of the devil He returned unto Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and that same Spirit would propel Him throughout His ministry.

While we know and understand that Jesus was indeed one hundred percent God and was the image of the invisible God in the form of human flesh, we must also recognize that as God in the flesh He was also one hundred percent man and one hundred percent human. As such, He would need to trust and rely fully and completely upon the power and presence of the Holy Spirit to fulfill and carry out the work and will of the Father. There would be a work and will of the Father which Jesus Himself would need to engage Himself in, and that work would and could only be carried out by trusting and relying upon the person and power of the Holy Spirit. This is what makes the words of the prophet Isaiah so incredibly captivating, for the prophet prophesied centuries before Christ concerning the Spirit of the LORD anointing One who would come and be manifested in the days to come—anything with and for a specific purpose, role and function. Upon reading the words found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative which Luke wrote you will find Jesus returning in the power of the Spirit unto Galilee, and a fame going out concerning Him throughout all the region round about. You will read how Jesus taught in their synagogues as He was glorified in the sight of all those who heard Him. It would be in the synagogue in Nazareth, however, where Jesus would speak something incredibly unique and different from anything they were expecting. It would be in Nazareth Jesus would deliberately and intentionally choose from the place in the prophecy of Isaiah where these words were written and recorded, and you have to ask yourself why. There are sixty-six chapters in the prophetic book of Isaiah, and there were a number of Messianic references concerning the Messiah within them, and yet Jesus specifically chose this passage. What’s more, is that not only did Jesus specifically choose this passage, but after reading it, He would declare in their hearing that it would be in their day the words of the prophet Isaiah would be fulfilled. With this in mind, consider the narrative that is found in the prophetic book of Isaiah and the sixty-first chapter beginning to read with and from the fourteenth verse:

“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias. 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 broken-hearted, 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 gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him. And He began to say unto them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare Him witness, and wondered at His gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, is not this Joseph’s son? And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. And He said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But He passing through the midst of them went His way, and came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power” (Luke 4:14-32).

As I read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture I can’t help but find it incredibly intriguing that when Jesus stood up in the synagogue to read and to teach as His custom was, the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was delivered unto Him. I am not one that appeals to coincidence or chance, and am absolutely convinced that it was according to the divine will of the Father that this scroll be delivered unto Him on this particular day and in this particular synagogue. I can’t help but wonder if Jesus knew beforehand that this particular scroll would be delivered unto Him before it actually was, and already purposed where He would read from and what He would read. We won’t and don’t know for sure whether or not He was aware of whether or not Jesus was aware of the scroll of the prophet Isaiah being delivered unto Him, however, we do know without a doubt that it was not by coincidence that Jesus chose these words which were before us in the prophetic book of Isaiah. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus was deliberate and intentional when coming to these words which were prophesied and written by Isaiah, and felt that this was the appointed time the words of the prophet needed to be spoken. What’s more, is that Jesus would proclaim in His hometown of Nazareth in Galilee, and would declare that the words which the ancient prophet proclaimed were fulfilled in their hearing and during those days. I firmly believe that Jesus was very much aware of the words which needed to be read and the words which needed to be spoken during that time, and as a direct result of being delivered the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, He located these words and read them in the hearing of all those present. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus deliberately and intentionally used these words to help illustrate, define and describe the ministry that was appointed unto Him by the Father. What’s more, is that having experienced the Spirit descend and rest upon Him, and having returned into Galilee in the power of the Spirit, Jesus would further declare that the Spirit of the LORD was upon Him for a very specific purpose. The words which we find in this passage must not be quickly overlooked, for they help us truly understand the full scope of the ministry He Himself would be engaged in.

PREACH THE GOSPEL! HEAL THE BROKENHEARTED! PREACH DELIVERANCE TO THE CAPTIVES! RECOVERING OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND! SET AT LIBERTY THEM THAT ARE BRUISED! PREACH THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD! The more you read the words which are found within the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah and consider them in light of the words which are found in the New Testament gospel of Luke the more you will encounter the awesome truth that centuries before the Messiah would be manifested in the midst of the earth the word of the LORD would describe and set forth the activity of the Spirit within His life. If there is one thing the words which are found in the prophetic book of Isaiah reveals, it’s that the Spirit was going to be very active within the life of the Messiah, as the Spirit would indeed anoint Him for a very particular and specific service. One of the greatest truths surrounding the prophetic book and language of Isaiah is that he was—in all reality—the Old Testament prophet of Christ. I continue to be in awe of the fact that no other Hebrew prophet saw more concerning the Messiah, and spoke more concerning the coming of the Messiah than Isaiah the son of Amoz. What makes this even more unique is when you think about and consider the fact that Isaiah essentially saw the life of Christ from the time of His birth until the time of His suffering and death upon the cross. It would be the prophet Isaiah who would prophesy that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, and that His name would be called Immanuel. It would be the prophet Isaiah that would speak about a son being given unto us, and unto us a child is born, and the various names which would describe His very character, essence and makeup. Moreover, it would be the prophet Isaiah who would speak of the Messiah as being seated on the throne of His father David, and of the increase of His government and peace there would be no end. We know that in the fifty-third chapter of this prophetic book the prophet saw a tremendous vision concerning the suffering of the Messiah—and not only the suffering of the Messiah, but also how the Messiah would suffer according to the divine will of the Father. It would be the prophet Isaiah who would see the Messiah as the servant of the LORD who would be manifested within the earth and minister unto both Jews and Gentiles alike. It’s truly something wonderful to read the words found in the prophetic book of Isaiah, and to consider the fact that Isaiah the son of Amoz was perhaps the one prophet who would see the clearest picture of the Messiah from the time of His birth of a virgin to the time of His suffering upon the cross at the hands of sinners and Gentiles.

