by Elizabeth de Barros
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 from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
– Isaiah 61:1-3
The ministry of Jesus — buttoned-down or messy?
Jesus didn’t hide behind the pulpit. He knew His coming would challenge the status quo. And thin religion doesn’t last long in the presence of God.
When He walked the dusty roads of Israel, Jesus sought out the individual, one person at a time. He discerned the need, made right judgments. No waste of words. While candor worked with tree-climbing Zacchaeus, Nicodemus was given a late night pop quiz. And in the house of a hawk-eyed Pharisee, He seemingly went too far by allowing a sinful woman to pour perfume on His feet.
Kingdom living is often just a step away from scandal.
What we read in Scripture was never intended to be intellectually curated for a theological museum piece. At some point, our hermeneutics must make the transfer from theory to practice. Taking up the towel is the call of every disciple, from the least to the greatest, from first to last.
And here’s where it might get a little messy: A servant must be willing to set aside some things, starting with his reputation.
But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him.
This is how we know we are in him:
Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
– 1 John 2:5-6