Jesus chose Isaiah 61 as his own manifesto. I love it, and it was read at the commissioning service when Glo Church was launched back in 2011. It became our manifesto too; but one little word has changed my perspective on the whole passage.
Back in the day I used to read through the chapter (read it here) and my heart would leap at all the things God has won for me through Jesus: freedom, release, favour, comfort, provision; a crown instead of ashes, joy rather than mourning, praise not despair. And my heart would soar at becoming an oak of righteousness, displaying God’s splendour. Yes, Lord, do it in me!
But then, reading through it again recently, I hit that little word ‘they’.
If I’m honest this passage used to be about me, me, me. And of course in one sense that is true; Jesus really has won those things for me and he really does want me to display his glory.
But when you read the passage through the lens of mission, once we have received the good news, we then become bearers of the good news. And part of the process of our own healing and restoration, of living this anointed life, is to start taking on the manifesto of the one we say we follow.
Which means that whilst it is about me, it’s also about ‘them’. Those who are poor, brokenhearted, captive, in darkness; the mourning, the grieving, the despairing.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, they will rebuild the ruins…
Discipleship demands that we pass on what God has given to us, and we equip, empower and release those who God has called us to, so that many more will hear the good news.
So the question is, who is your ‘them’? They’re not hard to find; just look for the poor, brokenhearted, the captive – but look on them with the eyes of faith, just as God the Father first looked on you.
And work hard so that they can become all that God has called them to be.