What I find truly awesome about the narrative of the Messiah that is woven throughout the very fabric of this prophetic book is that the prophet Isaiah also saw a very clear picture of the activity of the Spirit within the life of the Messiah. Moreover, it would be the prophet Isaiah who would prophesy and see a clear picture of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Messiah—a revelation which would begin in the eleventh chapter. Before you even get into the sixty-first chapter of this book it is absolutely necessary that you consider the fact that in the eleventh chapter you will find Isaiah prophesying concerning the Messiah that the Spirit of the LORD would rest upon the Messiah—the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—and would make a Him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD. Even more than this, the prophet would go on to describe the involvement of the Spirit within the life of the Messiah, as through the Spirit He would not judge after the sight of His eyes, nor reprove after the hearing of His ears, but with righteousness would judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth. Essentially that which the prophet spoke of within this particular chapter points to and reveals the truly awesome evidence and manifestation of the Spirit within and upon the life of the Messiah, and that it would be through the Spirit the Messiah would be an advocate for the poor and the meek of the earth. The more we think about and consider the ministry of the Messiah within the earth the more we must recognize and understand that the Messiah would minister among and unto the poor and meek of the earth through the person, the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit, for it would be the Spirit that would make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD. Furthermore, it would be through the Spirit’s presence within and upon the Messiah that He would not judge after the sight of His eyes, nor reprove after the hearing of His ears—a reality that is manifested when Jesus emphatically declares that He can do nothing of His own accord and within Himself, but only what He sees His Father doing.

In the sixty-first chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah you will find the Messianic language transitioning beyond simply speaking of the Spirit of the LORD resting upon the Messiah, but actually anointing the Messiah. It would be the manifestation of the person, the power and presence of the Spirit within the life of the Messiah that would completely govern and guide every area and every facet of His ministry. It would be the Spirit of the LORD that would anoint the Messiah to preach good tidings unto the meek, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. Moreover, the Spirit of the LORD would anoint the Messiah to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God. Although Jesus would not read the words found within this portion of the prophetic book of Isaiah concerning comforting all those that mourned, concerning appointing unto them that mourn in Zion, and to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, I would dare say that if and as you read the words which are found within the four gospel narratives of the Messiah’s life and ministry you will find Jesus continually comforting those who mourned, and truly came to offer beauty for ashes, to offering the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. With this being said, it would be through the person, the power and presence of the Spirit Jesus would engage Himself with those who could not advocate for themselves, and those who perhaps had absolutely no one who would come alongside them and not only lift and raise them up, but also support and strengthen them. We dare not and must not miss this truly awesome and wonderful reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth which Jesus Himself would speak concerning the Spirit as He spoke unto the disciples in the upper room. If you read the words which are found in the New Testament gospel of John you will find Jesus speaking of the Spirit as the divine advocate of heaven, and how the Spirit would be the divine Comforter who would minister unto and among His people in His absence. In all reality, it would be the Holy Spirit who would not only continue and carry out the ministry of the Messiah in the midst of the earth, but would also enable the people of God to participate in that very same ministry. To understand the anointing of the Spirit of the LORD within and upon the Messiah is to understand the anointing of the Spirit of the LORD within and upon the lives of the apostles of Jesus Christ, the early Church, and each and every generation of disciples and followers of Jesus Christ throughout the centuries and generations.

As I bring this writing to a close I feel compelled to remind you of a truth I wrote earlier on within this writing—namely, that the prophet Isaiah saw the activity and presence of the Spirit within and upon the Messiah, while the prophet Joel would see the activity of the Spirit within and upon sons and daughters. It would be the prophet Joel that would see a day coming when the Spirit would be poured out upon all flesh, and it would be John the Baptist who proclaimed and declared that it would be the Messiah who would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire. John the Baptist baptized with water, yet there would be One who would come after Him who would baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. This reality is in direct alignment with the words which the prophet Joel proclaimed and declared in His generation, for Joel would speak of the time that would come when the Spirit would be poured out upon all flesh as sons and daughters would prophesy, and as old men would see visions, and young men would dream dreams. What’s more, is that on the Day of Pentecost, it would be the apostle Peter who would appeal to the words which the prophet Joel spoke concerning the outpouring of the Spirit, which would be a reality that Jesus Himself would speak of. To understand the activity of the Spirit within the life of the Messiah would be to understand the activity of the Spirit within the lives of the apostles and early Church, for it would be the Spirit that would come upon—and not only come upon, but also dwell within the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the narrative of the Spirit’s anointing as mentioned within the prophetic book of Isaiah, for to do so would be to misunderstand the narrative of the Spirit’s presence within the Church, for the Church was and still is the body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit and of the living God upon the earth. I previously wrote concerning the Messiah and His messenger, and yet it must also be considered how it would be the Messiah who would be anointed by the Spirit of the LORD as was foretold and spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, and that same Spirit would be sent by the Messiah upon His ascension and return unto the right hand of His Father who was in heaven. Oh that we would truly understand and recognize this, as the message of the Spirit is not merely about the activity of the Spirit within and upon the Messiah, but also upon the hearts and lives of the early Church and the generation of disciples and followers of Jesus Christ that would come thereafter. Oh that we would read these words and not only understand the manifestation of the Spirit’s presence and power in the life of the Messiah, also that that same Spirit which raised Christ up from the dead would also raise us up with Him and quicken our mortal bodies. What’s more, is that same Spirit which anointed Jesus to fulfill and carry out the work of the Father would be the same Spirit that would anoint us to fulfill and carry out the work and ministry unto which we have been called in this generation.

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